Monday, 25 July 2011

How to Watch Blockbuster Movies for Free in the Klang Valley

One of the perks about living in the Klang Valley is that one can never run out of things to do, and one of those things are free movie screenings. As members of the public, we might not get to attend press screenings (unless you're actually a member of the press) or go to the film festivals overseas, but we get what we can get. I haven't paid to watch too many movies for the last few years (of course I've paid to see a few, but that's besides the point), usually those I wouldn't necessary pay to watch. Because of movie piracy, we in the East get some movies days before the West and some screenings happen several days (up to a week) before - no complaints from me.

If you're willing to pay to watch movies, more power to you; this is strictly for cheapskates only.

Watching movies gratis as a member of the hoi polloi depends on several factors, which are:

  1. Time - As these screenings are typically held on week nights and assuming you have a day job, you either have a job that you get leave on time for, or you have someone else who does and could queue up for tickets for you.
  2. Location, location, location - Unless you've been dying to watch a particular movie, the closer the screening is to you, the better. There comes a point where it's cheaper to just pay to watch it near you than to travel too far to watch it for free. The rush hour traffic? Not worth it.
  3. Flexibility and open-mindedness - As seating at free screenings are usually first come first served, so you don't actually get to pick where you're seated unless you're there ridiculously early. Remember, you're not paying to watch it.

1. The Star
  • Cutout coupon in the feature about a particular movie title or online at eCentral, their entertainment portal.
  • Collecting the passes varies between collecting them at Menara Star on a weekday morning (which is why you see retirees/college students lining up for these things way too early in the morning), 
  • or at the cineplex foyer an hour before the screening. Of course the retirees would be in line TWO hours before, that's how kiasu they are.
  • Major cons: Crazy long line, and the chance of good seats decreases the more retirees are in line before you. 
  • Crowd: Mostly retirees and/or college students.

2. Nuffnang/Advertlets - They usually have free preview screenings for members, so if you're a Klang Valley-based blogger, you might want to sign up. For Nuffnang, you have to be Glitterati (theirs ads only on your blog and not other companies') as a minimum requirement. I've probably only been to a small percentage of their screenings because of the selection.
  • Screenings are announced on their websites, so it pays to check the sites as often as you can. The contest mechanics for tickets also varies, but usually it's not too difficult -  I've gotten tickets for some of the worst/ingeniously simple stuff EVER.
  • Seating: First come, first served; movie merch (if any) usually goes to the first few people in line, so it does pay to be early.
  • You know it's a blogger event when you see camera flashes go off everywhere.
  • Crowd: Younger crowd, working adults, not too many retirees.
3. Magazines - If you're a magazine reader, there's plenty to choose from; I'm going to use Time Out KL in this example, but you get the gist.
  • You email Time Out at the designated email address about the specific screening they have for the month. 
  • You'll get a confirmation code in return and you fill out the cutout in the current issue if you have it to give it to them at the counter before the screening. 
4. Radio - I've had better luck being nth text in than if I were to try calling. Mileage may vary. 

5. In season movie passes - Usually means you can't watch a particular title early in its cinema run; you have to wait until it has been *-listed a few weeks after.

6. Social media - Sometimes movie ticket giveaways happen on Twitter and Facebook if you follow or Like the right accounts. If you're going to be on there a lot, you might as well get something out of it.

7. Other contests - where ever you can spot them, go for it! 

I know I probably missed a few, so let me know.