Students share their methods for checking out films on a budget

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Upcoming releases like “Mary Poppins Returns” and the new slate of Marvel Cinematic Universe films are on the entertainment table in coming months. It should come at no surprise that the buzz surrounding them primarily targets the collegiate generation, also known as the generation that grew up with them.

While students may want to catch every release before they are subjected to the frequent spoilers on Twitter and Reddit, it isn’t always the most cost-effective option for their Friday night. In Boise, however, the tables have turned, and students have found new and more change-saving methods to watching their favorite movies.

Sophomore 3D major Sydney Frey believes that her interest in history has affected how she watches movies, and streaming has allowed her to fulfill her desire for documentaries and other films. Even though DVDs are becoming significantly less popular, she still has a stack for when she can’t find her favorite film on a streaming service.

“I prefer to watch my films on Netflix but I do have a decent stack of DVDs,” Frey said. “I typically will only buy a movie on DVD after I’ve watched it. However, if I want to watch a movie once in a blue moon or show someone a movie without having to buy it, I usually rent for free from the local library.”

With the Boise Public Library just minutes from campus, it’s a great option for students who want to find a film that isn’t free on their respective streaming platforms. Most DVD players, however, have more capabilities than simply playing discs. Frey uses her BluRay player to stream and rent, keeping her handsfree for productivity.

“I mainly use Netflix because I can get it on my BluRay Player, leaving me free to use my laptop for homework and other things,” Frey said. “I have used Amazon Prime Video to watch documentaries and movies that came with Amazon Prime Student.”

While streaming and renting are typically cheaper than seeing films on the big screen, they aren’t the most useful options for students who want to see titles while they are still in theaters around the city. Junior health sciences major Hannah Voros, however, has found a method that will allow students to go to the theater and still have enough money in their account to pick up a snack.

“I really liked having MoviePass which was for $9.99 a month,” Voros said. “You could see one movie a day, but they (recently) changed it to only three movies a month.”

Although MoviePass has changed their policy to only three movies a month, students are paying the price of one ticket to get three. For the price of a Netflix subscription, students around campus could have the opportunity to see films as they are released, and it might be a way to keep money in the bank.

Alternatively, individuals who aren’t fans of the new MoviePass plan may find solace in Sinemia, a similar service that offers family plans. Rather than simply paying $10 a month for three films, students can split the cost with a friend, family member or significant other for up to three movies a month, or get unlimited films every month for $29.99. While the pricing is slightly steeper than MoviePass, the flexibility of online and advance ticketing changes the playing field.

Even without a fancy debit card to get students through the box office, they can still enjoy a discount every Tuesday at Regal Cinemas. Sarah Riffe, a cast member employee at Edwards 21, believes the discounts are perfect for anyone–especially students–on a tight budget. Not only does the theater offer $2 hotdogs and $3 nachos, but with tickets at only $5.50 all day (and just $11.33 at the IMAX location), the savings are a gift that keeps on giving.

“I like providing friendly, fun and sometimes funny service to any guest that comes through the doors,” Riffe said. “I love seeing smiling faces when people come through, and those smiling faces remind me that I have given them the best deals possible.”

With so many options beyond simply turning on Netflix, it’s likely that students will be able to find at least one method that ends up becoming their movie-viewing niche. College students on a budget will find themselves cutting costs constantly, and with these plans to guide the way, the importance of film watching for entertainment or educational purposes will no longer be undermined.

“Obviously, movies are made for entertainment purposes, which is mainly what they are used for. However, I am a history minor, and for my senior project in high school I proposed the idea of using movies, TV shows and video games in the classroom to help students get interested in history,” Frey said. “It is a means by which a lot of people get interested in certain topics.”


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