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Free Flicks

Movie screenings provide theater experience, minus the price

Although movie tickets typically cost $12 or more, you may be able to view the latest Hollywood films in a local theater, before they're released to the public — and for free.

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How? By getting yourself invited to free screenings that studios hold to create buzz about upcoming releases. These events tend to be held in cities, and local TV stations, retailers and websites often work with studios to distribute the tickets.

The most comprehensive collections of screening opportunities are available at Gofobo, Film Metro and Wild About Movies. There's also Fat Wallet and regional websites such as Portland, Oregon's Access Metropolis,  Los Angeles' LA Free Bee and New York's Club freeTime.  (Find others by Googling "free movie screenings" and your city's name.)

But know this: Reserving or even holding a ticket doesn't guarantee you access to a movie. Nearly always overbooked, screenings are on a first-come, first-served basis — so arrive at least one hour before the movie's start time. And when you sign up for an online account, use a special email address, not your regular one, because you will be spammed.

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