Cheap Thrills: Elvis Cinemas

February 23 2012, 1:49 PM

As a kid, I spent some Tuesday afternoons with my grandparents at Elvis Cinemas' Tiffany Plaza location gorging on cheap popcorn and even cheaper movies (tickets were around a buck). More than 20 years later, I had forgotten about the theater until last weekend when my grandma told me that the place had just been cleaned with some renovations. Since I'd missed Hugo in the theaters and knew it was up for an Oscar, my husband and I decided to check out my old stomping grounds.

If you can forgo surround sound, stadium seating, and $8 popcorn, and actually relish in the clicks and pops of older film projectors, Elvis Cinemas is one of the last few strongholds of the "dollar" theater concept. Start with the ticket prices: $2.50 for films before 6 p.m. and $3.50 after 6 p.m. (Bonus: Check the back of King Soopers receipts for buy-one-get-one deals). Once in the door, the concession stand favorites are just a fraction of the modern thievery at big theaters (think: $3.50 popcorn). Even the traditional, not terribly comfortable seats aren't too shabby.

I don't normally rush out to an opening night screening, but the experience of movies on the big screen is almost always worth it. Right now, you could catch three films that premiered in December for the price of a solo first-run movie—and maybe see a few that you wouldn't shell out $10 bucks for. Whether you are looking for a cheap night out—grab dinner at Whole Foods hot bar next door before—or want to be able to bring ALL your kids to the movies at the same time, Elvis Cinemas is a deal. 

TOTAL COST: $9.50 per person (ticket, small popcorn, and a medium drink).