How Much Does a Movie Theater Rental Cost?

Written by: Staff

Renting a movie theater for the day is ideal for a child’s birthday party, church service, video game parties or to showcase a personal movie.

Depending on the number of people who are attending the event, renting the movie theater may actually be cheaper than purchasing tickets for each person.

Empty Cinema Movie Theater by Iwan Gabovitch, on Flickr
Empty Cinema Movie Theater” (CC BY 2.0) by  Iwan Gabovitch

How much does a movie theater rental cost?

The price to rent out a movie theater will depend on the theater chain, your geographical location, the admission tickets needed, the film selected, length of rental, day, time and concession prices if you want food included with the rental.  Regardless of how many people are attending the event, most theaters will have a minimum charge, often around $200 to $400, plus the cost of admission tickets for each guest.  For the average rental accommodating 25 to 75 people, it’s best to budget $450 to $750 based on these factors for a three-hour event.  These fees would include the rental fee, the admission ticket and small child food pack.

We researched various theater chains in the United States and included the quotes we received in the table below:

Aurora Cineplex- Option one: $150 to $250, depending on the day/time, plus a movie ticket for each guest, with a 75% auditorium minimum. The pricing was valid for films out for more than 10 days.
- Option two: $150 to $250 per hour, with a two-hour minimum in effect.
Bow Tie Cinemas- $300 rental fee, which is only offered 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m, plus $12 per child for ticket and snacks. Theater estimates $420 to $570.
Cinemark- Starts at $450 per hour, plus the length of the movie, with 20 guest minimum.

* A blogger we found online had paid $925 for 50 tickets and 50 concession packages.
Harkins- Rentals start at $400.
Regal- Starts at $425 for 20 people.
the World Theatre- $500 for four private hours. Each additional hour is $125.

According to a member on, he had rented out a theater for his son to play his favorite video game.  His response, when someone asked what it cost, was $300 for five hours, which included unlimited pizza and popcorn.

Renting a movie theater overview

Most theaters will charge a rental fee, a ticket charge per person attending and another charge for a food pack if you were to want to add it.  As mentioned, all theaters will have a minimum charge/person restriction.

During the private screening, the theater will be able to play a movie of your choice, or if you wish, they can hook up a gaming system.  They are more than likely able to accommodate any sort of request as long as legal, of course.

For a birthday party, most theaters package in the movie with a food package that often includes a soft drink, popcorn and some sort of candy.

What are the extra costs?

Most of the larger name brand movie theaters are able to provide catering options.  This can range from $10 to $20 per person, depending on what kind of food you want.

The audiovisual equipment and film admission may be charged separately.  Digital projections and, if needed, a microphone can be an additional cost.  Projectors often start at $100, while a microphone is about $25 per rental.

Tips to know:

Some theaters will not rent out their theaters on a Friday, Saturday or Sunday as they will usually not have a theater available those days.  If they do allow you to rent one on a weekend, you will probably pay about twice as much as the fees mentioned above.

Depending on the policy, some theaters will only show films that are licensed.  This means that if you have an independent film that you are trying to show, you may get denied.

Most theaters will ask you to contact them at least seven to 14 days in advance to book a date.

How can I save money?

Weekdays and mornings are going to be a lot cheaper than renting during prime time hours.  Talk with the theater to see when it’s the best time to rent.

While it may be hard, consider talking with your local mom and pop movie theaters or small theaters in a downtown area.  These owners tend to offer lower prices than most of your corporations.

While it is rare, some owners may offer the theater for free to a filmmaker; however, they may want to split the box office sales with you.

Talk with at least three different movie theaters.  Most will have quotes on their website; however, if they do not, most managers will be able to give you an estimate over the phone.

The more people that come, the lower the cost can be.  Most theaters can accommodate more than 75 people.

Package deals are going to be your best option.  Try your best to find a rental that includes food with the price.

If you have more than 25 guests, renting a theater can actually save you money over purchasing individual tickets.  The more people you have, the more money you are going to save per person.

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Average Reported Cost: $362

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Less Expensive $1 $1.5K $3K $5K $6.5K More Expensive $8k

How much did you spend?

Was it worth it?  

  1. Tommy Parkhill (Houma,  Louisiana) paid $362 and said:

    For 2 1/2 hour’s 28 people with concession package

    Was it worth it? Yes

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