If you want to see a first-run movie without shelling out big bucks (not to mention fighting crowds), look up the showtimes at these smaller, older theaters. They may not have fancy stadium seating and cup holders, but the movies are the same.
Cobble Hill Cinemas This Brooklyn theater, a neighborhood establishment since the 1960s, shows four movies at a time. Selections are mainstream but refined, matching the audience's tastes. Regular admission is $10, but you can get in for $7 before 2:00pm on weekends, and before 5:00pm on weekdays. http://www.cobblehilltheatre.com
Cinemart Cinemas The major downside of this Forest Hills, Queens, theater is that it's not close to the subway. But hop on the Q23 or Q54 bus and you'll be charmed by this cute neighborhood and nice movie-watching experience. A mix of mainstream and artsy films play on eight screens. General admission is $9 most of the time, or $6 before 5:00pm on weekdays. http://www.cinemartcinemas.com
This theater is perhaps the best place to see indie films in Queens, with six screens catering to quirky tastes. Regular tickets are $10, but there are many opportunities to pay less: it's just $7 all day and night on Tuesdays and Thursdays, any weekday before 5:00pm, and any weekend before 2:00pm. http://www.kewgardenstheatre.com
Jackson Heights Cinema Three movies and over 700 seats are available at this Queens theater, an old establishment that has been recently redone. In addition to mainstream American films, the theater shows some Bollywood movies and hosts other special events to cater to the local South Asian population, such as live screenings of important cricket matches. They even sell Indian snacks in the lobby. Tickets are usually $9, with special $6 Wednesdays and matinees. http://www.jacksonheightscinema.com
Center Cinemas Moviegoers in Sunnyside, Queens, might tell you that this dinky, dilapidated neighborhood theater is not even worth going to. But it generally has five action flicks and kids' movies to choose from, and most importantly, it is darn cheap. At only $7.50 for general admission and $5 on Tuesdays and for matinees, at least you won't be complaining about the price. http://www.fandango.com/sunnysidecentercinema_aakfj/theaterpage