How to Make Money Attending Movie Premieres

People laugh while watching a movie at the movie theater.
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I know it sounds far-fetched, but I actually got paid $30 to attend one of the Harry Potter movie premieres.

And it’s the 5th movie premiere I’ve been paid to attend. Let me explain…

Theaters and movie studios are extremely interested in collecting data about the audience that attends their movie premieres. They want to know how many people attend opening day, what screening time is most popular, and what previews are being shown. And they want independent data from what the individual theaters report.

So, the industry has outsourced this data collection to a few private firms and, in turn, those films hire regular movie-goers to attend movie premieres and report back on what they see.

How to Apply for the Job

They are known as “in-theater checks” and to apply you’ll need to fill out an application with one of the largest mystery shopping companies, Certified Field Associates. The application is just a few questions long and nearly everyone in the US & Canada is eligible to be hired.

(Note: I get a lot of questions about how to know if a mystery shopping company is real. Here’s a hint: you should never have to pay a fee to join! That’s a big red flag!)

Once you’ve been accepted as a new auditor with Certified Field Associates, you will want to keep a close eye on their online assignment list. As new assignments become available, they will be posted to that list. If you find a movie that you would like to attend, you have the ability to self-assign the project to yourself.

Only one person is allowed to complete each assignment, so you will need to check back frequently to ensure you get your first pick.

Attending the Movie Premiere

Once you have selected an assignment you will receive a letter from CFA that you can present to the theater manager upon your arrival. The letter explains you will be conducting an audit and it will also allow you free admission into the theater. There are two types of assignments that Certified Field Associates usually hires for:

Patron counting – these assignments require that you stand directly outside of a specific theater and count the number of people who enter the movie. You are usually asked to count the patrons for several show-times in a given premiere night.

Preview watching – these assignments will require that you document the specific previews that were shown before a movie premiere.

The theaters are usually interested in obtaining data from Friday and Saturday night premieres so it is most likely that you will be accepting jobs for those days. I live in a medium sized city and there are usually plenty of movies to choose from. There are three theaters within a few miles of me and each has at least a few movies premiering each week.

“In-theater checks” don’t have huge paydays attached to them, but you can usually expect to make between $10-20 per hour. And of course, you get to watch a free movie as well. Most of the assignments will also allow you to bring a guest for free.