How to Earn $200+ a Month Watching Movie Previews, Cat Videos & More

Do you like watching movies? Would it surprise you that not everyone had to pay for their movie ticket?

When I was younger, I always wanted to work at the movie theater. You had the snazzy vests, all the popcorn you could eat, plus sneak in movies from time to time when things were slow.

My friends and I spent so much time there anyway, I thought it'd be great! Especially since movies would cost us $7, $8, and eventually $10+ a show! (to be fair, we would sometimes see two movies on one ticket… shhhhh!)

Unfortunately, I never got a job there but I always held onto the dream. 🙂

Much like any other store, movie theaters and movie studios will hire mystery shoppers to scope out the theater. Mystery shoppers are used to checking on a variety of things in the theater – from whether the promotional material is being displayed properly to watching previews to make sure the right ones are being shown.

If this sounds like fun, sign up to become a Theatre Checker with MarketForce Information.

Potential roles include:

  • Trailer Checks: Present your Letter of Authorization to theatre management to watch and record all trailers on all screens shown prior to the assigned feature.
  • Open Checks: Present your Letter of Authorization to theatre management to count the patrons attending the showtimes of the assigned feature, and collecting box office information at the end of the day.
  • Blind Checks: Covertly counting patrons attending all show times of the assigned feature on the assigned day.
  • Advertisement Checks: Watch and record all advertisements shown prior to the feature.
  • Sneak Checks: Present your Letter of Authorization to theatre management to watch a sneak preview of an upcoming release, collecting reactions and demographic information.
  • Comprehensive Checks: Present your Letter of Authorization to theatre management to collect a variety of information on new releases: Patron counts, ticket prices, sound and visual quality, trailers shown, etc.

The application process is pretty quick. Once you're approved, you can be assigned tasks or you can check the list online and pick the ones you want. The pay ends up being $10-$20 an hour, which is pretty solid to hang around in a movie theater.

Other mystery shopping companies also offer in-theater checks but according to online forums, some don't pay nearly as well as MarketForce. For example, GfK Mystery Shopping pays $9 for the first screening and $2.50 for each additional screening, which is a paltry sum compared to MarketForce.

This is just one of the random jobs we've listed on our massive list of near 300 websites to make extra money, which includes a laundry list of mystery shopping companies.

Watch Videos from Home

If you don't want to get paid to watch movie previews or count patrons, you can always sign up for InboxDollars or Swagbucks and get paid to watch movie previews, commercials, and other videos. (read our Swagbucks review)

Of the two, I prefer InboxDollars because you get paid a few pennies each time you watch a thirty-second preview, commercial, or video. Swagbucks pays you with their points but their videos have more variety, though the points per minute rate are lower. On Swagbucks you could be watching movie previews or gossip videos from TMZ, it varies.

Both have a seemingly near limitless supply of videos and money earning opportunities and both are offering a bonus if you sign up — and you can always sign up for both!

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About Jim Wang

Jim Wang is a forty-something father of four who is a frequent contributor to Forbes and Vanguard's Blog. He has also been fortunate to have appeared in the New York Times, Baltimore Sun, Entrepreneur, and Marketplace Money.

Jim has a B.S. in Computer Science and Economics from Carnegie Mellon University, an M.S. in Information Technology - Software Engineering from Carnegie Mellon University, as well as a Masters in Business Administration from Johns Hopkins University. His approach to personal finance is that of an engineer, breaking down complex subjects into bite-sized easily understood concepts that you can use in your daily life.

One of his favorite tools (here's my treasure chest of tools,, everything I use) is Personal Capital, which enables him to manage his finances in just 15-minutes each month. They also offer financial planning, such as a Retirement Planning Tool that can tell you if you're on track to retire when you want. It's free.

He is also diversifying his investment portfolio by adding a little bit of real estate. But not rental homes, because he doesn't want a second job, it's diversified small investments in a few commercial properties and farms in Illinois, Louisiana, and California through AcreTrader.

Recently, he's invested in a few pieces of art on Masterworks too.

>> Read more articles by Jim

Opinions expressed here are the author's alone, not those of any bank or financial institution. This content has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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  1. Jack says

    Fascinating. If you’re going to go see a movie anyway, it would be great to get paid for a few minutes work and then get to watch the movie for free.

    I did work in a movie theatre as a teen. It was great. Free movies, free or discounted concessions, and more free movie posters and paraphernalia than you could shake a stick at. Good times.

  2. Expat Warrior says

    Wow. This sounds like a good side gig that is actually fun. I wonder what the terms and conditions are.

  3. CentSai says

    Wow, really interesting post! Who knew you could make money this way. Thanks for sharing!

  4. cyn says

    I work for market force and love it but are there other websites that do that stuff my last trailer check job I met a women who works for a website that isn’t market force

  5. Connie Warner says

    I used to work for Market Force putting the standees together that you see in the lobby and hallways. It paid per the difficulty of the standee. Between $10.00 to $75.00 per standee. I used to take one of my teenage grandchildren or Son-in-Law to help me and I split the pay between us. It got to be too much work for me because I couldn’t get down on the floor anymore but I loved doing it.

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