AMC, the largest theater chain in the world, is making a big change to its ticket prices as it will start to charge a little extra for the best seats in the house.
AMC will roll out a new ticketing initiative called Sightline at its theaters in the US. This new scheme will charge moviegoers based on the seat location within the auditorium. Audiences will now have the option to pay more or less for movie tickets, similar to how ticket sales for music concerts, sporting events, and Broadway shows work.
With Sightline, ticket prices for the front row seats will be cheaper, while seats found in the middle of the theater will cost a little bit more. This new initiative will begin in selected AMC locations in New York, Chicago, and Kansas City on February 10 before it's rolled out to all locations by the end of the year.
Sightline will have three different seat-pricing options. Standard Sightline is described as "seats that are the most common in auditoriums and are available for the traditional cost of a ticket." The Value Sightline are "seats in the front row of the auditorium, as well as select ADA seats in each auditorium, and are available at a lower price than standard sightline seats."
The most expensive option is the Preferred Sightline which are the "seats in the middle of the auditorium and are priced at a premium to standard sightline seats."
AMC cinemas offering the Sightline ticketing scheme will provide a detailed seat map that outlines all the seating options when purchasing online, in the AMC app, or at the box office. Sightline will be applied to all showtimes after 4 PM. The new ticket pricing will not be applicable on Discount Tuesdays when all movie tickets are priced at $5.
"Sightline at AMC more closely aligns AMC’s seat pricing approach to that of many other entertainment venues, offering experienced-based pricing and another way for moviegoers to find value at the movies," Eliot Hamlisch, executive VP and CMO at AMC Theatres said of the new pricing scheme. "While every seat at AMC delivers an amazing moviegoing experience, we know there are some moviegoers who prioritize their specific seat and others who prioritize value moviegoing. Sightline at AMC accommodates both sentiments to help ensure that our guests have more control over their experience, so that every trip to an AMC is a great one."
The new ticketing initiative received some criticism. Actor Elijah Wood said the new ticketing scheme punishes lower-income individuals with inferior seats.
The movie theater is and always has been a sacred democratic space for all and this new initiative by @AMCTheatres would essentially penalize people for lower income and reward for higher income.
— Elijah Wood (@elijahwood) February 6, 2023
"The movie theater is and always has been a sacred democratic space for all and this new initiative by AMC Theatres would essentially penalize people for lower income and reward for higher income," Wood tweeted.
After pulling in very little income for close to two years because of the COVID-19 pandemic, theaters are going to make a comeback in recent years. Two of the biggest movies in cinema history came out within a span of one year with Spider-Man: No Way Home and Avatar 2 now sitting in sixth- and third place at the all-time box office, respectively.