AMC Theatres charging extra for better seats
Moviegoers who sit in the front row will pay less for tickets, while people who enjoy sitting in the middle of the theater will have to pay a little extra. Read on to learn more on the matter.
by Aline Barbosa
The company announced the new program on Monday in an effort with 3 price tiers.
According to a statement by the company on Monday, AMC Theatres will soon set its ticket prices based on where people choose to sit when they go to the movies. The idea is a Sightline initiative, said the company.
The front row seats will be called Value Sightline and will cost less than the standard ticket. However, tickets in the middle of the auditorium – usually where people prefer to sit – will be called Value Sightline and cost extra. The remaining seats are now Standard Sightline and won’t suffer a price change.
The new move is an effort to increase revenue as movie theaters struggle to overcome the aversion of indoor spaces due to the pandemic, and the large influx of movies going directly to streaming services.
Hollywood producing less films for theatrical releases is also a big motive. Since 2020, AMC Theatres has been losing significant revenue. In 2020, it was nearly $4.6 billion. 2021 had a $1.27 billion impact, and during Q3 2022, the company lost almost $700 million.
But is the variable ticket pricing the right move for AMC? According to Barak Orbach, a professor at the University of Arizona, it is not. He says that something like this only works if there’s demand and supply, and when it’s done in a way that won’t antagonize moviegoers. Unfortunately, AMC Theatres has neither currently.
He states that the reality of movie theaters in the United States have changed. Now, most shows are more than half empty. So he believes that, unless the theater is showing a newly released blockbuster on an opening weekend and the auditorium is packed, most people will just purchase less expensive tickets and move to a better seat if the theater is empty.
Moviegoers are not happy with the news from AMC Theaters
Patrons are not happy with the pricing news from AMC Theaters either. Users took to Twitter to complain about the situation, with one user sharing a picture of an empty auditorium with the caption “AMC Theaters once people refuse to pay more for premium seating and $20 for popcorn”.
Orbach says that whenever pricing clashes with people’s perception of what is fair, customers are less inclined to pay. Especially now, since people can stay at home and choose between a myriad of streaming services to watch movies from.
Orbach believes the news can even generate a resentment towards movie theaters in general and end up affecting the entire industry negatively.
Customers who are part of AMC Theaters rewards program – AMC Stubs A-List – can choose Preferred Sightline seating at not extra cost. The new Sightline tickets will apply to all showings after 4p.m., except for AMC’s $5 discount Tuesday.
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