AMC Theatres offers cheaper tickets for worse seats, while raising prices for the middle

A couple watch a big screen outside movie theaters of the cinema chain AMC Entertainment in Monterey Park.
An AMC Theatres location in Monterey Park.
(Frederic J. Brown)

AMC Theatres has introduced a new pricing program, offering cheaper seats for movie fans who don’t mind sitting in the front row, in the latest attempt to increase attendance and profits after the COVID-19 pandemic.

The U.S.’ biggest cinema circuit on Monday said its new pricing initiative, called “Sightline,” will be expanded to all its domestic locations by year end, including dine-in cinemas, after having already rolled out at some AMC theaters.

The price of a “standard” seat in the auditorium isn’t changing.

But at showings after 4 p.m., so-called “value sightline” seats located in the front row of the auditorium will be cheaper. The program excludes Tuesdays, when AMC runs another discount program. Only members of AMC’s Stubs loyalty program will have access to the discounted seats.


Those who want the best seats will have to pay a premium. “Preferred” seats — typically in the middle of the auditorium — will cost more than the standard tickets, AMC said. Exact pricing details were not disclosed.

The new pricing scheme is yet another attempt by a major movie chain to lure patrons back into theaters in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, while making more money from the most enthusiastic moviegoers.

It is not the first time theaters have toyed with pricing, based on demand or discounting for particular groups, to increase turnout.

The Leawood, Kan.-based company also has been experimenting with dynamic pricing, charging more for popular films, as it did with last year’s Warner Bros.’ “The Batman.” Other major chains have charged more for blockbusters. AMC also previously upped prices for weekend showtimes at some of its theaters above weekday shows, which tend to get lower attendance.

Last week, AMC extended matinee ticket pricing to all screenings of “80 for Brady,” translating to discounts of around 25%, according to the Hollywood Reporter.

“We know there are some moviegoers who prioritize their specific seat and others who prioritize value moviegoing,” said Eliot Hamlisch, chief marketing officer and executive vice president at AMC Theatres, in a statement. “Sightline at AMC accommodates both sentiments to help ensure that our guests have more control over their experience.”

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June 20, 2022