You thought seat selection on an airplane was a pain in your wallet? Well, get ready for movie prices that change based on your seat location. In news that we first saw on Deadline, AMC will roll out a brand new program called Sightline at AMC. This initiative will have your sightline determining your ticket price with “Preferred Sightline” seats costing you extra. Not to mention, in some places, these changing movie seat prices will roll out almost immediately at AMC theaters. Hold onto your popcorn, kids. Let’s take a closer look at AMC’s new pricing system.
Sightline at AMC breaks down like this. Firstly, AMC theaters will now divide their seats into three sections, or Sightlines: Standard, Value, and Preferred. Standard Sightline seats are “seats that are the most common in auditoriums and are available for the traditional cost of a ticket.” That feels fairly vague. But we suppose the more accurate definition of these standard seats reads something like seats that don’t fall into AMC’s “Value” or “Preferred” categories.
Value Sightline seats, meanwhile, are defined by AMC as “seats in the front row of the auditorium, as well as select ADA seats in each auditorium.” These seats will now have a lower ticket cost than standard seats. Deadline notes that “Value Sightline pricing is only available to AMC Stubs members, including the free tier membership.”
Conversely, AMC’s Preferred Sightline seats, the best seats in the house, will cost movie-goers more. AMC notes these superior seats are “seats in the middle of the auditorium and are priced at a premium to standard sightline seats.” However, AMC Stubs A-List members will not incur additional costs for sitting in the Preferred Sightline sections.
AMC’s new tiered movie seat costs will only apply to movies that begin after 4 p.m. But changes will come quickly. The initiative will arrive in all United States AMC locations by the end of the year. That means the theater chain has ample time to impact all the movies we want to see in 2023. In New York, Chicago, and Kansas City, this variable admission will begin in the second week of February. AMC does not want to waste any time.
Eliot Hamlisch, executive VP and CMO at AMC Theatres, notes, “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.”
Hamlisch seems to liken the movie-going experience to something like a concert or other on-stage show or play. And those experiences do have tiered ticket cost levels. However, there does appear to be quite a gulf between a material distance from a live performance and a few feet this way or that from a screen. “Experience-based” feels like quite a stretch here. On top of this, movie tickets have already increased dramatically in recent years. It will no doubt feel like a blow to movie-goers to have to pay even more for the luxury of not craning their necks as they try to watch their favorite films. We feel this new ticket price system may not go over so well for AMC.