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AMC is about to make paying for theater seats more like booking an airline ticket

AMC is about to make paying for theater seats more like booking an airline ticket


AMC’s new plan for ticket pricing will make spots at the front of the theater cheaper, while good seats in the back get a bit more expensive.

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A woman in a glittering suit looking to her right as she walks down a silvery hallway. On both sides, she’s flanked by numbers denoting different movie theater auditoriums.
Nicole Kidman in AMC’s “We Make Movies Better” ad.
Image: AMC Theatres

Starting pretty soon, some tickets at AMC locations are going to be getting cheaper and more expensive depending on where you sit as the movie theater chain introduces a new tiered pricing scheme called Sightline.

Today, AMC announced its plans to roll out Sightline at AMC, a new pricing structure that will split auditorium seats into three differently priced tiers in theaters across the country beginning this Friday. In a statement about the new program, Eliot Hamlisch, AMC’s chief marketing officer, described Sightline as an effort to get consumers thinking about buying movie tickets the same way they might events at “many other entertainment venues.” Hamlisch also said that the new pricing structure is meant to give people who have particular seats they like a better shot at securing them and noted that some seats will become less expensive.

“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,” Hamlisch said. “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.”

Sightline’s three tiers — Value Sightline, Standard Sightline, and Preferred Sightline — each come with their own benefits at different price points. Value Sightline, which will consist of seats “in the front row of the auditorium, as well as select ADA seats” will be the cheapest option and will only be made available to members of AMC’s Stubs rewards program. Standard Sightline, “the most common” seats in theaters, will be available to everyone and cost the same price as regular tickets. Preferred Sightline, the most expensive seats, will be “in the middle of the auditorium,” and while the press release didn’t specify exactly how much more Preferred seats will cost, it did note that the premium fee will be waived for AMC Stubs A-List members.

Assigned seating in movie theaters has become fairly commonplace in recent years, but the same is less true of tiered pricing for screenings that aren’t exactly offering up all that much of a different experience at those different price points. AMC may want Sightline to make moviegoers look at theaters as giving them more choices, but it’s easy to see how the program could also make the movies feel weirdly split into first, second, and neck strain classes with many of the same headaches that come with air travel.

Especially at screenings that aren’t full, it’s difficult to imagine how AMC plans to make sure that Value Sightline folks don’t end up sitting in Preferred seats. But it won’t be too long to see how the program shakes out, as AMC plans to launch Sightline at AMC in New York, Chicago, and Kansas City this Friday, with hopes for a nationwide rollout by the end of the year.