America’s largest movie chain AMC is facing backlash after announcing ticket prices will soon be based on seat location. The tiered pricing model, named Sightline, will be applied to all showtimes after 4pm. Seats in the front section of theaters will be less expensive at a “Value Sightline” tier while better seats in the middle section will cost more at a “Preferred Sightline” tier. Seats closest to the aisles will remain the same price at a “Standard Sightline” tier.
In AMC’s official press announcement, Eliot Hamlisch, executive VP and CMO at AMC Theaters, stated, “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.”
It came as no surprise that social media users had a lot to say about AMC’s new ticket pricing. Some people felt that it was a perfect example of corporate greed while others said “it was one of the worst marketing strategies in history.”
Actor Elijah Wood even joined in on the conversation by tweeting, “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.”
Did AMC put the final nail in its coffin?
While the tiered pricing model is widely accepted for concerts, Broadway shows, or sports events, a movie theater simply doesn’t deliver the same experience. Interest in going to a movie theater has already drastically decreased thanks to streaming services such as Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime that offer the convenience of watching movies from the comfort of one’s own couch. Data collected by CivicScience shows that the large majority of U.S. adults (71%) prefer to watch movies at home rather than going to a theater.
With overpriced concessions and rising ticket costs for better seats, are movie theaters pricing out their audience? Time will tell if the move turns away even more moviegoers than before.