AMC Theaters About To Start Charging You A Lot More

AMC Theaters is increasing prices for tickets based on the sightline of seats and rows.

By Zack Zagranis | Updated

AMC Theaters

AMC Theaters have revealed a new plan to charge different ticket prices depending on where you want to sit. Variety reports that America’s biggest theater chain is rolling out the Sightline at AMC initiative. The initiative will see moviegoers paying more or less for tickets based on where their seats are located. Seats located at the very front of the auditorium would be cheaper, while seats in the middle rows would fetch a higher price.

The new tiered seat pricing will begin in a handful of select AMC Theaters this Friday before going nationwide later this year. Sightline will feature three tiers: Standard Sightline, Value Sightline, and Preferred Sightline. Value will include cheaper tickets for the uncomfortable neck-breaking seats in the first few rows of the theater, while Preferred offers seats in the cushy middle rows for a premium.

Standard Sightline will cover everything else, presumably everything from the middle back. The Value seats will only be available to AMC Stubs members (including, thankfully, the free subscription tier). AMC Stubs A-List members will be able to reserve seats from the Preferred Sightline tier for no extra cost.

AMC Theaters

According to executive VP and CMO at AMC Theaters, Eliot Hamlisch, he knows that “there are some moviegoers who prioritize their specific seat and others who prioritize value moviegoing.” He promises, “Sightline at AMC accommodates both sentiments.” The VP also compared the new pricing scheme to the way tickets have always been priced for concerts and other live entertainment.

AMC Theaters frames the new pricing tiers as something to make the theater-going experience better for its customers, but it’s hard not to see the move as a way to cope with the changing role of movie theaters in post-COVID America. Many are reluctant to spend two hours in a crowded space with other potentially sick theater patrons. Add that to the shrinking window between theatrical and streaming release, and it’s easy to see why AMC might need a new way to get people to come to their theaters.

The theater giant claims the Sightline pricing wouldn’t take effect until after 4 p.m., meaning that matinee seats will presumably all cost the same. In addition to shows before 4 p.m., Sightline would also not affect AMC Theaters’ discount Tuesdays, where every movie is $5 regardless of showtime.

It’s unclear whether other theater chains will follow suit regarding different seat pricing based on location. Competitors like Regal and Cinemark might be taking a wait-and-see attitude when it comes to AMC Theaters and their Sightline initiative. These competitors are most likely waiting to see how successful the new pricing is before deciding to emulate the practice with their own version of Sightline or continue with business as usual.

In today’s instant-access culture, it’s easy for a policy like Netflix’s new password-sharing crackdown to be bullied into cancelation before the changes can even take effect. It will be interesting to see if AMC Theaters even makes it to the soft launch of Sightline or whether customer backlash sends them back to the drawing board before then.

At the very least, the weirdos who like to sit in the first row at the movies might be able to save a few bucks.