AMC to price movie theater ticket prices based on where you sit

You’ll soon be able to choose to save or splurge on movie tickets at theaters operated AMC Entertainment.

AMC, the largest movie theater chain in the U.S., on Friday will start selling tickets at different prices based on where a seat is located in a given venue. The new approach, called “Sightline at AMC,” prices seats based on how good their views of the screen are. 

“With Sightline at AMC, moviegoers now have the option to pay less, or more, for a movie ticket based on their seat selection,” AMC said in a statement Monday. 

The company will offer three tiers of seating: value, standard, and preferred. Less desirable seats, such as those located in the theater’s front row, will be sold at a discount at the lowest price point. Value seats are available only to members of AMC Stubs, the chain’s rewards club, which is available for free. Standard seats are most common and will be available at the usual cost of a ticket. 

Preferred sightline seats will cost more, according to AMC. The company did not disclose how much the different tiers of seating will cost. The pricing already applies at select theaters and will be rolled out more broadly by year’s end.

AMC said the pricing structure is similar to other venues’ approaches to ticket sales. For example, at theaters and sports arenas, seats with the best views cost significantly more than those with compromised views. 

“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,” AMC Chief Marketing Officer Eliot Hamlisch, said in a statement. “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.”

Still suffering from COVID

AMC, which is publicly traded, has been battered by the pandemic, as its revenue plummeted in 2020 and 2021. The company’s shares are down 51% over the last year, although its financial performance rebounded last year. As movie-goers returned to theaters in 2022, AMC in the fall reported third-quarter revenue of $968.4 million, up from $763.2 million in the year-ago period. 

“[W]e were encouraged that the July industrywide domestic box office was down only 12% from the pre-pandemic July of 2019, but we also did predict quite correctly that there would be a dearth of big movie titles being released in August and September of this year,” AMC CEO Adam Aron told Wall Street analysts in a November earnings call.

Still, AMC remained solidly in the red, with its net loss for the quarter widening to $226.9 million, up from $224.2 million a year ago.

AMC shares went for a ride in 2021 when retail investors snapped up the stock, driving it up more than 1,000%. On Monday afternoon it traded at $6.42, up 5.5%.

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