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AMC Theatres Rolls Out Tiered Pricing That Makes a Good Seat Even More Expensive

AMC Theatres calls it "experience-based pricing." Some might call it another reason to wait for a good seat at home.

FILED - 22 August 2020, US, Washington: The logo of AMC is seen on a movie theater of the world's largest cinema chain AMC. (to dpa "Chinese company gives up control of world's largest cinema chain AMC") Photo: Andrej Sokolow/dpa (Photo by Andrej Sokolow/picture alliance via Getty Images)

AMC Theatres

dpa/picture alliance via Getty I

The largest exhibition chain in the U.S., AMC Theatres, has announced Sightline at AMC, a program under which ticket prices will be inflated based on seat location and screen proximity. To put it another way: If you want to sit in the middle, it’s going to cost you an extra dollar or two.

The initiative begins February 10, just in time for “Magic Mike’s Last Dance” and other major releases at select AMC locations in New York City, Chicago, and Kansas City. An AMC spokesperson confirmed that all AMC Theatres locations with reserved seating policies will follow suit by the end of the year.

The initiative has three pricing tiers. Standard Sightline is described as “seats that are the most common in auditoriums and are available for the traditional cost of a ticket.” For those who like to sit in the front row, you’re in luck: That qualifies for Value Sightline, which are seats “in the front row of the auditorium, as well as select ADA seats in each auditorium, and are available at a lower price than standard sightline seats.” It also requires a minimum of free-tier AMC Stubs membership.

The program’s reason for being is the premium-priced Preferred Sightline, which are the coveted seats “in the middle of the auditorium and are priced at a premium to standard sightline seats.” If you are a paying AMC Stubs A-List member (cost: $19.95-$24.95 per month), you can reserve Preferred Sightline Section at no additional cost. For everyone else it’s an additional $1-$2, depending.

The system is already in effect. If you have not already purchased tickets for “Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania,” your Preferred Sightline seat will cost $2 more.

AMC theaters seating screen shot

Screen shot of available seating for “Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania” at AMC Lincoln Square in New York City. Note the seating categories of “preferred” and “traditional.”

“Sightline at AMC more closely aligns AMC’s seat pricing approach to that of many other entertainment venues, offering experience-based pricing and another way for moviegoers to find value at the movies,” Eliot Hamlisch, executive VP and CMO at AMC Theatres, said in a press 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. 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.”

This AMC seating charge would be in addition to the “convenience charges” that come with advance ticket purchases. In New York, that would push a Preferred opening-weekend “Ant-Man” ticket in New York, purchased on the AMC site, to $26.98.

Theaters that offer Sightline at AMC seating provide a detailed seat map that outlines each seating option during the ticket purchase process online, on the AMC app, and at the box office. Sightline at AMC is applied to all showtimes that begin after 4 p.m. at participating locations. AMC’s Discount Tuesdays, when all movie tickets are discounted to $5, will not include Sightline at AMC seating pricing.

This new AMC Theatres program comes on the heels of the return of MoviePass, which does not currently have a relationship with AMC. Discount ticket membership MoviePass launched with a waitlist for beta testing with another trio of tiers, including $10, $20, and $30 monthly memberships for select participating theaters and a set amount of films.

Tom Brueggemann contributed to this report.

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