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You will soon have to pay more at AMC Theaters if you want to get a better seat, and parents are not happy.
The popular movie theater chain, apparently not learning from the disaster that has become Ticketmaster and Live Nation, and decided to introduce their own version of a dynamic-pricing structure.
Beginning this Friday in New York City, Chicago and Kansas City before eventually being nationwide by the end of the year, moviegoers will have to choose from 1 of 3 price-tiered ticket options.
THERE WILL BE 3 DIFFERENT TICKET PRICES
The cheapest tickets will now be called the “Value Sightline.” Where are these located? You guessed it – the painful front row where you end up having a sore neck and a migraine for 3 days because of the awkward angle you’re sitting at for hours. No surprise they’re putting the cheapies there.
The most expensive option? Of COURSE it’s right in the middle. This is the comfortable, direct line-of-sight viewing experience that every movie fan wants. This will be called the “Preferred Sightline” tier and it’s now going to cost you more.
The third-tier is the “Standard Standalone” which will be the rest of the seats and will be available for the traditional cost of the ticket. So, these are presumably the ones in the back and on the side.
Keep in mind this is happening at a time when the window between films being in theaters and then on streaming services is tightening ever so quickly. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve said, “I’ll just wait till it comes out on streaming.” Higher prices and more hassle for something that is supposed to be a luxury and not a necessity, is a gamble that may turn out the way AMC originally intentioned.
THIS IS AN AWFUL IDEA
Let me be the first to say AMC’s new idea is terrible and I think it will automatically backfire.
The first reason why is simple. Why on Earth would you give people more of an incentive to stay at home? Americans have become lazy as hell the last few years since the pandemic, and places need to do everything they can to entice them to show up somewhere, not drive them away. If you are going to make a movie experience more difficult, they aren’t going to bother. I don’t see how that is a shocker to AMC but apparently it is.
Have a group of friends that want to go to the movies together? Oh wait, can’t all sit together because there’s only a couple “Preferred Sightline” seats left. Or maybe it’s date night? “Well, sorry hunny – all the good seats were taken, looks like we’re going to be the last two seats of the front row!”
The pricing structure may also work in reverse.
If you’re a family with small kids, or perhaps celebrating your child’s birthday by bringing a couple of their classmates to the movies, you may want to go the cheaper option because you are going to have to buy multiple tickets. That would only leave the top-tier pricing option available, and that is going to cost a parent a ton of money. News flash to AMC: Don’t piss off parents, especially in this social media age. It never goes well. They are relentless, brutal and your Yelp ratings are going to get wrecked.
WHY MAKE IT MORE DIFFICULT TO GO TO THE THEATERS?
Essentially AMC Theaters is taking a page from Ticketmaster / Live Nation playbook. The better seats are going to cost more, even at the local movie theater.
“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,” said Eliot Hamlisch, who is AMC’s executive vice president.
One thing that will be interesting to see is if there is such a high demand for say like the next Avengers movie. Will the dynamic-pricing structure increase for better seats? If so, then AMC may have single-handedly just destroyed the movie experience. Fans will spend an exorbitant amount of money to see their favorite musician or touring act once in a while, but will they do the same to see a film? And will enough people to do it make it worthwhile for AMC to have just changed their entire business model?
Will people want to spend a ton of money for a ticket at AMC, or drive 20 minutes somewhere else and pay a regular price for a ticket? You’d be surprised what people do to save money these days.
That’s if they even decide to leave their couches in the first place. Something AMC, just like Ticketmaster, may have made it even more difficult for fans to do.