Moviegoers know that the best seat when going to see a film is right in the middle, and so does AMC.
The theater chain has announced a new feature called Sightline that alters ticket prices based on seat location. Essentially, the front row will be cheaper, while seats in the middle of the theater will cost more. This move created backlash from customers on social media, such as Twitter, who aren’t interested in footing the bill on better seats. It even faced criticism from individuals within the film industry, like “Lord of the Rings” actor Elijah Wood.
On Feb. 6, Wood called AMC out on Twitter, stating: “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.”
With the priciness of AMC’s concessions, like its smallest popcorn for $9 and drinks for $6, Sightline will only further hinder the movie theater experience. AMC theaters are becoming even more unaffordable, especially with the current recession.
This feature will likely cause AMC to experience a loss of returning customers. Forbes revealed that the company experienced a decline in customers in 2021 due to the pandemic, as 61% of Americans avoided its theaters. With this decision, there will probably be a shift in customers choosing other theaters that are sticking to fixed price seating.
Streaming services are already dominating the industry over theaters. Due to convenience, it’s likely that even more people will opt for them. AMC has already attempted to keep up with the competition through memberships, credit cards and other deals. Sightline is likely AMC’s plan to make up for its lost profits.
This feature was intended to make audiences think AMC is doing them a favor. Moviegoers were doing just fine without Sightline, and with last year’s rollout of movies, people were willing to return for highly anticipated films. Sightline will leave the company scouring for more ways to get people back in the theaters.