AMC Theatres

AMC abandons the “Sightline” policy of charging more for better seats

AMC Theaters is abandoning its “Sightline” policy that charged moviegoers more money for better seats in their movie theaters. The theater chain is exiting the plan six months after it was first announced in February.

But do not worry. Line-of-sight is being replaced with AMC testing new seats for the front rows of a theater—seats that are larger, more comfortable, and will allow guests to “lie right back and relax.” These will start rolling out in late 2023.

As IndieWire explained in February, the real idea behind Sightline’s rise wasn’t to get more money from people for things that were already free (although it did that too), but to get people to sign up for the subscription. the chain’s premium AMC Stubs A-List program, which would allow people to avoid “Preferred Sightline” fares and get a discount on those worse front row seats. That’s where the true value was, not in an extra dollar from someone who wants to sit in the middle of the house.

Many wondered whether Regal and Cinemark would adopt the same dynamic pricing policy. AMC acknowledged Thursday that the industry has not followed through and Sightline, which was only a pilot program for now and had never been rolled out nationwide, will not continue “to ensure ticket prices remain competitive.” The pilot program officially ends in the coming weeks.

It also wasn’t popular. Elizabeth Banks was among those who said the premium pricing policy was head-scratching, saying it was an odd thing to do at a time when the theater market is still recovering.

AMC, however, says the experiment was still worth it to glean insight into where people actually sit in the theater (some of us prefer to sit at the back of the line, thank you very much). The chain released data that three out of four of its AMC Stubs members who previously chose to sit in Preferred Sightline sections still chose those seats even with the slightly increased cost, and at least one in 10 viewers still opted to sit in. placed outside the preferred line of sight.

What AMC didn’t see was any noticeable change in the people who chose to sit in the front row, even if those seats were cheaper. As any theater owner will tell you, these seats are mostly always vacant, so AMC’s next test will be whether people are willing to sit up front if they can truly kick back in style. No prices have been announced for those seats at this time.