By Lila Nolan, Staff Writer
On Feb. 6, 2023, AMC Theaters introduced their newest initiative to moviegoers called the “Sightline at AMC” experience. The international company announced new ticket policies and some of the ways this will affect viewers’ enjoyment have been highlighted.
This modern experience of seeing movies will propose buyers with different ticket prices based on where and when they choose to sit in the theater. The selection will be broken up into three different categories of seating which are Value Sightline, Standard Sightline, and Preferred Sightline. Each of these categories represents a different location in the theater and the prices will match accordingly. In their global press release, AMC Theaters took the time to break down this initiative and what it means exactly.
“Standard Sightline seats are the most common in auditoriums and are available for the traditional cost of a ticket; Value Sightline seats are primarily in the front row of the auditorium and are available at a lower price than Standard Sightline seats; Preferred Sightline seats are typically in the middle of the auditorium and cost slightly more than Standard and Value Sightline seats,” AMC Theatres said in a press release.
AMC is titled the largest theatrical exhibitor in the United States and this news hit movie lovers across the globe.
For young people, the movie theater experience is already dying and this new policy can be seen as a hurtful blow to the entire industry.
“Yeah, I like going to the movies and I like the communal experience of it all but I think this would definitely affect my trips to the movies,” senior film student Matthew King said. “If AMC goes ahead and implements this policy I would probably go to another theater that doesn’t have this type of pricing policy. I think a whole new policy of prices just based on the best seat location is nonsense. It would deter people from going to movies all together and just further promote home streaming services.”
Many movie lovers and theater goers alike share the same type of responses. Over the past few years, the film industry has seen a massive surge in home streaming services and individuals’ reliability on them. Due to this growth in popularity, viewers’ enjoyment around the movie theater experience have already been limited. Upon the company’s global news announcement, AMC’s executives have flocked to try and expose the benefits of “Sightline Seating.”
“Sightline at AMC more closely aligns AMC’s seat pricing approach to that of many other entertainment venues,” EVP and CMO of AMC Theatres Eliot Hamlisch said. “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.”
Today, the entertainment industry serves as many individuals’ source for relaxation, rest, and down time enjoyment. With the introduction of a policy like this, movie goers are forced to stress all viable options in the situation. They’re left to explore what this means for them exactly and how the movie theater experience may look in the near future.
“Personally, when it comes to buying movie tickets, I’m a ‘$5 Tuesday’ kinda girl. I do like going to the movies but usually only when I see something that piques my interest like if a movie is made by my favorite director or actor,” junior film major Jada Smith said. “I usually pick the same row every single time because it’s right in the middle and I can see [in] row C, so a rule like this is extremely annoying for me. Honestly it’s very frustrating because not only do we already pay so much to go to the movies but to eat too– It makes you not want to go because what’s the point if you aren’t even going to be in an enjoyable spot?”
Many moviegoers have been faced with similar realizations to the company’s press release. As the largest theatrical exhibitor in the U.S., AMC has potential to change the entire movie screening experience. This policy is foreseen to spread across other major companies and further solidify this change in the movie theater experience forever.
Moviegoers are far from pleased with this projected trend in pricing of tickets.
“If movie prices keep getting raised I think theaters will lose a lot of business to the much easier route of streaming services like they already have. Why pay extra for a seat you don’t really want when you can have the best seat in the house, right in front of your TV?” Smith said.
Since the public was exposed to AMC’s new “Spotlight Seating,” there have been global reactions to the news. This Sightline initiative is AMC Theatre’s latest trial to experiment with movie ticket prices as cinemas still struggle to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic. Moviegoers have already heard the policy change and have taken to the internet with heated backlash. This negative feedback has been fired at AMC Theaters across most social media platforms even including insights from Twitter’s CEO, Elon Musk.
“The movie theater is and always has been a sacred democratic space for all and this new initiative @AMCTheatres would essentially penalize people for lower income and reward for higher income,” Lord of the Rings star and Academy Award Winning actor Elijah Wood wrote. Wood later tweeted back at the global company, “Wouldn’t it be nice to keep it this way?”
As things stand, AMC will be going ahead with the policy and a press release from the company specified that these rules will be in place every day after 4 p.m. and will not be available on “Discounts Tuesdays” effective immediately in select locations and eventually in all locations by the end of the year.
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