For the Love of Movies

I can’t decide what to think about AMC’s newest announcement of differing prices for movie tickets based on where a person wants to sit in the theater.

On the one hand, I’m all for whatever might bring more people to the theater, so sure, if you’re willing to crane your neck up from a front-row seat that you purchased on the cheap, more power to you.

But on the other hand, the more dominant one in my case, I hate the fact that elevated prices will fall on those most likely to attend the movies regularly. One doesn’t necessarily have to go to the movies dozens of times a year in order to have a favorite seat, but it stands to reason that might be the case: People who go to the movies a lot might prioritize and care deeply about where they sit while there.

I know that I do. But it’s also not some quirky, never-would-have-guessed-it kind of seat: I prefer the middle of the row, toward the back of the theater.

So for AMC’s tiered Sightline options (Standard, Value, and Preferred) to make “seats in the middle of the auditorium” to be “priced at a premium to standard Sightline seats.”

The language from an AMC executive just fell flat for me:

“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.”

There are, of course, exceptions for AMC members, which would likely cover a great many of these avid moviegoers, but it’s easy enough to imagine a swath of people who love movies but not enough to subscribe still feeling the burden of this change. I don’t have an AMC nearby, so this isn’t really a relevant complaint except to the extent that it signals the thinking of major theater chains, but I just hate that a fairly common preference is being monetized to subsidize the wider populations aversion to the theater movie-going experience.