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“The Lord of the Rings” actor Elijah Wood recently commented on the situation, saying he believed charging more for preferable locations was unfair to individuals with less discretionary income.
“The movie theater is and always has been a sacred democratic space for all,” Wood tweeted. “This new initiative by AMC Theatres would essentially penalize people for lower income and reward for higher income.”
Actor Seth Green agreed. He wrote of the new pricing structure, “This is absurdly stupid & only creates unnecessary classism. [AMCTheatres] clearly focused on squeezing new profits anywhere possible. Trying to get people back into theaters? Don’t penalize folks with less to spend.”
AMC’s new Sightline program will be implemented at certain theaters in New York, Chicago, and Kansas City on Friday. The company is planning to roll out the initiative nationwide throughout 2023.
Ticket prices will be split into three tiers: Preferred Sightline, which includes the most expensive and popular middle seats; Value Sightline, which are offered for a cheaper price for wheelchair-accessible seating and the front row; and Standard Sightline, which covers all other seats in the theater.
AMC Stubs A-List loyalty program members won’t be charged extra for Preferred Sightline seating, plus they’ll get a discount on Value Sightline seating. The new pricing initiative won’t affect Discount Tuesdays, where all seats are $5.
Many social media users were outraged over the new pricing structure. However, others pointed out that AMC is following standards previously established in similar industries.
“Wait till you hear about broadway theatres, concert venues, and just about every entertainment hall,” one person replied to Wood’s tweet. “What they’re doing isn’t anything new.”
“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,” Eliot Hamlisch, executive VP and CMO at AMC Theatres, said of the change, per Variety.
“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.”