AMC is scrapping its controversial plan to sell tickets at differential prices based on their “sightline” to the screen. The exhibitor announced the new plan last February and has piloted it since that time at a handful of locations.
Under the plan, seats located in the center of the auditorium would cost more than those located along the edges or close up front to the screen. CEO Adam Aron compared AMC’s “Sightline” model to how live theatres and sporting venues set prices for their tickets.
The five-month pilot at select locations showed that a large percentage of the audience shied away from buying the more expensive center seats as well as the cheaper front-row seats. Going forward, AMC will make investments to improve the experience of sitting in the front row, adding recliners even in auditoriums that do not feature recliners overall.
Most are unsurprised that the “Sightline” pilot failed, as the comparison to live theater and sporting events did not apply to the public perception of an “ideal” seat for watching a movie. Some moviegoers already choose to sit further back near the exit rows.
And while most agree that a front-row seat to a movie is not ideal, the discount to sit in front was not large enough to entice most consumers to choose to sit there. Even while many of the fundamental assumptions of the exhibition are being reconsidered, it appears that the uniform price of a ticket within an auditorium will remain unchanged.