The plan was intended to give moviegoers the option to pay more or less for tickets depending on where they chose to sit and had rolled out at select AMC locations in New York, Chicago, and Kansas City this past February. It was supposed to be implemented at all domestic AMC locations before the end of this year. However, the theater chain has reversed course and will replace it with a new program upgrading the front row seats in each auditorium.
“Beginning in late 2023, AMC will begin testing its newest seating concept,” the company announced. “Large, comfortable lounge style seating areas will allow guests to lay all the way back and relax. The angle of the seats will also make it more enjoyable to watch movies from these front row seats closest to the screen.”
AMC has not revealed pricing for the new seats. According to THR, AMC explained the pivot by saying it wanted “to ensure its ticket prices stay competitive.”
Under the Sightline plan, front row (or Value Sightline) seats were priced at a lower cost than other seats. The highest-priced option, known as Preferred Sightline seats, were those located in the middle, while “the most common” — or Standard Sightline — seats were available at the original cost of the ticket. The move was intended to put movie ticket pricing in line with other areas of entertainment, such as concerts and festivals, where fans have the option to pay more for better access.
However, the location-based pricing received criticism for impacting folks who aren’t able to afford better seats. “The movie theater is and always has been a sacred democratic space for all,” actor Elijah Wood said in February. “This new initiative by AMC Theatres would essentially penalize people for lower income and reward for higher income.”