AMC’s tiered ticketing for better seats is another added pricing wrinkle

Credit: TNS

Credit: TNS

AMC has begun charging more for better seats in its movie theaters in a few cities and will soon roll out the policy out nationwide by the end of the year.

The program, dubbed Sightline, will give a discount for those who are willing to crane their necks in the front row while seats in the “preferred” section in the middle will pay $1 or $2 more.

This policy will affect only film showings after 4 p.m. And those who sign up for AMC’s monthly subscription program won’t have to pay the extra charge. AMC, the nation’s largest movie chain headquartered in Kansas City, has 18 locations in metro Atlanta.

Tiered pricing is already in place at Michigan-based NGC Cinemas. At NGC theaters in metro Atlanta, the chain charges $2.50 extra for its recliner “VIP” seats vs. regular seats.

Tiered pricing is standard practice at concerts and plays, where front row is actually preferred. Sports teams now often charge more for games when the opponent is particularly popular.

Theaters also charge more for 3D showings, and matinee pricing has been around for decades.

Brandt Gully, who owns Sandy Springs Cinema & Taphouse, said his theater will sometimes charge more for a high-demand movie on opening weekend or if a film is particularly hot. “Call it surge pricing, similar to the pro-sports ticketing model,” he said.

Christopher Escobar, owner of Plaza Theatre in Atlanta, said he purchased AMC stock in 2020 during the depths of the pandemic and then made a profit when the prices bounded back. He still owns a few shares. He said this new AMC policy is just a gimmick to get them attention and doubts it will help their bottom line.

The chain has $10 billion in debt and according to, is burning through cash.

“They’re flailing about,” Escobar said. “They don’t know what to do.”

AMC’s most direct rival Regal Cinema is in even worse financial shape, exacerbated by the pandemic. Its parent company Cineworld filed for bankruptcy protection last September and has been closing theaters nationwide, including Atlanta’s Tara Cinema in November.

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