AMC Theatres will not proceed with the seat location-based pricing model it has been testing.
The movie theater chain said Thursday it nixed plans to roll out its Sightline at AMC pricing plan to its theaters across the U.S. The small number of locations where AMC had been piloting the plan will soon cease using it as well, according to a press release.
AMC said it was doing so to "ensure its ticket prices stay competitive."
Sightline by AMC had standard, value and preferred seating options, with the value option costing a lower price for seats in the front row and the preferred costing slightly more than standard for seats in the middle for movies starting after 4 p.m. Only those who are Stubs members had access to the value pricing.
Moviegoers attend the screening of "Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings" at an AMC theater on Sept. 4, 2021, in Monterey Park, California. (Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)
AMC said it would instead pursue "enhanced spacious front row seating with extensive seat recline" for better movie-watching from that section. Testing of that will kick off later in the year, according to the release.
A view of the AMC Theater at Times Square during the coronavirus pandemic on October 18, 2020 in New York City. (Photo by Roy Rochlin/Getty Images)
The pilot of Sightline by AMC plan dated back to February, when the movie theater chain first revealed the planned strategy.
"In inflationary times, costs rise, so prices rise. Under the old system, our only option was to raise prices on all seats," AMC Entertainment CEO Adam Aron had tweeted about the plan a few days after its unveiling. "Sightline lets us raise prices only on our most popular seats, but we can also hold the line on standard seats & actually cut prices on Value seats."
Through testing the pricing model, AMC said the cheaper seats in the front row of the theater saw "little or no" rise in people choosing them. Additionally, when the prices for the spots included in AMC’s "preferred" zone were upped slightly, most people who picked them before the model was introduced still did so, the company found.
AMC operates 10,500 screens in some 950 theaters around the world.
AMC operates 10,500 screens in some 950 theaters around the world. (Jeenah Moon / Bloomberg via Getty Images / File / Getty Images)
During the company’s quarterly earnings call in May, Aron expressed optimism about the year for the movie industry, though he did also say it was "not out of the woods yet."
"The box office, while elevated, is not yet back at 2019 levels," he said. "As I previously indicated that I believe COVID will be a five-year detour for the movie industry, we just started the fourth year in our ramp-up to eventual normality, but we are indeed on an improving ramp."
Aron also reported during the call that AMC’s theaters saw more than 47 million guests in the quarter.