AMC Theatres is scrapping its plan to charge moviegoers more money for a better view of the screen.
The company announced it is no longer moving forward with “Sightline at AMC,” a ticket pricing initiative based on seat location within the auditorium. The proposed system, which was announced in February, involved customers paying a few extra dollars for prime middle seats with an unobstructed view and saving a few bucks to sit in the front row.
The initial announcement wasn’t embraced on social media, with “Lord of the Rings” star Elijah Wood among its vocal detractors. “The movie theater is and always has been a sacred democratic space for all,” he wrote on Twitter at the time. “This new initiative by AMC Theatres would essentially penalize people for lower income and reward for higher income.”
After conducting a pilot test program in select locations, the company announced it would “pivot away” from Sightline at AMC because there wasn’t enough interest in the idea of offering a range of prices to sit in particular rows. In the study’s findings, customers were willing to pay more for premium seats but weren’t willing to subject themselves to the front row, even for a lower price.
“To ensure AMC’s ticket prices remain competitive, the Sightline at AMC pilot program will come to an end at participating locations in the coming weeks, and the initiative will not roll out nationwide,” according to a press release.
But that doesn’t mean the experimentation to get audiences back into theaters and reinvigorate sales is coming to an end. By the end of 2023, AMC says it will begin testing a new seating concept, this time focused solely on the front row.
“AMC is applying its learnings as it pivots to its next innovation — enhanced spacious front row seating with extensive seat recline,” the statement concludes. “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.”