AMC ditching plan to charge more for best movie theater seats

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Moviegoers no longer have to worry about paying extra for better seats at theaters operated by AMC Entertainment.

The company has abandoned its pricing plan, AMC announced Thursday, leaving the cost of all seats in any given theater the same. The decision came months after AMC, the largest movie theater chain in the U.S., launched a pricing initiative pilot at three theaters. AMC had planned to roll the initiative out more broadly by the end of the year.

“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,” the company said in a statement.

AMC noted that its competitors did not follow in the chain’s footsteps and charge based on seating choices.

During the pilot, AMC offered three tiers of seating: value, standard and preferred. More than 75% of guests who previously sat in the preferred section continued to sit there during movies, even with the “slight upcharge,” according to the company. AMC said there was almost no increase in moviegoers sitting in the front row, even though there was a “modest” price reduction for the seats. 

Many criticized the pricing plan when it was first announced, including “Lord of the Rings” actor Elijah Wood

“The movie theater is and always has been a sacred democratic space for all and this new initiative by @AMCTheatres would essentially penalize people for lower income and reward for higher income,” he tweeted in February. 

The company noted it now plans one testing “spacious” front-row seating with reclining seats in select theaters later this year. Patrons will be able to “lay all the way back and relax.” According to AMC, the angle of the seats will make it easier for guests to watch movies from the front row. AMC did not say if these seats would have a different cost than those in other rows.

There are approximately 950 AMC theaters around the world.

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