Buying tickets for AMC movies soon be like buying tickets for a music concert. And who doesn't love that process?
As a Canadian, this doesn't impact me, but our main theatre chain up here made a similarly unpopular decision last year to add a service fee to any online orders made to each ticket. It was met with similar comments by people that it was going to sink their business, and they'll regret it. Six months later, people stopped talking about it, and the chain posted it's financial results today with a big turnaround from the prior year (even though domestic box office in that period was down year over year). This will be a little different, because execution has different challenges, and AMC doesn't habe the best track record, but, I think the issue is overblown. Most people will shrug and buy whatever seats work for themselves and not pay it much thought.
I think you have a lot of fair points, but the two biggest things I think are worth bringing up is: 1) I think AMC does do a pretty good job, at least in New York, of investing in the experience of going to the movies (better seats, reliably bright screens, etc.) and 2) I'm not sure it's fair to assume this exercise is one of necessarily growing profits solely out of greed (obviously greed has a lot to do with it), but rather an attempt figuring out a business model that allows them to stay afloat.
“Sightline is really going to do a number on our faith in that concept, calling into question whether any of the Teachings of Nicole are worthy of our reverence in the first place.” 😂
A GOLD MINE?!
I will continue to claim that this could be a good process but only if they give a discount on the bad seats and don't up charge for the regular seats. Every time I go to the theater I look down at those front row corner seats and think to myself, "that seat should be half the price of where I am sitting" it's a good idea to discount such a bad seat!
Here in the UK the larger chains have had some form of “premium” seating for years. Optimal positioning and wider more comfy seats. I’m not sure how many people willingly leap at the chance to buy those tickets though, I suspect for a popular film if you’re slow to book you end up having to buy the premium seat tickets just to get in. In emptier screenings the premium seats tend to be unoccupied and then people shift to the seats when it’s clear they’re unoccupied.
I read the full press release in addition to your post, Dave, and I STILL can’t discern a clear rationale for AMC implementing this weird, clunky, “caste system” way of handling ticket sales. I judge your pessimism to be warranted, and I suspect the intent is to increase enrollment in the A-list program. For me the biggest, most poignant takeaway from your piece is this: “God bless folks who work at movie theaters these days.” It may be that AMC will lose a percentage of movie-goers AND employees from this wacko idea. (Also: seating in a multiplex theatre is simply NOT analogous to sports venues or stadiums!)
It depends on the context. For example, how are movie theaters doing these days? Will they survive? If they are struggling to survive in the face of a persistantly low attendance I would be less concerned about this new scheme to boost revenues.