AMC Theatres has introduced “Sightline at AMC,” a dynamic price-based program that varies prices based on seat location that has left CPP students and faculty alarmed about the future of movie-going.
AMC Sightline entails increased or decreased pricing on viewing preferences. There are three categories: value, standard and preferred sightline. Value sightline has the lowest price located in the front row. Standard sightline remains as traditional price. Preferred sightline is located in the middle row for “premium pricing.” This Sightline settings apply to all movies showing after 4 p.m.
“Sightline at AMC more closely aligns AMC’s seat pricing approach to that of many other entertainment venues, offering experienced-based pricing and another way for moviegoers to find value at the movies,” said Eliot Hamlisch, executive vice president and chief marketing officer, AMC Theatres. “While every seat at AMC delivers an amazing moviegoing experience, we know there are some moviegoers who prioritize their specific seat and others who prioritize value moviegoing. Sightline at AMC accommodates both sentiments to help ensure that our guests have more control over their experience, so that every trip to an AMC is a great one.”
An average ticket costsa minimum of $14. The price increases depending on popular demand of a movie, and in some locations, weekend showtimes differ from weekday showtimes.
Concession expenses have been on the rise for quite some time now. A medium-sized popcorn pricing around $10 and an Icee costing around $7 as well as student discounts only found in participating locations can take student budgets so far.
Billy Vuong, a business administration student has been a loyal AMC moviegoer since childhood. Vuong expresses the shift in pricing with a student budget.
“From a student perspective, it’s horrible because AMC itself has already been expensive. It wouldn’t be for a student on a budget and now that they’re raising the price for a seat that most people would pick for a good movie experience; it really just motivates people to pick other theater options,” said Vuong.
There has already been a decrease in going to the movies. With streaming services overtaking, the residual effects of the pandemic and the noticeable evasion to movies, exercising skepticism of the company’s plan of action wouldn’t be a surprise coming from the public.
The top tier company’s reward members will have the premium pricing waived. At no extra cost, people who are subscribed to AMC Stubs A-List will be able to make reservations in the Preferred Sightline section.
According to Sangho Lee, professor of finance, this move seems to be moving towards incentivizing audience members to subscribe to their reward’s subscription.
“They are looking for a subscription-based model to generate stable cash flows rather than occasional revenues,” said Lee. “Stable cash flows and subscription-based models have been super popular, and AMC is just going down that route and other movie franchises may or may not in the future.”
The public is not foreign to subscription enforcement. Streaming companies like Netflix, Disney+ and Hulu feeds off the monthly automatic withdrawal from bank accounts across the nation; AMC is just following the herd.
Almost a year ago, the company had just avoided bankruptcy through their presence as a “meme stock.” The plan to increase yet another expense can be seen coming from a place of rashness but not surprising.
After reviewing AMC’s 10k report, or audited financial statements, Magdy Farag, chair of the accounting department, said that AMC had experienced a total comprehensive loss of approximately $1.4 billion.
“It’s hard to predict but I would say that they are facing some challenges, so unless they come up with something creative to make going to the movie theaters much more interesting, they might not be able to survive. Looking at the numbers the first time, the numbers don’t look promising,” said Farag.
Whether the company deems this as a hail Mary plan or a saving grace, it tests the loyalty of existing members. Edmond Wu, lecturer for the economics department, said, “They’re running out of strategies. So, this is kind of one of the last strategies they have to get more money of the existing customers because theaters aren’t really attracting new customers. So, the only tactic they have now is to extract more revenue from the existing ones.”
AMC has initiated the program in early February, hitting some theaters across the country. The plan will take in full effect nationwide before the end of the year.