AMC theaters add surcharge for best seats

Movie customers will be charged more to sit in the middle of the theater, and less to sit in the front row.

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Ticket pricing is changing at AMC River East in Chicago and the chain’s other movie theaters.

Scott Olson/Getty Images

NEW YORK— Middle seats at many U.S. movie theaters just got more expensive.

AMC Theaters, the nation’s largest movie theater chain, on Monday unveiled a new pricing scheme in which seat location determines how much your movie ticket costs. Seats in the middle of the auditorium will cost a dollar or two more, while seats in the front row will be slightly cheaper.

AMC said the pricing plan, dubbed “Sightline,” has already been rolled out in some locations and, by the end of the year, will be in place at all domestic AMC theaters during showings after 4 p.m.

Seats classified as “standard sightline” will be at the regular price. If you want to pay less for the “value sightline” seats, you have to be a member of the chain’s subscription service, AMC Stubs.

As movie theaters have attempted to recover from the pandemic, exhibitors have increasingly looked at more variable pricing methods. That’s included charging more for sought-after movies like “The Batman” in their first week of release.

Last weekend, Paramount Pictures partnered with theater chains to offer slightly reduced ticket prices for the comedy “80 for Brady.” And last year, during a dry spell in theaters, tickets at most movie theaters were $3 for “National Cinema Day.”

But in most circumstances, movie tickets are getting more expensive, especially when factoring in large-format screens and 3D showings. The average 3D premium format ticket for the biggest box-office hit in recent years, “Avatar: The Way of Water,” was about $16.50.

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