Are You Kidding Me?

The movie theater business was losing billions before the pandemic. So, it’s no surprise that multiplexes are still hurting. If movie fans were avoiding theaters before, this news should seal the deal.

AMC, the country’s largest movie theater chain, is rolling out a new pricing structure that charges more for center seats. It’s called Sightline, a hopelessly complicated, three-tiered plan. AMC reeks of desperation by insisting that movie tickets should be priced like concerts and sporting events. “We’re giving moviegoers more control of their experience.”

Uhh not so much. You get the same seat, same sticky floor, for more money.

Here’s my take. Two thumbs down on this disaster. Sightline should be renamed: ‘Corporate Greed’.

The average movie theater holds about 200 people and is rarely full. Charging extra for ‘premium’ seats sounds like the work of a shortsighted CFO who wants to recoup COVID losses.

The concert pricing defense is ridiculous, like comparing apples and orangutans. It’s one thing to see Taylor Swift from the 10th row. Being up front at a live event is an electrifying, visceral experience. Watching a film that plays 5 times a day is not an event.

When a film is projected on a 65’ screen, every seat is good enough. And in a small theater, how close do you need to be?

Here’s a suggestion for AMC: Rather than gouge your best customers, why not innovate? Brainstorm ideas that will attract movie goers and get them off their couch.

Theaters are dark for 20 hours per day. Develop ideas for the off hours. Start by bringing back the double feature and boost snack bar sales. People won’t pay for better seats. But, they’ll drop $15 on popcorn and soda. And that’s where theaters make their dough.

Celebrate the excitement of major movie premieres. Host video gaming competitions. Revive Saturday matinees for kids. Offer a 2-for-1 Date Night packages. Host author readings. Make an effort.

Sightline is coming to theaters near you. If AMC doesn’t kill it first.

Beau Phillips is President of Rainmaker Media. 
He’s a creative marketing consultant, strategist and speaker.
Reach him at 203-256-9347 

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