Here's Why AMC Sightline Pricing is Bullshit (and Why Corporate Speak is a Plague) | Fanboys Anonymous

In the ever-dwindling days of movie theaters struggling to get people to sit down in an auditorium to watch a film, the industry continues to try every single thing imaginable except the one thing that everybody complains is the sole problem for why they aren't going to the movies.

Yes, if you polled 100 people, there will be some saying that they'd rather watch a film from the convenience of their own home because it is more comfortable. They can go to the bathroom whenever they want and pause the flick. They can make whatever food they want to eat. If they want to be loud, they can be loud. There's less of a chance they get sick from COVID or they don't find the seats comfortable or any number of other things.

But the one thing everyone can agree on, and the number one absolute biggest reason why people aren't going to the movies is THE PRICE.

It costs way too much money to go to the movies anymore—especially if you want to get some popcorn, you have a date or you're a family.

It sounds like I'm being an old coot by saying "I remember when in high school, I could go to the movies for $5 at night." I could get a large popcorn and a drink, too, and not have spent $15.

These days, I can't get a SINGLE movie ticket alone for that price. If I'm paying for my wife and we get a bucket of popcorn, two drinks and a box of candy, I have to treat it like I'm paying my electric bill for the month.

That's absurd, and movie theater chains know it, and the industry knows it, but everyone is so goddamn hopped up on perpetual growth with company stock based purely on arbitrary numbers in a constantly inflating economy that doesn't ever want to compensate wages to counteract the diminished value of the dollar, that they are stuck in a cycle thinking "Is there ANYTHING we can do other than lower ticket prices?"

No. Nothing else you do will work. And this AMC Sightline nonsense is the latest example of how you're not going to save yourselves.

All you're going to do is nickel and dime your most loyal patrons—who you're already barely staying afloat from, just by bleeding them dry—until they slowly become no longer viable. They run out of money. They run out of patience. They die off. And you're left filing for bankruptcy because you would rather die a slightly slower death in 5-10 years than to make a slightly lower profit and continue to exist well beyond then.

Rant somewhat over. Let's dive into how stupid Sightline is.

For those who don't know, AMC's latest strategy is to charge different ticket costs based on the position of the seats in the auditorium, with this model in mind:

  • Value Sightline = The shit no one wants to buy, like the front row.
  • Standard Sightline = Everything not in the other two tiers.
  • Preferred Sightline = The good seats in the middle of the auditorium that everyone wants.

They're trying to justify this by using typical company-jargon stock market buzz word rhetoric, like every business does these days, by doing the normal rundown of:

  1. Flat out lying and hyping themselves up as a company you love, and you shouldn't criticize what you love = "While every seat at AMC delivers an amazing moviegoing experience..."
  2. Trying to convince you this is for your benefit = "...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."

So here's the thing. You claim you're doing this so people have more control, right?

Were we able to pick those seats before? Yes. Are we given any more control than before, or are we still just given the option of picking the same seats? NOTHING has upgraded.

Oh, but you're giving more control over whether we prioritize ENJOYMENT or COST, right? So that must mean that you're keeping the preferred tickets the same price as what we have now, but you're rewarding people who can't come to the movies as often because they can't afford it, by lowering the price of Standard and Value...right?

I can't seem to find ANYTHING that indicates that will be the case. It's all wrapped up in "beat around the bush" language, saying that Value will cost less. Yes...but does that mean less than NOW, or that you're just upping the price of the other things?

You're still not going to get people at the movies, particularly when you're now telling them that their dollars are worth less to you because they're going to be FORCED to sit in the AWFUL seats!

AMC wants to equate itself to being similar to the ticketing procedure that you'd see for things like concerts, sports venues and so on. That's something I agree with to an extent. It is very similar, and there is an inherent value to sitting in the best seats (generally speaking; we all have preferences).

But here are the flaws with that mentality:

  1. Nobody is going to treat going to the movies as the equivalent of a rarity to seeing a big sporting event or concert. I'm willing to pay $200 for a decent seat if I go to WrestleMania. I'm sure as hell not paying $75 to go see a movie no matter what seat I'm in.
  2. Tickets to these events can get lower over time to fill in the space. Are you going to lower the ticket cost when the auditorium isn't filling up and it is getting close to show time? I doubt it.
  3. Aren't we going through something right now with Ticketmaster where we're all more than fed up with their crap?

Even if we ignore the idea that they (and any company in their shoes) would NEVER, EVER, EVER just flat out admit something as transparent as "We refuse to lower our ticket prices and the price of our concessions because we are too afraid that that will result in us having to make money based on quality and a longer time frame of proven consistency and value", it would be so refreshing to not hear such utter bullshit like "we're doing this for your benefit" wrapped in language about how they are "catering to a better experience for our beloved patrons" or whatever, and for them to just say what is the truth here: "In an effort to increase profits, we are up-charging our most loyal customers for our best seats."

Continue to keep making the same mistakes that everyone else is making, and when you run into the same problems, you'll have nobody to blame but yourselves.

This world seems like it is refusing to conduct itself with basic common sense anymore, all because everyone is so greedy that they think they're entitled to squeeze out more than their fair share of the average person who has less and less to give.

And before you say "Well, if you don't like it, you don't have to go" as if that's somehow an astute argument, don't you realize that's exactly what will happen?

I guarantee this is not going to result in higher profits, because it will mean less people will go to the movies, instead, and AMC will not go back on its pricing, either. They'll just try to keep moving the benchmark and hoping that people will get used to the prices so in another year, $20 a ticket is the cheapest option because it is now $40.

And you have the gall to say you make movies better.


Tony Mango is the founder, editor-in-chief, head writer and podcast host of Fanboys Anonymous as well as all other A Mango Tree branches including Smark Out Moment. He is a pundit, creative director/consultant, fiction writer and more. Follow him on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.