8 more ways that AMC Cinemas can add a premium to its ticket prices

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AMC Cinemas is facing a backlash for its latest pricing policy, but it’s surely neglecting other entirely obvious ways it can charge its customers more.


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Words: Ryan Lambie, Simon Brew

The news that AMC Cinemas in the US will be charging for seats with a slightly better view of the screen is the latest wheeze from multiplexes as they try to come up with new ways to get more money from patrons. Cinemas have faced tough choices since the pandemic hit, and we can’t help but admire AMC’s approach: instead of making cinemas nicer places to visit or anything tedious like that, put a dollar sign on anything that ordinarily you’d expect to get as part of the “experience”.

AMC’s press release of course champions its latest groundbreaking work. It’s introduced by one of the top ten longest single sentence headlines for a press release we’ve ever seen for a start – AMC Theatres® Presents Sightline at AMC, the Next Evolution of Value Pricing at the Movies With Multiple Options to Meet the Viewing Preferences of AMC Moviegoers – Including a Lower Ticket Price for Select Seats.

The blurb goes on to champion that “while every seat at AMC delivers an amazing moviegoing experience”, it notes “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”.

Basically, we’re going to charge you extra for it, and not every seat delivers an amazing moviegoing experience, else we wouldn’t be doing this premium pricing lark. That’s what it’s saying, right?

But still, let’s be glass half full about this. If AMC is struggling to bring in more hard cash from its business, here are some suggested ways it can – yes! – monetize some of the other things us selfish moviegoers take for granted.


There’s a Ryan Air approach that AMC is missing out on when it comes to its concession stand, for a start. It brings to mind a routine from Scottish stand-up comedian Fred MacAulay, talking about serving Ryan Air boss Michael O’Leary a pint of beer at a pub. O’Leary orders his drink, and is charged a single euro. Noting what a terrific deal he’s got, he queries what to drink it out of. “Oh, you want a glass?” And that, friends, is where you start adding up the extras…

Allowing mobile phones

On mobile phone during film screening

Most multiplexes have long given up on such notions as ushers, and enforcing etiquette in their screens. So bugger it: why not wave the white flag and give the subset of people who are determined to interrupt film screenings what they want? YES! You can bring your mobile phone in! YES! You can use it! Who cares if it gets on everyone else’s nerves, as long as we can charge you a bit extra for the privilege! Kerching! Bring in a load of influencers to live stream and everything!


Who says your feet deserve a comfortable surface to rest on? Premium customers get the finest, deep-pile carpet from Tapi. Everyone else gets a mixture of sawdust, old popcorn and plastic coffee cup lids. Cough up, tightwad. 


A seat in a cinema

Sitting down is a luxury. Entry-level customers can save 5 percent on their £20 cinema ticket by standing in our special allocated spaces at the back of the theatre or in the lobby next to the popcorn machine.

A clear view of the screen

Going to the cinema is a special experience – sacred, even, like going to church. This is why we believe all our Premium customers should have a clear view of the screen at all times. Regular customers will now find their view randomly obscured by our members of staff, who’ll sit in front of you wearing particularly tall hats.

The ending

Cinemas are already cramming in as many screenings a day as they can, to maximise income. This means that the lights are up as soon as the credits start, and in people come with bin bags. However, AMC could further boost its efficiencies and optimise the prioritization of its cleaning strategy by letting staff in five minutes earlier. If you want to see the denouement, therefore, of your feature of choice, you can rightly expect to pay a bit extra. After all, some of these bloody films are three hours now. You can’t expect to see it all for one ticket price. AMC is missing a trick there.


Person on phone with AMC logo

Let’s face it, most people watch the things at home anyway, and most of you spend precious time in the cinema bathed in the pale glow of your own mobile phone (see above). This is why all regular screenings will now consist entirely of adverts for cleaning products and Desperate Housewives. Premium customers who do actually want to watch a film will be able to access our library of movies via our exclusive UView mobile phone app, accessible exclusively in our cinemas. (NB that new releases – IE, films released after 2010 – carry a 20 percent surcharge.)

Actual oxygen

Ronnie Cox in Total Recall had it right: if you want access to good, clean air, you should pay. Our patented EZ-Breathe seats will give our premium customers access to the freshest, filtered O2 direct from our air-conditioning system. The rest of you? Make like a mountain climber – bring your own air canister and mask. 

Leave your own ideas for AMC executives in the comments below…

Obviously this article is nothing to do with AMC. But it is welcome to purchase any of these ideas from Film Stories Global International Inc for $1.7m apiece, or $2m if it happens to be poor and can’t afford a nice seat.

All images: Bigstock

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