AMC Remodels Movie Theaters To Have Big, Reclining Seats, But Fewer Of Them

Imagine that you’re a potential investor in movie theater chain AMC, which became a publicly traded company last year. Executives share their exciting new sales pitch: they’re going to make more money by selling fewer tickets to each show. Wait, what? How does that lead to higher earnings? Auditoriums that fit fewer patrons will have comfier, recliner-style seats.

Think of it as the exact reverse of airlines’ strategy: instead of cramming as many people in a small space as possible, AMC sees the possibility that they can instead change configurations and charge more for each ticket in the super-comfy section. This is great news for all kinds of people: it opens up theaters to people too large to fit in current seats, and also prevents children and adults with very short legs from kicking the back of your seat. (Sorry about that.)

The Wall Street Journal reports that this bold strategy is working out for the company so far. It costs about $350,000 to $500,000 to “re-seat” a single auditorium, and the company plans to reconfigure about 1,800 out of the 5,000 screens it currently has nationwide over the next five years. This will cost a total of $600 million, but the company doesn’t plan to raise ticket prices for the super-comfy screens for maybe a year after renovation. After that, the company says that ticket prices will probably go up a dollar or two.

If your local multiplex is routinely packed, don’t expect to see recliners there anytime soon. Re-seating will happen only in areas where AMC is having trouble filling all the seats, so you won’t see it in the country’s biggest cities.

Now at the Movies: Fully Reclining Seats [Wall Street Journal]

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  1. mrkake says:

    They just built a new cinema near me that has this seat style, with 2 cup holders per person (2 cup holders on each side, so 4 in total that you could theoretically reach) The seats are bigger, but in my opinion less comfortable… they are like leather or fake leather, but I really hate that kind of seats and so do most of my friends. They are comfortable for the first 5 minute and then you want to leave.

    That theater also has a weird serve yourself snack bar, which seemed cool at first except on busy days it gets trashed because the theater is also understaffed so there is popcorn and straws everywhere and nasty soda spills.

    One thing that is kind of cool about the seats is that if you buy tickets online you get to pick your seat so you don’t have to worry about being late.

    Anyway, It’s already like $14 to go, if they raise the price anymore I simply won’t go. I used to go to the movies every week when it was $5-6 a ticket, and I’ve already reduced to about 4 times a year because they kept raising the prices. I also always get popcorn and drinks when I go, so they raised the prices of that stuff too… in the end, from me, they have lost more money by raising prices. If they raise them past $15 — they will lose all of my money because I will never go to the movies. We’ll see what happens.

  2. Naskarrkid says:

    I would pay more to sit in these seats than what the newer around here currently offer. The ones around here don’t have reclining seats, but they move anytime I move and it’s hard to get situated with a moving chair. With that said, I don’t go often, so this would be worth it.

  3. limbo says:

    We’ve had “Premium” theater seating in my area for a while now. Worth every penny, in my opinion. Some of them have the fully reclining seats and others do not. I don’t care about that in the middle of the theater, but if you’re close to the screen, it’s wonderful.

    On top of that, better food, tray tables, alcoholic beverages, waitservice, and no kids?? Awesome.