AMC plans to charge more for the best seats. Is it a game-changer?

Here’s what we know so far about AMC’s plan for tiered pricing in its movie theaters

An AMC theater in New York. (Amir Hamja/Bloomberg News)
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Professional sports does it. Broadway does it. Now AMC will ask movie viewers to pay a premium for the best seats in the house.

The movie theater chain, which runs some 950 theaters, announced this week that it will price tickets based on a seat’s location, charging less for seats in the front row and more for those coveted center seats. Prices won’t change from current standards for the remaining seats, AMC said.

The initiative was swiftly criticized on social media. Lord of the Rings star Elijah Wood described it as undemocratic — a move that “would essentially penalize people for lower income and reward for higher income.” Others said the tiered seating option would further deter consumers as the industry competes with at-home streaming.

But industry analysts cast the initiative as a worthwhile experiment as the movie theater business tries to limp back to its pre-pandemic glory days.

“It makes sense,” Wedbush Securities analyst Alicia Reese said. “I don’t see a reason not to do it now.”

She said that big movies are ahead this year — including Marvel movies like “Ant-Man and The Wasp: Quantumania” — and the new pricing structure could play to the company’s advantage.

Here’s what we know so far about AMC’s pricing plan.