Elijah Wood: AMC’s new ticket pricing is punitive to lower income people

Embed from Getty Images

For those who weren’t here yesterday, AMC announced tiered pricing for their seating. They have already rolled out this policy in some theaters. Seats in front will be discounted, seats to the sides are the same price and center seats will be increased, except for their A-club and Stubs members. These prices apply to all movies after 4pm, except for their discounted Tuesday nights. When I wrote the post on this, I tried to think about it as a consumer. Since I had no reference for what the pricing would look like, I focused more on the fact that less desirable seats would now be discounted. At one point, I mentioned getting ticked off about paying more for seats I usually sit in but since I almost always go on Discount Night, I cut that line.

But then I read Elijah Wood’s tweet yesterday morning and I realized he’d hit on something that had been bothering me. Elijah tweeted this:

— Elijah Wood (@elijahwood) February 6, 2023

While I focused on the fact that I wouldn’t have to pay the same price for crappy seats if I ended up in them, I neglected to look at people being shoved out of the center. Elijah is exactly right. Folks brought up comparisons to live theaters, sports, and concerts. And it is true, those venues have tiered pricing. But that misses the point of what Elijah is saying. Tiered seating has a long arm into history. In Roman amphitheaters, there wasn’t a cost involved, but people were separated based on class. Elizabethan theaters did charge for box seating or rooms for the gentry and ‘commoners’ paid a penny to stand on the floor for the length of the play. Sporting events in this country are ridiculously priced. You need to sell a kidney if you want to get anywhere close to the court or field. And concerts, holy cr*p. I’m still paying off the BS seats we got for the Police reunion tour.

But movies are different. First of all, they aren’t live, so everyone, theoretically, has access to them. You don’t have to be in that place at that moment for the event, everyone gets the same experience. And they are and have always been the escapism for anyone despite position, place or power. During the Depression when other businesses closed, movie houses continued. Prices were affordable – and uniform – and people were able to forget bleak reality for a little while.

I like Elijah’s use of democratic here. Movie theaters are where CEO sits next to entry-level employee. Everyone in the theater is just a movie goer, there is no special status, no label. (Except for that guy talking during the movie, he’s labeled a jerk.) You all made good arguments yesterday too, about people doing exactly what happens at most games: they’ll buy a cheap ticket and sit in the good seats. Then high school ushers will be in the middle of fights between Preferred Sightline ticket holders and the front rowers. There are many ways to help theater chains that don’t involve choking the theater goer. Bring down the cost of making movies so theaters don’t have to pay so much for them. Start by cutting their run time. Very few movies need to run over 90 minutes. All due respect to Elijah’s Hobbit franchise. I’m really glad he said this as plainly as he did.

Embed from Getty Images

Embed from Getty Images

Photo credit: Getty Images and Tima Miroshnichenko of Pexels

Source: Read Full Article