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Elijah Wood slams AMC Theatres' ticket price change, says it will "penalize people for lower income"

Salon 2/7/2023 Joy Saha

Elijah WoodChelsea Guglielmino/WireImage/Getty Images © Provided by Salon Elijah WoodChelsea Guglielmino/WireImage/Getty Images

Elijah Wood has made it clear that he's not a fan of AMC Theatres' proposed plans to change ticket pricing.

The "Lord of the Rings" actor, who is slated to appear in the upcoming season of Showtime's "Yellowjackets," criticized the theater chain's new Sightline initiative, which assigns ticket prices based on a seat's specific location. Under this new initiative, theatergoers in the same theater will all pay different prices for their seats rather than the standard ticket rates.  

"The movie theater is and always has been a sacred democratic space for all," Wood wrote. "This new initiative by AMC Theatres would essentially penalize people for lower income and reward for higher income."

Announced Monday, AMC's Sightline program will start Friday at select theaters in New York, Chicago and Kansas City, and slowly expand to all AMC locations across the country by the end of the year. Per Variety, the initiative features three seat-pricing options: Standard Sightline, which includes the most common seats in the theater that are available for the traditional cost of a ticket; Value Sightline, which includes seats in the front row and some wheelchair-accessible spots that are available for a lower price than Standard Sightline seats; and Preferred Sightline, which includes seats in the middle of the theater that are available for a higher price. AMC noted that theaters using Sightline must provide a detailed seat map that outlines each seating option and its corresponding ticket price. 

Of course, AMC Stubs A-List members, who already have paid a monthly fee have an advantage; they can reserve seats in the Preferred Sightline Section at no additional cost and the Value Sightline Section for a discount.

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AMC Theatres executive Eliot Hamlisch explained the motive behind Sightline in a statement published by Entertainment Weekly:

"Sightline at AMC more closely aligns AMC's seat pricing approach to that of many other entertainment venues, offering experienced-based pricing and another way for moviegoers to find value at the movies. While every seat at AMC delivers an amazing moviegoing experience, 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."

AMC's statement doesn't seem to acknowledge that some moviegoers want both: a great experience and low cost. So far, there's no indication what the price differences will be. For now, it does look like AMC's new strategy could drive Stubs A-List membership sales, just to avoid the hassle of tiered seating prices, and its $5 Tuesday discount will still be in effect for everyone.

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