AMC Cinemas New York.
Scott Mir | CNBC Money
AMC Entertainment A plan to charge customers a variable price for movie theater seats was dropped.
The company announced its “Sightline” pricing strategy in February and is testing it at select locations in three U.S. markets. The program charges moviegoers more for the best theater seats, or “preferred sight” seats.
The program also reduces prices for seats deemed less attractive to customers, such as those located in the front row of theaters.
The change comes as movie theaters are going through a downturn in the summer blockbuster season. Theaters are banking on “Barbie” and “Oppenheimer,” opening this weekend, to bring much-needed traffic to theaters.
Shares of AMC Entertainment fell less than 1% on Thursday. The stock is up more than 5% this year, lagging the broader market.
Preferred sight seats include a select spot in the middle of the auditorium favored by some moviegoers, while value sight seats are usually in the front row.
Lianjia said The program will conclude at participating locations in the coming weeks.
The decision comes after a pilot program showed little or no audience interest in sitting in the front row, despite the reduced price. The company said it also found that most moviegoers continued to choose their preferred seats, even at higher prices.
The company added that the focus is on ensuring AMC’s fares remain competitive. Other theater chains, such as the Regal, aren’t charging higher prices for better seats.
The theater chain said it is now focused on testing front seats with more comfortable recliners at select locations in the U.S. later this year.
CNBC reached out to AMC for additional comment.