AMC Theatres is planning on putting in bigger seats in 1,800 of approximately 5,000 screens, over the next 5 years in an effort to boost sales.
The nation’s second-largest movie theater chain after Regal Entertainment Group will be spending $600 million in renovating a number of theaters with fully reclining seats. The new seats will be about 36% wider than the traditional 44 inches and allows audiences to lay down and relax while watching a movie.
AMC will be converting 25 of its auditoriums by November. AMC’s CEO Gerry Lopez told Wall Street Journal yesterday that despite the loss of seating capacity, movie attendance and box office revenues have increased by 80% and 60% respectively at 37 renovated AMC auditoriums during the first quarter.
The renovations will cost between $350,000 to $500,000 per auditorium and they will remove about 50-70% of the existing seats, reducing it to about 70 seats per theater.
The Average U.S. and Canada cinema ticket price has risen steadily over the past 10 years and for movie theaters to justify the price increase, they have to provide something valuable for the audience.
The conversions are AMC’s highest investments after it was bought over by China-based Dalian Wanda Group Corp. for $2.6 billion in 2012. AMC Theatres went public last December averaging about $24 a stock.
Lopez also mentioned that some revamped theaters have full dining capabilities, allowing the audience to spend a larger portion of their evening at the theaters. The renovated movie theaters attracted more midweek viewers than normal theaters and also tend to draw more adults than teens or young children, proving that audiences are willing to pay extra for comfort.
AMC Theatres will be focusing on quality over quantity and will wait about a year after upgrading its theaters before increasing ticket prices. With this revamp, audiences should expect to pay an extra of $1 to $2 more than a traditional theater.
If you’re already paying $10 for a movie ticket, why not pay that extra $1-$2 for 2 hours of comfort?