How AMC Theaters Changed the Cinema Experience

By: Jackie Lurvey

In a time when going to the movies can be stale and expensive, AMC is completely redefining the experience. In a new campaign to increase movie attendance, AMC is redesigning their theaters with new reclining La-Z-Boy chairs. These seats offer a substantial size increase, two arm rests per person and an automatic recliner. Their perspective with this change is to offer a better, more comfortable experience which will keep customers coming back more frequently.

By drastically redesigning the theaters for comfort, AMC forfeits roughly 64% of seating capacity per theater and each theater redesign costs about $350,000 to $500,000. For all the negatives, the new look has increased movie attendance by an average of 80%. One of the largest increases was the growth of midweek movie-goers and adults, who are more willing to spend more money at the movies. This increase in attendance proves the main reason for the change: the number of people coming to see movies in theaters is not increasing, but by making the experience better, they will come more frequently. With this in mind, AMC hopes to add more comfort and enjoyment in their theaters, starting with the seats, but also through adding higher quality food and beverage and a cleaner lobby and bathroom.

Many see these changes as foolish and unnecessary. AMC is basically investing hundreds of millions to take many seats out of their theaters. To many, it just does not make sense. But AMC does not see it as a loss at all. Movie cinemas rarely, if ever, sell out, so they can afford to take the capacities down in hopes that more will come to the upgraded cinema. Through doing this, AMC is taking a stance that they want to give the customer a good experience.

By adding comfort, cleanliness, and luxury to the cinema, AMC will strengthen their brand and make consumers more inclined to spend their money there. Along with all they are adding, AMC is deciding not to increase the price of the ticket by much more than $1, at least not for the first year. They want to keep prices at a steady rate while offering a higher quality than their competition.

The changes made at AMC will forever impact the cinema experience. They took what has been a constant, and completely spun it around, creating an entirely new experience. This will cause many movie theaters to follow AMC’s lead or create their own specialty in order to compete and if they cannot, many will most probably be forced to shut down.

AMC took a simple idea, comfort and luxury, and made an experience out of it. By completely redesigning their theaters, they have changed the way of the movie theater and made way for more innovative and exciting ideas and opportunities. They have proven that they believe in putting the customer first and that their main goal is to make the experience so good that customers cannot wait to come back and do it all again. By focusing on quality over quantity, AMC has forever changed the movie cinemas.


24 thoughts on “How AMC Theaters Changed the Cinema Experience

  1. David Cravotta April 7, 2015 / 2:06 pm

    As someone who often visits the movies, AMC couldn’t have made a better move to increase customer satisfaction. A huge problem in the past was the fact that you’d go to the movies and sit in uncomfortable movie seats for about 2 hours or so. Customer’s like myself would just start to say, “Ill wait for it to come out on DVD and watch it from home.” There are so many different outlets to watching movies in a better environment along with cheaper prices than a movie theater. I think AMC began to realize that. They finally found a way to bring that in-home experience to life in their movie theater. A great strategy on their part which will bring people in willing to pay more for the new movie experience. They lost seating in each individual theater, but will make up for it with their quality over quantity which will entice customers bringing in more money.


  2. Chris Lantagne April 7, 2015 / 3:07 pm

    This is a concept that would be very attractive to myself and I think many other people. I haven’t been to the movies in several years for a multitude of reasons, but I think people would certainly be willing to pay more money to watch a movie in an environment like this. I’m a little surprised the increase in price is only $1.00, but raising it more than that would still make it worth it to me. It seems as though this caters more to the typical middle aged adult and sort of weeds out a lot of the younger crowd (because of the price) which is good news for me because it’s one of the reasons why I don’t go to the movies. With this concept, going to the movies seems more personal and “at home”. Movies now you get a lot of people who go there to socialize and talk a lot during the movie.


  3. Brendan Sullivan April 7, 2015 / 6:13 pm

    I have been to the newly renovated AMC theaters and the seating is amazing. I used to go to showcase during the week because the prices were cheaper. Once they renovated I have not been to a showcase or any other theaters. The price is a little more expensive, but the seating is worth it. I have noticed an increase in people attending the movie theaters during the week. The AMC theater in Methuen has a bar and you can bring drinks into the movie. I think this renovation and overall customer experience in AMC has separated them from the rest of the competition.


  4. Eva Trinidad April 7, 2015 / 10:58 pm

    I think that renovating the theaters was an excellent idea; I was recently at the AMC theaters and enjoyed watching the movie just because I was seating on a very comfortable seat. On these days people look for comfort when having fun especially when it comes to movie theaters. I think that their idea that renovation will bring more customers to the theater is accurate; the more that people see all the changes and experience them the more likely that they will come back.


  5. Kaitlyn Magnano April 8, 2015 / 12:36 am

    I think that the redesign of AMC theaters is a great idea and will be beneficial for them in the end. Many things people don’t like when going to movie theaters is having to sit in uncomfortable seats for two plus hours. I personally have not been to the movies in awhile and just wait for the movie to come out on DVD but with a renovation like the one AMC is doing would attract me to go to the movie theater. Knowing that ill be sitting in a comfortable seat makes the experience much better and will for sure gain customer satisfaction. I think that this renovation will change peoples experience when going to the movie theater and will have them come back again.


  6. Julia Collins April 8, 2015 / 7:40 pm

    Personally, I love what AMC Theaters has been doing to renovate. The comfortable chairs and the dining experience grasps the customers attention and makes them feel as if they are having a more relaxed experience. I always find it odd to walk into a theater and look for seat, causing me to feel anxious and nervous about the experience. By having the option to pick your seat ahead of time you avoid the uncomfortable search for seats, but can enjoy the entire process from entering the AMC complex all the way through the movie. The atmosphere in the AMC theaters has changed from just seeing a movie in a dull environment, to an experience that starts right when you walk in the door. I liked how you incorporated the “quality over quantity” because that is a huge factor for the theaters. They eliminated seats, but created more enthusiasm for the experience they offer.


  7. Zi Wang April 9, 2015 / 3:49 am

    When I went to the cinema, if the environment like seats, bathrooms and lobbies were terrible, I would feel extremely uncomfortable even the movie was perfect. Hence, I agree with the idea that AMC have to redesign and update the equipment and environment to attract more customers. Also, I believe most people went to cinema watch movie in order to enjoy the good environment. If the environment is bad, it is better way that they can choose to watch DVD at home. For example, many lovers are likely to choose the cinema as dating occasions. I’ll bet that they usually don’t care the price as long as the environment and movie is wonderful. Therefore, I think that the most important two things for any cinemas are enviroment and movies.


  8. William Cavalier April 9, 2015 / 4:20 pm

    I have been to a newly renovated AMC theatre and it is an overall better experience. I feel more comfortable in the new leather recliners and feel as if i am more at home. I think AMC is doing a great thing by renovating all their theaters and creating a better experience for all their customers. By creating a more home like environment more people will feel like going to the movies and relate the theaters to a comfortable place with a great movie viewing experience. AMC will eventually bump up the ticket prices because when more movies come out that are popular and when people are able to choose there seating the prices of the ticket for the premium movie experience will go up. AMC trying not to up their ticket prices is a good start to get customers back into their theatres.


  9. Domenica Fuller April 10, 2015 / 7:27 pm

    I have also been to the recently renovated AMC theaters multiple times. It has completely rejuvenated the movie going experience. Even at the snack bar; I went up to get a small popcorn and became overwhelmed by the variety of choices now available. I no longer feel like going to the movies is too expensive as I am able to sit in a comfortable seat that is cleaner and I can reserve my seat ahead of time. There is nothing worth than spending $12 on a movie ticket and having to crane your neck in the front row. I think that this investment will allow for AMC to create a successful future for itself. Going to the movies has been somewhat forgotten about with all of the technology surrounding us all of the time and the “onDemand” feature available for individuals who are not attached to seeing movies when they first come out and want to wait to watch it in the comfort of their own home. By investing so much into this endeavor, AMC is starting a trend in the movie theater business and will now have to react.


  10. Rosedaly Rodriguez April 10, 2015 / 8:14 pm

    I think what AMC has done is very great idea, although many might see it as unnecessary, it does make sense they they would choose to make better quality seats because comfort is something people really look forward to while watching a movie. I as a customer would not mind at all to pay for better quality seats for just a dollar extra. I do think that it really does make the difference. I remember attending Chunky’s movie theaters and it was an experience i would never forget. They had chairs very similar to those of AMC they also had good quality food and a table where you could enjoy your meal and watch the movie. If this change doesn’t increase the amount of people going to the movies it still wouldn’t make much difference because they still have the frequent goers coming more frequently so their still making more money. I also like the idea of the app to reserve seats i think that creates a motivation for people to want to go because every one wants to get the best seats. This app i think will help boost the amount of people who actually attend the movies because people will compete to get the good qualities seats with the best position to watch they movie most comfortably.


  11. Blake Boudreau April 13, 2015 / 8:23 pm

    I believe that AMC has done a very nice job in their updates and ramifications to their movie theaters world wide. I feel as if this will make a big difference in their level of attendance. This is because I usually prefer to stay at my house and stream a movie online but now that AMC is offering these big comfy chairs I would actually enjoy going to the movies where I can be comfy and enjoy myself. Also, I believe that other companies will soon have to make the same change as AMC to be able to compete with them considering they have the first mover advantage, this will benefit them in the future.


  12. Mackenzie Kilmartin April 16, 2015 / 5:05 pm

    I think that this certain renovation of movie theaters is an excellent way to bring in more customers and more money. AMC is giving viewers more comfort and more reason to go out on a Friday or Saturday night to see the newest Blockbuster. The fact that these new theater layouts have increased movie attendance by 80% means that this is a good business decision by AMC and the theaters that endorse them. I certainly would invest for the comfort of a reclining La-Z-boy and a good movie.


  13. Lindsey Fratus April 21, 2015 / 9:18 pm

    I think AMC has made a smart move in investing money to renovate the seating in their theaters. At Showcase Cinemas people are paying $11 per a ticket to sit in a stiff chair and fight for an arm rest for an hour and a half (sometimes even longer). If they had AMC theaters in Rhode Island it would be somewhere i would definitely go to see a movie, even if it meant that i had to pay a little extra. I think it is important for AMC to make their customers feel comfortable. I think the renovations will attract move movie goers to their theater and have people coming back for the experience again.


  14. Michael Scuderi April 21, 2015 / 10:29 pm

    This AMC style theaters is going to be the new theater experience seeing how now a days you can pretty much access and movie that you want unless it is still in theater. but even when movies are just released most people will wait for them to be on Netflix tell they watch it. but AMC brings a whole new and exciting feel to going to the movies. instead of a crowed cold movie theater you have a nice chair and food at your command this is what people are going to want. People will want this just because its a more pleasurable movie experience and that what people want when they pay for a night out to the movies.


  15. Patrick Saunders April 23, 2015 / 10:56 pm

    I believe that renovations like this are a great idea, but in reality seem more like desperate efforts to win back audiences. Throughout high school i had always gone to movies with friends but as we grew older so did the theaters. We would notice less and less people each and every time we went. We also noticed the ridiculous prices such a $14 (primetime) ticket and $8.50 bag of popcorn along with a $4.50 pepsi. Thats a total of $27 just to watch a movie and enjoy some food and a drink with friends. I personally think that it has gotten out of hand when you could just wait a little while to see it at home or online. I do think that people will enjoy the new seat renovations and maybe that will gain more attention. When it comes down to it its a just a movie theatre, those seats will eventually get dirty, and i feel that people will think back to how much money they are blowing on the “experience” and change their minds rather quickly.


  16. Keelyn Crowe April 27, 2015 / 8:37 pm

    I think this a great idea! They did this to one of the theaters near where I live and people in my town were so excited and stopped going to the one we usually went just because the seats were a lot nicer and the experience was better. People were willing to travel farther for nicer seats so I do think your comfort does matter. One of the down sides to seeing a movie is the fact that you have to sit for two straight Hours without getting up because you don’t want to miss anything. So after you pay about 10 or more dollars for a movie ticket people deserve a comfortable experience and it makes the qualify of the theatre go up as well. For most people it’s all about comfort so I think AMC went in the right direction.


  17. Ryan Etter April 27, 2015 / 9:18 pm

    I think this was one of the best things AMC has done. As a big movie fan, id much rather have a lazy boy chair than a typical movie seat. It reminds me of a Chunkys and especially during a long movie you can just kick it with adjustable seats and for just 10 more dollars thats stealing.


  18. Billy Muldoon April 27, 2015 / 9:33 pm

    Being a large movie fan myself, one of my favorite parts about seeing a movie in theaters is how comfortable I am going to be in the seat. Where I live, a large Regal Cinemas redesigned their whole entire theater, and expanded it to add 5 new screening rooms, with two being large RPX/ 3D Cinemas. They also redesigned their seating by installing reclining seats with adjustable head-rests. By them doing this, their sales increased tremendously within the first year of it’s reopening, causing them to be able to expand even more by offering in-theater dining. AMC is following in the same footsteps by changing their seating. If they are as successful as this single movie theater, they are guaranteed to see fantastic results.


  19. Lauren Moran April 28, 2015 / 2:52 am

    Stepping up their game is definitely going to attract more customers to AMC. If the seats are more comfortable, people are going to enjoy their experience more and will be more likely to recommend and go back. If the bathroom and lobby are clean then people will think higher of the place. Also, buying better food will be good for the company because then people will buy food at AMC rather than eating before or after their movie. Although they will be eliminating seating for more customers, as Jackie said, its about the quality of the experience, not the amount of people. If it is so great then it will be willing to wait for a later time.


  20. Patrick Lynch April 28, 2015 / 5:18 am

    This is a great idea for AMC, because whenever you go to a movie theater and buy the 8 dollar popcorn and 10 dollar movie ticket and sit in a boring old movie theater, you feel like you got ripped off. With AMC’s idea of making it comfortable and still affordable like other movie theaters and having a sense of getting something out of you visit, it feels great. I think was a risky proposition, because they had to cut down seats in their theater, but they increased their sale on tickets and more people are coming due to the experience which I think is great and I hope more theaters start to step up their game like AMC.


  21. mcdonaldb2013 April 28, 2015 / 1:52 pm

    Changing the experience for consumers is very smart of AMC. With everyone relying on things like netflix, movie theatres are becoming obselete so the only way to compete is to make the in theatre experience more appealing than laying in your comfy bed. By making it something people talk and post about, They are totally keeping themselves afloat.


  22. Ryan Zdanwich April 29, 2015 / 1:49 am

    I think that this is a great approach to gain back its customers due to the fact that cheap movie streaming has become dominant in the movie industry. Why would one travel to the movie theatre and spend $12 and also sit in uncomfortable seating when they can be in the comfort of their own homes? Now that they are improving the comfort of the chairs, it will make the movie experience more enjoyable to gain back its customers.


  23. John Parrish April 29, 2015 / 6:16 pm

    This seems like an excellent idea for AMC. Every time I go to an AMC theatre it is never filled up with an excess of empty seats. By removing those and installing the large and comfy seats will not only enhance the experience, but it will also drive people to want to come into the theatre more. They will have to hold less people in total, but this definitely seems to be a great idea to increase profit.


  24. David Collins May 6, 2015 / 1:41 am

    I hadn’t gone to a movie in about 2 years before I went last month. I had no idea about the changes in seating until I walked in, and it was awesome. I think the marketing plan behind this is genius. The moving going audience isn’t going to grow, not with Netflix, LCD TVs and Lazy Boys at home. However, as you point out, improving the experience will go a long way in getting the people to come more often. One perk that wasn’t mentioned in the blog, is that I can also buy a couple beers for my seat too. It has become the same comfort at home, with just a bigger TV, the feeling of productivity in actually going out, and some nostalgia.


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