Like Sitting in the Middle of the Movie Theater? That’s Gonna Cost You Extra Now
Movie theaters tickets have gotten steadily more expensive over the years, but this takes the proverbial cake: a Canadian theater chain has announced a new program where moviegoers will have to pay a surcharge to sit in the middle seats of each row. You'll soon have to pay an additional $2-$3 to sit in the "prime" seats, ensuring that you'll have the (supposed) best view of the screen and that you'll be isolated from all of the riffraff in the cheap seats.
The news comes via The Star, who report that Cinepex Odeon, has already had plenty of success gouging its audiences for "UltraAVX" and "VIP" experiences and is testing the new pricing structure at their flagship theater in Toronto. In a quote that will surely bring up no bad feelings or resurrect any negative experiences whatsoever, the theater's spokesman compared the new system to air travel:
It’s really about providing our guests with choices when they go to the movies . . . I sort of position it akin to an aircraft where you have your regular coach seating, then you might want a bit more amenities, so you go into business class, and then you have a first-class.
Because nothing screams "kick back and enjoy a movie!" quite like, "it's like riding coach on an airplane!"
This is a stupid plan and we'll tell you why. First of all, this is based on the idea that the middle of each row is automatically the best and most preferred spot, which isn't always true. Second, this kind of a additional surcharge is only going to drive people away from the movie theaters and into their living rooms. Theaters need to find ways to make the moviegoing experience relaxing, approachable and unique. People are already burnt by high concession cost, 3D surcharges and noisy crowds. Demanding additional dollars for "better" seats is, scientifically speaking, a stinky idea that's really dumb and stuff.
The Alamo Drafthouse theater chain currently uses a system where all seating is assigned at the time of ticket purchase, letting people reserve their favorite seat as long as they select if first (either online or in person). That's the kind of forward-thinking that's going to save movie theaters -- just tacking on a few extra bucks for the same old seat feels antiquated. We love seeing movies in theaters, but someone has to save movie theaters from themselves. This is only one theater, but man, this is the kind of awful idea that could catch on.