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Luxury seats coming to an AMC theater near you

As movie ticket sales continue to decline, AMC has found a new way to attract moviegoers to its theaters.

The second largest movie chain plans to spend about $600 million to add luxury reclinable seats to 40 percent of theaters over the next five years. While this could mean up to 70 fewer seats per screen, AMC has seen an 80 percent increase in crowds at theaters that have undergone renovation. Wesley Morris, a staff writer for Grantland, says AMC hasn't raised the prices on these tickets yet.

"But they put a premium on that kind of movie going. You see it where the nicer theaters become this exclusive event. So they’ve all gone out to the suburbs… and so you got a whole class of movie goers that are stuck downtown with the crappy bedbug seats."

AMC plans to wait a year after revamping its theaters before increasing ticket prices. The average ticket price has been becoming more expensive every year, and with the added fee for luxury seats, it raises the question of who can actually afford these tickets.

“You can never get AMC to obviously sort of say, ‘Oh, well clearly we’ve got an upper class customer.’ But I think they would say that we are trying to appeal to an upper-echelon.” 

About the author

Kai Ryssdal is the host and senior editor of Marketplace, public radio’s program on business and the economy.

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