Thursday, July 26, 2012

Movie Seats

Yesterday I went to the movies to see the Dark Knight Rises. At the ticket desk I had a weird dilema; in England you buy assigned seats in the movie theater, not just tickets. In order to sit with your friends, you must make sure you all buy seats together. For an extra 1.60, you can upgrade to premium seats, which look a bit more comfortable than the regular priced seats. The premium seats are positioned for most optimal screen viewing. I understand the principle of buying preassigned seats; often groups of people sit with gaps in between them in order to avoid sitting next to strangers, making it difficult to find seating in very full theaters, like one would expect to encounter in the early days of the release of the Dark Knight Rises. Yet it was weird having to sit right next to a stranger when there were plenty of open seats that had not been purchased in the movie theater. 

I found the phenomenon of buying assigned seats in a movie theater very interesting because I have never encountered this in America before. However, I have only ever been to movie theaters in Alabama and Georgia. Has anyone experienced this in America? Would you pay extra to make sure you got a premium seat in America?


  1. I’m not sure this is just a cultural thing or a great business decision. Movie theatres often don’t make much money, because ticket sales usually go directly to the movie companies. That is why the prices at the concession stand are so high. This idea of seat assignment is so genius because they know there is an audience out there willing to pay the extra 1.60 quid to get the best seats. But for the rest of us poor college students, it’s unfair. It does not take more money to maintain those seats and the people sitting there probably have a similar movie experience as the cheap seats, so why charge extra? Simply to make more money.

  2. I've never quite seen assigned seating like this in the States, but I have seen "premium" seats. I am 95% sure that the Sea Turtle Cinema in Hilton Head, South Carolina has the option to purchase an upgraded seat. Another example is the theatres that have, I guess you'd call them "premium screens," where you are presented with a full service restaurant inside the screening area. The tickets to these screens obviously cost more.
    I think I would pay more to have a little more leg room and a bigger cushion. . . but I only go to the movies about twice a year, and those are on dates (I know, I know. . .two dates a year is embarrassing), so I don't think this upgraded seating option will affect my movie choices that much.