Listen now (9 mins) | Price competition leads, invariably, to less, not more. Whatever AMC and Regal are trying with The Batman will not change the market overall. I can see their mindset. We have already seen in the wake of COVID that people who are going to the movies are willing to pay more to see movies on premium screens rather than basic digital screens. And I believe that we will see a wave of conversions to premium screens in traditional brick & mortar spaces in the next year or three.
The irony about this for us in Metro Detroit is that AMC is by far the worst theater chain in the area. While they were starting to make improvements before COVID, they were known as having the worst seats, the most expensive treats, and the worst overall experience. In our area, there are two local chains that are far better and less expensive, and this decision (if people pay attention, which I can't be sure they will) may drive them to the other theaters.
What's more frustrating are smaller markets, like my wife's hometown, where AMC is the only game in town for roughly an hour's drive. It may be the smaller markets, where there are no other options, that this will be most felt and create the most disharmony.