AMC Theater Chain Spending $600M to Add Fully Reclining Seats

2:08 PM PST 07/07/2014 by Kimberly Nordyke
Eric Charbonneau/Invision for Open Road Films/AP Images
Gerry Lopez

Between 50 percent and 70 percent of seats in a given theater will be removed to make room for the larger chairs.

AMC Entertainment Holdings is spending $600 million to remodel its theaters with larger, fully reclining seats.

AMC, which is the nation's second-largest theater chain, plans to install "La-Z-Boy-type seats" that fully recline in its theaters, according to the Wall Street Journal. The new seats will be 60 inches wide vs. the current 44 inches.

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As a result, between 50 percent and 70 percent of seats in a given theater will be removed to make room for the larger chairs. AMC estimates that the renovations will cost between $350,000 and $500,000 per theater, with 1,800 of its nearly 5,000 auditoriums targeted for the upgrades, which will be carried out over the next five years.

According to AMC, attendance in the theaters that have already been updated has jumped an average of 80 percent, despite having fewer seats, although the exhibitor declined to give any further breakdown.

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AMC CEO Gerry Lopez said the jump is partially due to the full dine-in capabilities offered in some of the renovated theaters.

Meanwhile, tickets for the renovated theaters are expected to cost between $1 and $2 more than the traditional theaters after a one-year grace period.

Domestic movie attendance has stayed relatively flat over the past decade. The number of tickets sold in the U.S. declined by 1.5 percent from 2012 to 2013, according to MPAA data.

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