Despite guidance for social distancing, AMC Theaters currently allows patrons to purchase seats next to strangers on their app or website.
While rows are spaced out between one another, the chain’s software currently does not prohibit anyone from buying a ticket next to a seat previously selected by someone else.
You are still able to select and reserve a seat directly beside a seat that was already purchased in the AMC app. I guess it’s just a “recommendation” that you leave a seat empty and not something the system is going to force you do to. from r/AMCsAList
When attempting to purchase a ticket, a pop-up appears on the AMC website asking users to “please leave an empty seat between occupied seats and your seat selection.” However, there is no technological barrier to purchasing a seat immediately next to a previously occupied seat.
In a test, Rerelease News was able to successfully purchase a seat next to a previously occupied one.
The company’s trademarked “Safe & Clean” initiative tells patrons to “remember to maintain distance before, during and after the movie” and “please leave an empty seat between yourself and other guests”. It is unclear how this will be enforced.
Select AMCs are set to reopen on August 20 with a slate of rereleases, which include titles such as “The Empire Strikes Back”, “The Goonies”, “Back to the Future”, “Grease” and others. Tickets for those titles are $0.15 for shows on the first day of reopening and $5 for future ones.
One show in a Georgia AMC for “The Empire Strikes Back” has already been sold out.
AMC Theaters did not respond to a request for comment.
UPDATE: AMC has told Variety that it plans to implement technology to prevent ticket sales between two reserved parties. Variety has dubbed our story a “mistaken assumption”, which itself is a mistaken assumption. There was nothing false about AMC allowing seats next to strangers to be sold to patrons and it remains unclear whether such sales will be refunded. AMC also never responded to our request for comment.