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Vengeance has a cost: AMC Theatres testing more expensive tickets for 'The Batman'

It's time to start dipping into your savings at Gotham National Bank.

By Josh Weiss

If you plan on seeing The Batman at an AMC Theaters location this weekend, be prepared to potentially pay a higher price than usual. During an earnings call Tuesday, CEO Adam Aron reportedly stated the North American chain will be charging "slightly higher than the prices… for other movies playing in the same theaters at the same time," writes Entertainment Weekly. For instance, a Los Angeles ticket for the Caped Crusader's latest big screen reboot (hailing from writer-director Matt Reeves) currently costs $1.50 more for adult customers when compared with a different movie at the same exact theater.

"This is all quite novel in the United States, but actually, AMC has been doing it for years in our European theaters," Aron said of this variable pricing experiment. "Indeed, in Europe, we charge a premium for the best seats in the house, as do just about all other sellers of tickets in other industries — think sports events, concerts, and live theater, for example."

As EW notes, this novel strategy on domestic shores represents an ever-changing theatrical landscape, particularly one still grappling with the savage financial beating of the COVID-19 pandemic. It's also not a huge surprise, given the fact that major chains have made it a regular policy of charging more for evening and weekend screenings for decades.

"The idea of dynamic pricing for movies (based on the size, scope, budget and desirability of a given film) has been kicked around for years, but was not widely accepted for a variety of reasons," Paul Dergarabedian, Senior Media Analyst at Comscore, tells SYFY WIRE. "The pandemic has accelerated the adoption of many new business models and practices, so it should come as no surprise that for a mega-blockbuster style movie like The Batman, theaters may choose to 'up-charge' for the premium moviegoing experience only an epic superhero film can give to audiences. Though some may bristle at the idea of putting a higher-priced 'value' on certain films over others,  it may not end up being such a bad deal after all, given the quality, desirability — and yes, long runtime — of The Batman."

"AMC has been a bold thinker in the area of pricing," Aron concluded. "One who is willing to take risk, and one who is willing to lead, and one who sees considerable upside opportunity for us ahead if we continue to be imaginative."

Audience members who purchased AMC tickets by the end of Feb. 14 for showings through March 6 are eligible to receive a limited edition NFT. “We are excited to fill AMC Theatres across the country this March with DC fans enjoying The Batman," the CEO said in a statement last month. "Rewarding early ticket purchasers with this limited edition The Batman NFT will deliver fans more of the franchise they love.”

According to early estimates, The Batman could close out its opening weekend with a massive $100 - $125 million at the global box office. Of course, it'll be interesting to see if that number ends up affected by Warner Bros.' decision to indefinitely pause the film's rollout in Russia, which is currently in the midst of fighting an unprovoked war against Ukraine.

The Batman swoops into theaters everywhere this Friday — March 4. Tickets are now on sale from vendors like Fandango. Click here to see what critics are saying. As of this writing, the film holds an 86 percent on Rotten Tomatoes, making it the website's fourth-highest ranked Batman title after The Dark Knight (94 percent), The LEGO Batman Movie (90 percent), and The Dark Knight Rises (87 percent).