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The Wall Street Journal: AMC and other theaters introduce ‘variable pricing’ for tickets to ‘The Batman’

Holy higher prices, Batman.

Moviegoers heading to the new Warner Bros. film “The Batman” this weekend can expect to pay $1 to a few bucks more to see it, after exhibitors introduced a premium pricing model executives have long shunned.

Ticket buyers at one AMC Entertainment Holdings Inc.
AMC,
+1.15%

  location in Chicago, for instance, can expect to pay $1 more to see “The Batman” on Saturday night than those heading to the two-week-old “Uncharted.” And a Saturday night screening of the film at a Cinemark
CNK,
+1.75%

 location in Piqua, Ohio, is currently priced $2 higher than one for “Dog,” according to the chain’s website.

AMC Chief Executive Adam Aron, describing the strategy shift on an earnings call Tuesday, characterized the prices for “The Batman” as “slightly higher” than other films. Theater chains are counting on “The Batman” to deliver blockbuster returns in a fallow year thus far.

The difference in ticket costs may be slight, but represents a significant change to how American movie theaters have traditionally operated. Variable pricing—charging more for in-demand products or during busy times—has become a mainstay in the airline, hospitality and theme-park industries. But movie theaters and Hollywood studios have resisted the change, with executives saying they worried it would give consumers the impression that some movies were worthier options than others.

An expanded version of this report appears on WSJ.com.

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