AMC’s revamped policies shift UB Student Association's student ticket availability

Free movie tickets delayed until shipment arrives

amc

One dollar can make a huge difference. 

Since 2013, the Student Association has contracted with AMC Theatres in order to provide 2,500 free movie passes for students, which are released in the Student Union every Tuesday.

This year, AMC Theatres’ policies have changed.

Tickets will cost $9 instead of $8 – and the vouchers will not be valid for any Disney, Marvel or Lucasfilm release. It’s a new policy this year started by Disney Corporation, which owns all three studios, requiring any Disney Franchise film to be paid for with cash, not a voucher.

These changes caused an overhaul in SA’s free movie ticket Tuesdays and a possible delay in ticket distribution.

Normally, each Tuesday at 10 a.m. the first 200 students who visit Sub Board I, Inc. (SBI) ticket office on the second floor of the Student Union on North Campus and the first 20 students to visit the SBI office on South Campus, will receive a movie voucher for AMC.

This semester the AMC tickets were supposed to start being distributed to students starting Sept. 15.

The new ticket pricing, however, changes the amount of tickets that SA can purchase, which delayed SA’s decision to buy all the tickets immediately.

SA President Minahil Khan said the tickets, which are being shipped via mail, might not arrive to UB in time for the opening of the scheduled AMC ticket distribution on-campus.

“We are sending out a general email this week which will announce that AMC’s shipment of tickets will be late,” Khan said.

Normally, SA will spend $40,000 on these movie tickets each year.

SA has only spent $10,000 on tickets this year so far, Khan said, in order to gauge how students will react to the new AMC policies.

The AMC movie ticket vouchers were started in 2013 under former SA President Sam McMahon in response to the dwindling attendance for the previous film series, held indoors at the Student Union theatre.

Immediately, the AMC vouchers became a hit among the students.

Jonathan Puma, a senior health and human services major, and his girlfriend Jillian Connick, a senior psychology major, waited in line last year after class only to find out that tickets ran out three people before they reached the front of the line.

“People weren't standing in line. They used their backpacks as placeholders,” Puma said. “People would already start lining up ahead of time until the point where if you didn't get there at least 30-45 early, you were sh*t out of luck.”

Connick said that if you can’t get out of classes in time, waiting in line is just a waste of time because you probably won’t get a ticket.

Despite all this, hundreds of students return each Tuesday and form a line outside the SBI office – sometimes an hour before the ticket office even opens – just for a chance get one of the tickets.

And normally the tickets will be gone within the hour.

The immense popularity of the tickets has convinced SA that the decision to switch from the indoor movies on campus in 2013 to the AMC movie voucher system was a good idea.

Now, new policies threaten the relationship between AMC and SA.

SA Entertainment Coordinator Marc Rosenblitt said SA is looking into buying the vouchers from a different movie theater, perhaps Regal Cinemas.

Regardless, Rosenblitt said the current AMC voucher program will at least last throughout the year – to start “whenever the tickets arrive in the mail.”

The AMC vouchers, like SA, are funded by undergraduate students through the mandatory student activity fee of $104.75 per semester.

Brian Windschitl is the senior arts editor and can be reached at brian.windschitl@ubspectrum.com. Follow him on Twitter at @brn_wnd.