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AMC Theaters


AMC had recently undergone a brand refresh and was seeking to improve their guest experience. Their biggest focus was on the ticketing ecosystem—the process through which people considered what movie to see through to being a guest on an AMC property sitting in their seat watching a film. Our work began in late 2012 when AMC was still issuing printed tickets. They were seeking to digitize the experience, but a key challenge was the necessary infrastructure throughout their network of a few thousand theaters, and we needed to create a vision for the future but to then have solutions that addressed immediate needs, and helped AMC migrate guests to prioritize the digital channel options as they were implemented.


We wanted to bring excitement and ceremony back to the experience of movie-going, and looked to transform the transactional nature of acquiring tickets into both a human and efficient one. Our team worked with AMC to explore the future of theater ticket acquisition. We set out to design a new experience today that would realize the experience of tomorrow and the transition from paper to digital.


We set some early goals, based on the objectives of AMC’s new brand and experience strategy, which was to greatly simplify and humanize the interaction. Our design team began exploring the boundaries of how simple or minimal the hardware condition could be, as well as ways to better personalize the hardware and immediate architecture. As a happy accident, the Museum of Arts and Design in New York City had recently held a fragrance exhibition, The Art of Scent, designed by Diller, Scofidio + Renfro, with a beautifully simple and organic architecture that included a fragrance card dispenser. This exhibit offered the precedence of how an organic relationship between person and hardware could be created.

Our design team also researched common greeting gestures—and specifically, the etiquette of exchanging of business cards in Asian cultures—as examples of everyday, person-to-person transactions. This research was distilled into a creative brief that informed the design explorations. The team explored numerous iterations, from absolute simplicity to more complex mechanisms. The NCR design team was consulted during the process to ensure the existing hardware could be adapted, and if necessary, reengineered, to the new forms. The continual assessment of the service engagement and choreography was integral to these new forms, and numerous rapid-prototyped models were built to test relationships, ergonomics, and processes, as well as address maintenance and replenishment issues. 

We eventually refined the studies into a new system consisting of three self-service hardware solutions, ranging from the novice (paying with cash) to the expert (pre-purchasing tickets and printing tickets in-store). The system included a new hardware array, as well as redesigned experience and service choreographies to handle queues and increase self-service adoption.


We created a new vision for the AMC Theaters guest experience that was fully digitized and employed a range of new guest engagement and interactive ideas. We then worked our way back to the conditions of today and built a roadmap between the two. The new experience playbook ranged from the visionary possibilities of tomorrow, to the practical and easy wins they could implement immediately, as well as the necessary intelligence to help them continually assess progress and what & how to implement. 

Client: AMC Theaters
Industry: Entertainment
Partner: NCR
Services Provided:
  • Experience Audit & Workshops
  • Customer Experience Strategy & Design
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