AMC Adds Captions So Deaf People Aren't 'an Afterthought'

Open captioning will be offered at 240 AMC locations
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 22, 2021 4:55 PM CDT
AMC Adds Captions So Deaf People Aren't 'an Afterthought'
The captions appear on the screen like subtitles.   (Getty/igoriss)

Captions are being added to movie screens across the country, making the theaters more welcoming to people who are hard of hearing, as well as those for whom English is a second language. AMC Theatres announced that 240 of its locations are offering open captioning, NPR reports. Closed captioning, which already was available in many places, is displayed on electronic devices that customers can request at the theater. The change affects open captioning, which appears on the screen for all and can't be turned off.

Lauren Ridloff, who plays Marvel Cinematic Universe's first deaf superhero in a film coming out next month, talked about the issue in August. Deaf moviegoers often are considered as an afterthought, she said, without adequate accommodations provided for them. "You have to use a special closed-captioning device to watch subtitling in a theater, and it's a headache, because most of the time the devices don't work," she said, per the New York Times. "Then you have to go back to the front desk and find somebody to help, and by the time they figure it out that it's not working—that it's not going to be subtitled at all—the movie's halfway done."

Although most screenings still will have only closed captioning available, every market with at least two AMC theaters will offer open captioning at certain showtimes for all new releases, the company said. Those showings are being listed on AMC's website and app. Some theaters also will make open captions available for theater rentals. Chuck Aoki, a US Paralympian, cheered the change in a tweet. "Captions aren't harmful to the experience, but help millions enjoy the movie more," Aoki posted. (Read more movie theaters stories.)

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