AMC to Launch Open Captions Making Movie Theaters More Accessible

NBC 7 Responds looked at how adding captions in movie theaters are making them more accessible

NBC Universal, Inc.

Many of us are used to seeing captions on TV or while watching movies at home, but they are not common in movie theaters. Now, AMC is changing that so that people who rely on captions can enjoy more movies.

"It's about time they have this," said Cindy Farnaday. "It makes a huge difference."

Farnaday lost her hearing when she was young and lives in Del Mar with her husband Mike, who is also deaf. When they went to the movies they would have to go to the few showings with captions, wear special glasses, or read off a separate device at their seat.

"I'd be sitting watching the movie and the batteries die," said Farnaday. "I had to walk out, leave the movie, then they'd get me another device and I'd miss some of the movie."

AMC is rolling out open caption showings at 240 theaters around the country. A spokesman told NBC 7 there would be a mix of showtimes offered for all new movie releases.

At an open caption showing of the Eternals on opening night, we spoke to San Diegans about what they thought about captions in theaters.

"With all the effects going on it's sometimes easier to read what they say," said Sam Ingles. "There are movies where they mumble or have deep accents and it's easier to read what's going on."

A few people thought it might be a distraction, but many were supportive of open captioning. Those in favor of the program said they often used captions while watching TV or movies at home.

"I'm hoping with time it will change," said Farnaday. "That more people will accept captioning. You can just ignore if you want to watch them or not."

Farnaday said she thought the program would help others who aren't deaf but still have trouble following along.

"I think it's a benefit for hearing people as well," said Farnaday. "Maybe they missed something or have some hearing problems. They have a chance to look at the captioning just like me."

The AMC program is limited to only a few theaters in San Diego county including Fashion Valley and Otay Ranch. Showings with open captioning can be found on each theater's webpage.

"If something is really cool, like Star Wars, everyone wants to go and see it," said Farnaday. "I want to go to."

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