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The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) makes it clear that movie theaters are a place of public accommodation and should provide the accommodations needed by people with disabilities, including people with hearing loss. Theaters are required to provide assistive listening devices and have worked to comply with that regulation for many years. However, until recently theater owners have successfully contended they were not required to provide captioned movies.

In April, 2010, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the Americans with Disabilities Act does require movie theaters to show closed-captioned movies unless doing so would constitute an "undue burden." Then in July, 2010, the US Department of Justice (DOJ) released an Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that made it clear closed captioning of movies would be considered a reasonable accommodation. At the same time, theaters had begun the process of installing digital movie systems. With the installation of digital technology, providing closed captioning in the theater becomes more affordable as well as technically achievable. We expect to see more and more captioning of movies as digital technology is rolled out in theaters across the country.

HLAA Applauds Illinois Attorney General’s Settlement with AMC on Movie Captioning

Apr 5 2012

Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan announced in Chicago on April 4, 2012 a “landmark settlement with Illinois’ largest movie theater operator that will provide unprecedented access for people with hearing and vision disabilities.”

Madigan said the settlement with AMC Theaters will provide personal captioning services and audio-description technology in all of its theaters and its 460 movie screens in Illinois.

More Movie Captioning Available in California

Jan 17 2012

Press Release, Association of Late-Deafened Adults 12/20/11

Kansas City, Mo. - AMC Theatres® (AMC) today announced it will install personal captioning systems for its guests who are deaf or have significant hearing loss. The captioning systems will be installed in California, and across its national circuit, on a rolling basis, in conjunction with AMC's national conversion to digital cinema. AMC will offer closed captioning for 127 screens in California by mid-2012, and projects that number to grow to over 500 screens by late 2013.

Closed Captioning in Movie Theaters

Jul 26 2011

According to a recent posting on Hearing Loss Law/Washington State Communication Access Project (Wash-CAP):

“Washington's Law against Discrimination requires movie theaters to install equipment to show closed captions, according to a ruling issued [July 22, 2011] by a King County Superior Court judge. AMC, America's second-largest theater chain, will therefore be required to install captioning equipment once it converts its theaters to digital projection.”

Regal Entertainment Announces New Access Solutions for Moviegoers

May 17 2011

KNOXVILLE, Tenn., May 04, 2011

Regal Entertainment Group (NYSE: RGC), a leading motion picture exhibitor owning and operating the largest theatre circuit in the United States, today announced plans to equip all digital cinema locations with personal captioning and descriptive video technologies.

HLAA Applauds Cinemark’s Roll Out of Closed Captioning in California

May 3 2011

Cinemark Holdings, one of the largest motion picture exhibitors, has agreed to roll out closed captioning technology in every auditorium of their first run theaters in California by June 2012. Half of Cinemark’s theaters in California already have captioning capability.

HLAA Sends Comments to DOJ on Movie Captioning

Jan 25 2011

Thank You for Supporting Movie Captioning!
Back in December, 2010, HLAA asked you to provide comments for the US Department of Justice (DOJ) review of movie captioning regulations. You did it! Over 950 Comments were filed in that proceeding – many coming from members and constituents of HLAA. Thank you for your terrific response to our Action Alert!

Hot News on Captioned Movies

May 17 2010

By Cheryl Heppner, 5/10/10

On May 7, 2010, the Media Bureau of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) released a Memorandum Opinion and Order which could greatly improve access to movie downloads for individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing.

Court Rules ADA Requires Closed-Captioned Movies

May 3 2010

In December, 2008, HLAA joined Washington State Communications Access Project (Wash CAP) and others in a "Friend of the Court" (amicus) brief for a movie captioning case that was filed in Arizona. In that amicus brief, we supported closed captioning in movie theaters as a form of accommodation that could be provided to people with hearing loss under the ADA.

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled April 30, 2010 that the ADA can require movie theaters to exhibit closed-captioned movies.