240 U.S. AMC Theaters Will Begin Adding Onscreen Captions

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If you have hearing loss, you probably don’t love going to the movies. What’s the point in watching a movie if you can’t hear or can barely hear what’s going on?

To make movie viewing more accessible, AMC Theaters has begun adding onscreen or open captions to certain viewings.

The change is occurring in 240 of its locations in more than 100 U.S. markets, and was implemented in October. The change will not only help people with hearing loss, but people who don’t speak English as their first language. Plus, it never hurts even someone who can hear fine and speak well to be able to confirm what’s going on!

“Inclusive programming is core to AMC’s strategy, and we’re proud to lead the theatrical exhibition industry by making some open caption showtimes available at hundreds of our locations nationwide,” said Elizabeth Frank, AMC’s chief content officer and executive vice president of worldwide programming.

Open captions are basically subtitles—they will appear on the screen as the movie is gong on. The difference between that and closed captioning is that closed captioning must be requested and you need your own device.

“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,” says deaf actress Lauren Ridlof, who plays Marvel Cinematic Universe’s first deaf superhero is Disney’s Eternals. “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.”

For the majority of AMC’s, closed captioning will still be an option even while open captions debut.

AMCs with at least two theaters in their market will make onscreen captions available each week for new releases. The new feature will also be offered through AMC’s private theater rentals program in select locations.

As of right now, you can choose your open caption show time on AMC’s website or app. While they’re only available during certain times and days right now, AMC says they’ll begin to incorporate feedback as more moviegoers experience the new feature.

“Initial consumer response has been very positive, and we anticipate strong demand with growing awareness of open caption showtimes at AMC,” Frank said.

What do you think about having open captions in movie theaters now? Do you know someone who’d be able to benefit from this?