In an attempt to become more accessible, AMC Theatres has added on-screen captions at many of its locations. Earlier this month, the chain made the announcement which has already gone into effect. This is specifically for those whose first language isn’t English or who have hearing impairments.
240 AMC locations, 100 of which are in U.S. markets, will now have on-screen captions for certain showings (NPR). This will mark a change from closed-captioning, which has been used in the past. The difference is that open captions are similar to subtitles in that they appear on screen. Customers must request electronic devices to see the closed captioning displayed. Most of the shows will continue to offer closed captioning, which will be available at all locations.
In a statement from AMC, Elizabeth Frank, the CCO and VP of Worldwide Programming said, “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.”
Disability rights advocates have been pushing for more accessibility for a long time, marking this as a win for the community. This comes as a new Disney movie comes out depicting a deaf superhero portrayed by deaf actress Lauren Ridloff. AMC’s CEO, Adam Aron tweeted that the move came “just in time” for the movie, called Eternals, which is set to premiere November 5.
AMC has received accolades for this move, as it makes the moviegoing experience easier for a large part of the population. American Paralympian Chuck Aoki tweeted praise for the move, saying, “Captions aren’t harmful to the experience, but help millions enjoy the movie more. Well done!” A professor and director of the Technology Access Program at Gallaudet University in D.C., Christian Vogler, told The Washington Post that deaf and hard of hearing advocates “have been asking for expanded access to open captions since forever.”