CHICAGO—Going to the movies in Illinois will soon become much more enjoyable for people with hearing loss. That’s because the AMC movie chain, Illinois’s largest, has reached an agreement with the attorney-general’s office to install closed captioning in all 246 of its movie theaters in the state. AMC, which is based in Kansas City, MO, will also provide audio-description services in Illinois theaters to help patrons who have vision impairments.
The settlement, announced today (April 4) by Attorney General Lisa Madigan, followed lengthy negotiations between her office and AMC. The issue was originally raised two years ago by Equip for Equality, an advocacy group. It complained to the AG’s office that very few of AMC’s theaters offered the assistive technology. What’s more, when they did so, it was only for selected movies and showings.
At the time, fewer than 10% of the AMC movie houses in the state had captioning. This, the advocacy group maintained, meant that the company was failing to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act provision intended to ensure access for people with hearing and vision loss.
While not filing suit against AMC, the AG’s office apparently got its message through. A company spokesman announced that about half of its Illinois theaters will have the captioning and audio-description technology by the end of this year, and the rest will get it by 2014.
In her announcement, Madigan said, “This technology will allow people with disabilities to enjoy a movie right alongside their friends and families unlike ever before.”