A settlement has been reached between the Illinois attorney general and one of the nation’s largest movie theater operators that will benefit those with sight and sound disabilities. Kansas City-based AMC Theaters has agreed to begin providing personal captioning services and audio description technology for moviegoers with hearing and vision disabilities at all of its theaters and its 460 movie screens in Illinois. Half will be fitted with the technology by the end of this year and all will have the technology by 2014.
Prior to the agreement, Attorney General Lisa Madigan says only 21 out of 246 movie theaters in Illinois offered closed captioning services and only 10 offered audio description services. “This technology will allow people with disabilities to enjoy a movie right alongside their friends and families unlike ever before,” Madigan said at an AMC theater in Chicago. The settlement came after concerns were brought to Madigan in 2010 by Equip for Equality, an advocacy group for people with disabilities in Illinois. Madigan says the settlement was reached outside of court and she hopes other theaters across the state will follow AMC’s example. Madigan first targeted AMC because it is the largest movie theater company in Illinois. Although the AMC will have the captioning and audio description devices in their theaters, AMC vice president of operations Noel MacDonald says not all motion pictures offer the digital information necessary to offer the services. He says as the use of digital production increases, in the future more films should include the information.