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AMC Theatres will add open captions at 240 U.S. locations

The change will improve viewing experiences for people with loss of hearing and anyone who may not use English as a first language.
Credit: Adobe Stock

GALESBURG, Ill. — AMC Theatre in Galesburg is one of 240 locations that will provide on-screen captions for certain movie showings.

AMC, the world's largest movie theater chain with approximately 950 theaters and 10,500 screens across the globe, made the announcement Oct. 15 and said its proud to lead the way in the industry by enhancing viewing experiences for anyone who might need it. 

"By adding open captions to the variety of presentation formats we offer, AMC locations become a more welcoming place for millions of Americans who are deaf or hard of hearing, as well as many for whom English is not their native language,” Elizabeth Frank, AMC's chief content officer and executive vice president of worldwide programming, said in a statement. 

Guests can find clearly marked caption showtimes on AMCTHeatres.com and the AMC mobile app. Additional assisted listening devices will also be available at all AMC locations nationwide.

AMC said its excited to offer open captioning options for guests, but "the vast majority of showtimes at AMC will continue to be offered with closed captioning."

Open captions appear on the screen and cannot be turned off, whereas closed captioning is shown on electronic devices that guests must ask for. The open caption showings will be available for all new releases in AMC markets with at least two theaters.

Disney's "Eternals" will be one of the most anticipated releases of the year and opens in theaters on Nov. 5. It also features deaf actor Lauren Ridloff, who will be Marvel Cinematic Universe's first deaf superhero.

In an interview with The New York TimesRidloff explained the challenges deaf people may experience in movie theaters. 

"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," Ridloff said. "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."

According to NPR, disability rights advocates have long fought for more accessibility in movie theaters, with features like better audio dubbing and closed-captioning technology for smartphones.

In a tweet, Paralympian Chuck Aoki called the change from AMC an, "absolutely phenomenal move." 

Locations offering open caption showtimes can be found here.