Theaters sued for not providing captioned Films

posted by HowardBHaas on February 20, 2009 at 3:45 pm

Some Washington state residents are fighting back after theaters fail to provide captioned films.

For most cinema buffs, silent movies went out with the Coolidge administration eight decades ago.

But for film fans who are hard of hearing, today’s theaters offer little beyond an indecipherable silence. Captioned showings remain rare, and existing technology that would allow attendees to read along at their seats is rarely used.

Now, a small group of Washington residents hopes to change that through a lawsuit filed earlier this month in King County Superior Court.

Read the full story in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer.

Comments (4)

KenLayton on February 20, 2009 at 6:42 pm

All of the Regal Cinemas have that expensive “captioning” system. However, not all movies are available with the captioning. Plus the fact that many times no one shows up to the captioned showings.

Don’t forget the small independent theaters are already overburdoned with expenses like a very high minimum wage so they cannot afford these systems.

markp on February 23, 2009 at 1:55 pm

You are right Ken. The independant theatre owner I work for had to put out a boat load of money for the hearing inpaired system (10 screens) and in the 5+ years I’ve worked there, I can recall about maybe 10 people requsting it. Do the math, that’s 2 people a year. A most expensive outlay. Now he is faced with putting in at least one digital projector, so as to keep up with everyone else.

Giles on February 23, 2009 at 4:29 pm

personally I think people should sue the video companies that don’t add Closed Captioning on DVD’s

RobinW on February 23, 2009 at 11:09 pm


I am a profoundly deaf woman and I really love movies. I would really love to go to the theatres more often because I enjoy it. I agree with Ken Layton above. That captioning system is very expensive. It would be better to use hand-held captioning devices, which I have seen and used. A theater could maybe purchase 10 or 20 of them and have them on hand for a deaf customer to use.

As for Giles comment, most TVs have closed captioning. If the DVD does not have it, the TV set can usually be muted and the CCs will appear. I have watched many movies this way. Unfortunately, my husband has hearing and then he has to watch a silent movie!

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