Disabled to get access to Illinois movie theaters

April 4, 2012

The Associated Press

CHICAGO — Hundreds of movie screens in Illinois will be equipped with technology to help residents with hearing and vision disabilities under a settlement announced Wednesday by Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan.

As part of the settlement, Kansas City, Mo.-based AMC Theatres will provide personal captioning services and audio-description technology at all of its Illinois movie theaters, which include 460 movie screens. The services will be available by 2014 at nearly all theaters and at all listed showings.

Before the settlement, 21 of the 246 movie theaters in Illinois offered closed captioning and 10 offered audio description.

"This technology will allow people with disabilities to enjoy a movie right alongside their friends and families unlike ever before," Madigan said in a statement.

The settlement is the result of concerns brought to Madigan's office by Equip for Equality, the federally funded agency that acts as an advocate for disabled residents in Illinois.

"Under the agreement, people who are deaf, hard of hearing and blind will now be able to fully enjoy going to the movies, like all other citizens of Illinois," said Amy Peterson, senior attorney for Equip for Equality.

AMC has worked with suppliers over the past several years to develop needed technology, said Noel MacDonald, an AMC Theatres vice president.

"We're excited that this technology allows everyone to join us at an AMC theatre," MacDonald said.