Deaf News: Movie Theaters Strike Again!

Movie Theaters and Closed Captioning… Again!


Sean Forbes and friends finally watch Mary Poppins at an Emagine Theater, with Open Captions.

         You see the latest commercials for Aquaman and arrange a nice night out; a good movie, some overpriced popcorn, and maybe even recliner seats if your theater is cool enough. You buy your tickets, wait ten minutes for your CaptionView stick (because only one random manager knows how to set them up), wait in line for your snacks and patiently watch all of those previews. You get excited as the camera pans in and the movie finally begins… but wait! Why aren’t there any captions on the little prompter thing? You try and restart it and it’s just not working. Customer service should then get you a new CaptionView, right? Nope- turns out you’ve got one of only two devices and the other one is being repaired. You now have spent around $30 in tickets and snacks and can’t even watch the movie. You head home with your night fully refunded, but onto a gift card. 

         This experience is, unfortunately, quite commonplace within the Deaf community. Movie theaters are one of the most-hated experiences among the Deaf, right after fast-food drive-throughs. It’s not that we don’t like movies… We just can’t seem to be able to watch them on the big screen. Many of us resort to waiting for the movie to appear on Netflix or Hulu and then use their captions.

         Recently a well-known Deaf rapper, Sean Forbes, tried to watch Mary Poppins in an AMC theater in Southfield but was unable to due to faulty CaptionView devices. He posted a video on Twitter explaining how his young daughter, Quinn, was very upset that she couldn’t watch the movie. “It’s not fair for Mommy and friends to sit and watch a movie with no captions,” the rapper told his three-year-old. Sean had to reach out to a different movie theater (Emagine) who were luckily happy to provide them with an Open Caption viewing of the movie. 

          Nyle DiMarco, nother famous Deafie, was also let down by AMC when he tried to go see Black Panther, only for his device to not work. When asked for a full refund AMC refused to provide Nyle with a cash refund and instead tried to only give him new tickets. We ask you, our readers: If a movie theater’s captioning devices do not work, then what would a deaf person do with a ticket? Come back only to go through all of this again? Yeah right!

If you are looking for an experience that you can… you know… experience, then we recommend brands like Emagine and MJR. They seem to be at least doing the bare minimum for deaf moviegoers, compared to AMC that is.