The Obama administration is pushing a big change to movie theaters nationwide, one meant to help the disabled better enjoy the cinematic experience. The new rules could negatively impact theater owners, particularly at a time when they are struggling fiscally with the shift to digital projection.
The draft rule, which is part of a decades-long effort by advocates for people with disabilities, would likely require thousands of movie theaters across the country to offer devices that display closed captioning and provide audio narration of what’s happening onscreen.
Disability advocates are cheering the news, but theater owners–particularly those in rural areas with limited budgets–fear the costs associated with the technology.
These theaters can barely stay in existence and often need community support to break even,” the [theatrical] trade group wrote in a comment to the Justice Department’s 2010 precursor to the upcoming proposal. “To require them to install expensive closed captioning technology at this time is an undue financial burden that may result in these theaters closing.