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AMC Theaters in Illinois Becoming More Accessible to the Blind and Deaf CommunitiesAMC has agreed to provide necessary accommodations in all of its theatres in Illinois allowing the blind and deaf communities to enjoy movies the same as others. Personal devices equipped with captioning and audio-description services will be added. The captioning devices are small rectangular screens that attach to the cup holder on the theater seat. The screens are dimly lit so they won't bother other moviegoers. For the visually impaired, a headset will describe the action on the screen to them.
As of now AMC offers closed-captioning services at only 21 out of the 246 movie theaters and only 10 offered audio-description services. Those that do offer this service still only offered it for only a limited number of movies and usually at showings set at off hours. The group Equip for Equality, a federally-funded advocacy agency for people with disabilities in Illinois, brought concerns to the Attorney General's Office in 2010. As a result of the efforts, Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan (D) announced on April 4 a landmark settlement was reached which says that AMC Theatres will provide this service at all of their Illinois theatres by 2014.
The vice president of operations at AMC Theatres, Noel MacDonald said: "AMC is committed to providing the best possible moviegoing experience for all of our guests, which includes the conversion to digital presentation. For the past several years, we've worked with suppliers to develop digital assistive technologies that can be implemented on a broad scale. We're excited that this technology allows everyone to join us at an AMC theater."
The senior attorney for Equip for Equality,Amy Peterson lamented: "Our clients are thrilled with the comprehensive agreement reached by the Illinois Attorney General and AMC. 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."
Arizona, New Jersey and New York Attorneys general have brought similar legal action against movie theater companies for not providing universal access.
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