Closed captions in movie theaters


Riley Minor, Contributer

Do you watch your movies with or without subtitles? Recently the topic of subtitles on movies in theaters for people with impaired hearing has been brought up.

There are three sides to this argument: people who don’t think there should be subtitles, people who do think there should be subtitles, and the theaters that would have to provide the subtitles.

The main reasoning there aren’t already subtitles in theaters is possibly because of the extra money/equipment to make these things possible. Most filmmakers also prefer that their movies shown in a theater don’t have closed captions or subtitles to enhance the “aesthetic presentation of the film,” (Quora).

For the average movie lover, they mostly think there shouldn’t be captioning because people find them annoying or distracting and make it hard to focus on what is happening in the movie. People also say they don’t want to read their movie.

Though, there are ways for deaf people or people that are hard of hearing to watch movies with captions, “Movie theaters must provide closed captioning display devices to patron who are deaf or hard of hearing. These devices may be hand-held or clip onto seat-backs so that the closed captions are visible only to the patron in need,” (3playmedia).

Sadly, many deaf or hard of hearing people find these devices very impractical. Most of the time, captions on hand held devices aren’t synced with the movies and miss whole parts of dialogue (The Washington Post). The batteries die and they are more distracting for the people around than if they were just on the screen.

Captioned screenings are also shown, but those are extremely inconvenient as well. They’re only shown on specific days, which makes it hard for them to see a movie when they have time. Most open captioned screenings are shown on Mondays, Tuesdays and Sundays, but, like everyone else, they have jobs and lives and things that prevent them from only being able to go on specific days.

To create a more accepting and comfortable environment, people recommend adding closed captions to movie theaters. There are petitions created based around this. If you’re interested in signing, go to Change.