What can be better than an afternoon or evening at the movies? Whether a new feature is out or an old favorite has returned for a showing, movies are a great escape. While many home options are available for movie buffs, going to a theater is a fun experience.
Access Press focuses on Minnesota theaters that offer accessibility. Almost all theaters have some area for wheelchair or power scooter seating, as well as companion seating. Many theaters offer assisted listening devices of some type.
Accommodations for other visual, hearing or sensory disabilities vary by theater and can change over time, so call or email a theater to see what is new. Keep in mind that some small town theaters, which may be operated by a solo owner, volunteers or a mix of volunteers and staff, may not have the same accommodations found in larger theater chains. Minnesota has almost 160 theaters according to the website Cinema Treasures.
Find these theaters at cinematreasures.org
Be aware that not every movie is designed to be accessible, so having assistive technology available doesn’t guarantee the chance to see a new movie. Here’s an overview of technologies and technology resources:
Rear Window Captioning displays reversed captions on a light-emitting diode (LED) text display which is mounted in the rear of a theater. Patrons who are deaf or hard-of-hearing use transparent acrylic panels attached to their seats to reflect the captions, so they appear superimposed on the movie screen. The reflective panels are portable and adjustable, enabling the caption user to sit anywhere in the theater without bothering patrons in surrounding seats.
DVS Theatrical presents concise descriptive narration of visual cues, including actions, settings, scene changes, facial expressions and silent movement, through an FM or infrared system, making movies more meaningful to people with vision loss. The moviegoer hears the narration on a headset.
CaptiView closed caption viewing systems allow moviegoers to read movie dialogue.
Digital Theatre Systems or DTS superimposes open captions over the bottom of movie theater screens.
Fidelio is a wireless audio system that delivers descriptive narration for people with vision loss and amplified sound for people with hearing loss. Patrons can get a compact audio receiver with a plug-in headset at the box office or bring their own headset.
Descriptive narration and closed captioning availability are subject to the content made available from distributors.
Additional options are available. The American Council of the Blind has an audio description project to enhance movies as well as museums, national parks and live events. It includes many links to audio-described DVDs, Blu-ray discs, television programs and more. Visit www.acb.org for more information.
Captionfish, at captionfish.com, can help moviegoers find captioned films by city and theater.
Here’s a list of theaters and access options:
AMC Theatres has theaters in Coon Rapids, Eden Prairie, Edina, Inver Grove Heights, Mankato, Mounds View and Roseville. AMC offers assisted listening devices at all of its theaters, according to the main AMC website. Some theaters offer closed captioning, CaptiView and Fidelio. Ask about services and showings for patrons with autism. FFI: AMC Theatres, AMC Theatres – Assistive Moviegoing
CEC Theaters has theaters in Albert Lea, Alexandria, Andover, Bemidji, Fergus Falls, Marshall, Mountain Iron, Owatonna, Winona and Hudson, WI. Sensory-friendly showings are offered at locations that have had requests from the community. Theaters offer audio description, closed caption devices, disability access and hearing assisted listening devices. FFI: CEC Theatres
Cinemark Theatres operates Cinemark River Hills Movies 8, Mankato. Contact the theater to ask about accommodations. FFI: Cinemark Theatres
Emagine Theaters are in Delano, Eagan, East Bethel, Lakeville, Monticello, Plymouth, Rogers, Waconia and White Bear Township. Theaters offer open captioning, assisted listening devices, personal open caption devices and descriptive video devices. FFI: Emagine Theatres – Accessible Screenings
Landmark Theatres has closed the Edina Cinema and Uptown Theatre. Lagoon Cinema in Minneapolis remains open. Landmark offers several types of accommodations. FFI: Landmark Theatres
Mann Theatres has locations in Baxter, Champlain, Edina, Grand Rapids, Grandview and Highland in St. Paul, Hibbing and Plymouth. Contact theaters to learn about accommodations. FFI: Mann Theatres
Marcus Theatres are in in Duluth, Elk River, Hastings, Hermantown, Oakdale, Rochester, Rosemount, Shakopee and Waite Park. Marcus has assisted listening devices and CaptiView at all of its Minnesota locations. Closed captioning, open captioning, descriptive narration and assistive listening devices are also available. FFI: Marcus Theatres – Assistive Technology
Odyssey Theaters are in Detroit Lakes, Hutchinson and Rochester. Ask about accommodations. FFI: Odyssey Theatres
Science Museum of Minnesota has an omni theater. Theater admission is separate from museum admission, and tickets should be purchased in advance. Amplified audio units and written scripts are available, as is audio description or DVS Theatrical for most films. Wheelchair and companion seating are available. if a group is bringing its own ASL interpreter, special lighting is available with one week’s notice. FFI: 651-221-9444, Science Museum of Minnesota – Accessibility, Amenities, and Museum Navigation
ShowPlace ICON has one Minnesota theater, Showplace ICON at West End, St. Louis Park. It offers assistive listening devices, closed captioning and descriptive video services. FFI: ShowPlace ICON