[nobe-l] How AMC Stole Christmas

Greg Aikens gpaikens at gmail.com
Sun Dec 27 21:29:40 UTC 2015

So glad this worked out for you. 

I just wanted to chime in and say that I have also had this happen to me a frustratingly large number of times. What I have started doing before the movie is asking 2 and 3 times if they are sure it is set for description and not hearing amplification. Sometimes they get a little annoyed but then I explain how often it is not correct and how I and a friend have to miss the first 15 minutes of a movie getting it right. I have been pleasantly surprised that the last several times I have gone the headset has been set up correctly. However, last night when I went to see Star Wars with my family, I asked 2 times just to make sure and it still did not work. Very frustrating. 

I have not heard that there is something visual that indicates whether the headset is set for hearing or vision. I wonder if that is a Regal thing or all the headsets are like that. 

I just wish there was a way to test if the headsets are set on the correct channel before the movie starts, like a repeating message that says, “You are in theater 6 and listening to the described audio track. Your show will start shortly.” That would be so helpful in detecting errors before the show begins. 

I wonder who we could share feedback with about the system? It doesn’t seem like something a local branch of a theater could change. 


> On Dec 27, 2015, at 3:37 PM, Sharon Dudley via NOBE-L <nobe-l at nfbnet.org> wrote:
> We took the advice of some of the people who responded to this, and called
> ahead to the local Cinemark. We got a manager who not only assured us that
> she understood the request, but who agreed to sit beside us when the movie
> came on and make sure it was working correctly. We got to see the movie
> because people were willing to listen, and because employees had been
> trained in providing these services.
> Thank you everyone for your help. I am happy I live in an age when this
> technology is available, and happier to live in an age when there are
> resources like this list to help us when other steps fail.
> On Sat, Dec 26, 2015 at 3:33 PM, Brian J. Quintana via NOBE-L <
> nobe-l at nfbnet.org> wrote:
>> Hi,
>> I definitely can sympathize with your frustration about this matter.
>> I go to the movies at least once a week. When I first started going, the
>> same issues happened time and time again. Either the device didn't work at
>> all, or it was set up for the hearing impaired.
>> Each time, we would return the device, and they would always give me guest
>> passes, so I almost never had to pay for the movie.
>> Finally, I spoke to the manager directly, explained how this type of
>> problem should not happen every time, and I asked her what we could do to
>> remedy the situation. I proposed calling ahead of time, tell her which
>> movie I planned on attending, and make sure they tested out the device
>> before I arrived, letting me know before I arrive whether it worked, or did
>> not.
>> As of now, this practice has worked almost flawlessly. She knows me, and
>> it seems she has made sure her employees know to set up for the visually
>> impaired when I call or e-mail ahead of time.
>> By the way, this is a Cinemark chain, and I too have had the same problems
>> at AMC, but when I do go to a different theatre than my regular one, I
>> still call ahead and make them get it ready before I arrive.
>> I recommend you call ahead from now on, or, make the employee come find
>> you in the auditorium at the start of the movie to check that the device
>> works. This way, if it does not, the employee, not you, or your husband has
>> to leave to get it fixed.
>> Oh, and also, I try to remember to bring my own headphones. Those the
>> theatre provide are bulky and have a 20-foot chord that gets in the way of
>> my nachos, candy, and drink.
>> Brian
>> ----- Original Message ----- From: "Sharon Dudley via NOBE-L" <
>> nobe-l at nfbnet.org>
>> To: "National Organization of Blind Educators Mailing List" <
>> nobe-l at nfbnet.org>
>> Cc: "Sharon Dudley" <sharon.a.dudley at gmail.com>
>> Sent: Friday, December 25, 2015 12:54 PM
>> Subject: [nobe-l] How AMC Stole Christmas
>> I’ve been in tears over this several times today. My husband and I are fans
>>> of science fiction and fantasy, and for years, we’ve shared this hobby
>>> together. I was a kid when Star Wars came out for the first time, and I’ve
>>> always loved the movies.
>>> For a Christmas surprise, he got us tickets to see the new Star Wars movie
>>> at a time when they offered audio description. There were only two such
>>> shows during the day, and the morning showing on Christmas day seemed to
>>> be
>>> the best chance that we could avoid overcrowded theaters and make sure we
>>> got the right headset for audio description.
>>> The introduction of audio description in movie theaters was such a
>>> wonderful advancement, and made me so happy when our local theaters added
>>> it to their list of services. I have had terrible anxiety about going to
>>> movie theaters ever since I went to see the LAST Star Wars movie: Revenge
>>> of the Sith. My daughter was quietly describing the action on the screen,
>>> and the woman next to her kept tapping her and shushing her. Then my
>>> husband, sitting on my other side, took over describing, and the woman
>>> glared at us, even though it was impossible for her to hear him
>>> describing.
>>> After the movie, she yelled at us, and at me in particular, and called me
>>> a
>>> bitch for ruining her movie experience, even after we explained that I was
>>> totally blind. She said that if I needed someone to talk to me during the
>>> movie, I should just stay home. That experience has stayed with me for a
>>> decade and colored my expectations of going out to the movies.
>>> When we got to AMC, we went straight to a manager, who flagged down a girl
>>> working there to give us the headset. We specifically asked if it was
>>> audio
>>> description, as opposed to enhanced audio for the hearing impaired. She
>>> assured us it was, but that it wouldn’t start working until the movie
>>> started. So we got into the theater and waited.
>>> I don’t think I need to describe the anticipation we felt, but when the
>>> long-awaited words “A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away…” came onto
>>> the screen, the headphones were silent. And with the opening crawl of
>>> words, there was no reading from the headphones. When my husband started
>>> to
>>> describe things on the screen, I heard sound in the headphones, but it was
>>> only amplified sounds of the events on the screen. No description. No
>>> narration.
>>> We left the theater and angrily complained to management. Yes, we got our
>>> money back after it took 20 minutes to explain the situation and for them
>>> to realize what they’d done and get the right headset, and then they
>>> offered to let us back in with the right equipment. What good is that?
>>> We’ve missed the whole first part of the movie! There was no other showing
>>> with audio description for 7 more hours. We weren’t going to come back at
>>> 6pm when our daughter is coming over for dinner with our 2-month old
>>> grandson!
>>> This was not the first time this has happened to us. The many many times
>>> we’ve tried to go out to a movie, there has not been one single instance
>>> where they gave us the right equipment the first time. And I can only
>>> think
>>> of two times where we caught their mistake in time to enjoy the movie. I
>>> have complained to management each and every time, in at least 3 different
>>> theaters in our community. Every time, they have promised to train their
>>> employees better in the future. And every time, we get the same ignorance
>>> of disability accommodations.
>>> I wonder if anyone else with disabilities has experienced such
>>> difficulties
>>> at AMC theaters in particular, or movie theaters in general. What do you
>>> do
>>> and how do you explain to them what you need BEFORE it’s too late to enjoy
>>> the movie? This was such a nice surprise from my husband, and it turned
>>> into such a heartbreak on Christmas. We’re going to try again in a couple
>>> days, but how does everyone else get past this barrier?
>>> Sharon Dudley, NBCT
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