New Hawaii Law: Open Movie Captioning

Good news for Hawai‘i’s deaf and blind. Starting this year, they’ll get to enjoy a movie on the big screen with audio description and open movie captioning during at least two showings each week.

What’s open captioning? When a movie uses open captioning, everyone can see the words on the screen. That means those with hearing impairments won’t have to use special glasses to understand what’s happening on-screen.

The law removes communication barriers and provides equal access to persons who are deaf, hard of hearing, blind or have poor vision through reasonable accommodations at movie theaters. It will also help seniors who have trouble hearing, as well as individuals who are learning English as a second language by providing the written dialogue on screen. – Hawaii House of Representatives

This law applies to movie theaters with more than two locations in the state, including Consolidated Theatres in Ward, Pearlridge and Kāhala.

When searching for an Open Captioned movie, look for the “Open captionAccessibility devices available” next to the movie title.

So far, the new law is a success. Consolidated Ward Theaters held a showing of “Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens” with open captions on the screen for all to see.

The law will stay in effect until Jan. 8, 2018 unless further legislative action is taken.