Largest Movie Chain Agrees To Rearrange Wheelchair Seating
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
June 8, 2005
WASHINGTON, DC--Here's good news for moviegoers who use wheelchairs.
The U.S. Department of Justice announced Wednesday that it has settled a federal lawsuit with the country's largest movie theater chain, Regal Entertainment Group, to make the movie experience for wheelchair-users comparable to that of other viewers.
Under the agreement, Regal's current and future stadium-style cinemas will provide improved lines of sight for such patrons by placing the wheelchair-accessible areas as close to the middle of the auditoriums as possible.
In nearly 1,000 theaters, Regal will move wheelchair seating further back from the screen. In the remaining theaters, it will insure that wheelchair seating be set as far back from the screen as possible without "major construction", the Department said in a press statement.
According to the Associated Press, Regal estimates it will spend $15 million to make changes, which must be done within five years. Regal operates 3,500 screens in 40 states.
The Justice Department originally filed the suit against Hoyts Cinemas in December 2000 based on complaints from moviegoers that claimed they had been forced to sit uncomfortably close to the screens, in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Last year, Regal acquired most of the former Hoyts movie theatres, along with the suit.