Back to the Movies: Hearing-Friendly Theaters in Washington State

Are you headed back to the movies?

Movie theaters across the country are slowly opening their doors again. Is the smell of freshly buttered popcorn coaxing you back to your favorite theater, or are you still Netflix-and-chilling on the couch?

You can, of course, still find many captioned shows to stream at home. But if you have a hearing loss and you’re headed back to one of Washington State’s many movie houses, here’s a guide to where (and when) you might find looped or captioned shows at a theater near you.

Something to keep in mind: Theater managers have told us that not all movies come to the theater with captions, and that even when captions are available, sometimes it can take the theater staff 24 hours or more to make an open-captioned show happen. In other words, it may help to plan ahead.

As always, if you don’t see a theater’s hearing access or captions advertised, call or email the theater and ask about their access, and request an open-captioned show if you need one.

Seattle Area

Admiral Theater in West Seattle – The Admiral will show some open-captioned movies by request.

Regal Meridian & 4DX – At Regal cinemas on 7th Avenue in Downtown Seattle, some films are closed-captioned and others are open-captioned. Check the theater website or call ahead to confirm (844-462-7342)

Regal Thornton Place – At Regal Thornton Place & Imax at Northgate, some films are closed-captioned and some are open-captioned. Check the theater website or call ahead to confirm (844-462-7342).

Seattle International Film Festival (SIFF) – In addition to the yearly festival—one of the largest in the country—SIFF also screens films year-round at the SIFF Egyptian, SIFF Uptown, and SIFF Film Center.

Foreign films at SIFF are usually shown with English subtitles (captions) at all SIFF locations and at affiliate venues during the festival. SIFF also offers assistive listening devices at all three of its locations. Closed captioning varies by film and by venue; call 206-465-5830 or email info@siff.net for more information. As of December 2021, SIFF tells us that they’re considering more open-captioned shows.

Spokane

AMC River Park Square 20–  Assistive listening devices and closed captioning CaptiView devices are available for most shows. Contact the guest services desk for help.

Regal Northtown Mall – Closed captioning devices are available for most shows; some open-captioned screenings are available. Call the theater to confirm (844-462-7342).

Village Center Cinemas – These theaters in Airway Heights, Wandermere, Pullman, Lewiston, and Eastside Moscow offer some shows with closed captions.

Tacoma

Cinemark Century Point Ruston and XD – Closed caption devices and an assistive listening system are available for most shows.

Grand Cinema – This indie theater has open-captioned shows every Wednesday. A closed-caption device is available to put in your cupholder. To hear through their an assistive listening system (FM), you can borrow headsets or a neckloop, or bring your own (2.3 or 2.8 Mhz.)

Edmonds

The Edmonds Theater – Open-captioned screenings generally happen on Sunday afternoons.

Anacortes

Anacortes CinemaOpen captions are available upon request (360-299-7994).

Mount Vernon

Lincoln Theater – The beautiful Lincoln, built in 1926, has a hearing loop system, closed captioning gooseneck devices, and headsets. To best hear through the hearing loop, sit in the center sections.

The Lincoln Theater in Mount Vernon, Washington, has a hearing loop plus closed-captioning devices

More open-captioned shows may be on the horizon.

In late 2021, AMC Entertainment announced they plan to offer more open-captioned shows, in addition to the headsets and CaptiView closed-caption options they already offer.

And locally, we’re talking with Rep. Tina Orwall, the Washington State Department of Commerce, the Washington State Association of the Deaf, DeafFriendly’s Echo Greenlee, and cinema owners to find ways to bring more captioned shows to your neighborhood theater here in Washington State. We’ve signed a letter of support for a budget proviso to explore solutions.

Special thanks to the folks at Wash-CAP, The Washington State Communication Access Project, for their stellar work in bringing captions to Washington State. Wash-CAP is an excellent resource for finding captioned entertainment. You can also visit captionfish.com for captioned movie screenings around the country.

Did we miss any of your favorite hearing-friendly movie houses? Let us know: admin@hearingloss-wa.org.

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