AMC Corporate’s Response about Theater Captions

As mentioned before on this blog, Terri Shirley with the KC HLAA Chapter has been in regular communication with AMC Studio 30 Management about the lack of captioned movies at its Kansas City Olathe theater. Below is an update from Melissa Johnson, Director of Guest Services for AMC Entertainment Corporate Offices in downtown Kansas City. Also included are previous e-mails from Terri and Dan Glennon, Olathe’s AMC Studio 30 General Manager.

November 22, 2010

Hi Ms. Shirley,

Dan forwarded me your contact information along with some communication and questions that you have recently asked.  I understand your frustrations with the lack of CC/RWC (closed captions/rear-window captions) at Studio and am trying my best to gather as much information as I can to keep you up to date with the new installation.

 I’m not sure how much information Dan has been able to give to you, but I can offer some history to the mix.  Our theatres are progressively transitioning to all digital presentations (Studio went all digital 4/29)  When theatres are converted, the current technology does not allow for CC/DV films due to the complications in the CC/DV code.  There is a new product on the market that AMC is currently testing that will enable digital projectors to read CC/DV code.

 I have spoken with the Project Manager for Studio and he has expedited the work order for Studio and moved the theatre to the top of the list for installation.  Unfortunately the timeline for installation is a two-part phase that may take several weeks (after the parts arrive.)  This week he provided this insight:

 “We are very close – we’ve resolved the configuration problem that was the last major pre-rollout hurdle of the new digital captioning equipment, but still have a couple of approvals to get before we can begin scheduling installations.  Once those are made, the theatre will be receiving a few more minor pieces of equipment that will be necessary for installation.  Unfortunately, until then, I won’t be able to narrow down a date or time that it will happen.  We hope to test Mainstreet’s system next week.  As soon as everything checks out and is approved by our Technical groups and the Digital Team, installations will be scheduled.  Studio is high on the project list.  I understand the urgency, and I apologize for being unable to give you a definite date.  At this point, I do anticipate that it will be sooner than later.”

I know the team at Studio appreciates the business your group brings for the CC/RWC movies and values your loyalty.  Please bear with us as we continue to work towards bringing these features back to Studio.  Hopefully this information is insightful and valuable.  I will be your contact going forward and will continue to press for additional information on this project and keep you updated.  Our project manager has provided some answers to your questions below.

Thank you for reaching out to us!

Regards,

Melissa

 ________________________________________________________________

Melissa J. Johnson | AMC Entertainment, Inc. | Director, Guest Services

920 Main Street | Kansas City, MO 64105 |( Office 816.480.4741 Mobile 816.695.2991 | Fax: 816.480.4618 *:mjohnson@amctheatres.com

From: Terri Sent: Monday, November 15, 2010 9:28 AM
To: Dan Glennon
Cc:
Subject: Fwd: Fork and Screen experience

Hello Dan,

This is Monday and the start of a new week.   I thought perhaps trying to contact you with emails at end of week may not carry over to your next week’s agenda of things to do.

It has been six months since AMC Studio 30 has stopped CC/RWC.   I am looking forward to hearing back from you this week on a detailed update of the questions I mailed last week. I added a few below:

 1.      Did they order equipment?  DAN’S ANSWER: Yes. Additional minor components needed to complete installation will be ordered after test bed sign-off.

 2.      What date did they order the equipment? DAN: 7/13.

 3.      What is expected shipment date? DAN: Delivered 8/13, 1Z1848XW0359656536

 4.      How long does it take to ship from manufacturer? DAN: NO ANSWER

 5.       Where is the equipment being shipped from? DAN: Various; TX, CA, IL.

 6.       Do our AMC 30 employees need additional training to install new equipment?  DAN: No; theatre staff will not be participating in installation procedures.  TSE, QA, and a 3rd party contractor will be handling the installs.

 7.      What is the expected date of captioned movies for the hearing impaired community? DAN: Unknown; awaiting test system approval by S&S and Digital Team.

 DAN: Follow up that some type of captioning, such as RWC, will defiantly be available for every movie all week long.   Studio’s upgraded digital CC/DV system will be installed in-house #19, the same auditorium that their previous assisted moviegoing system inhabited.  Also, as it was with the 35mm system, not every feature includes closed captioning or descriptive narration content.  As with all theatres, Management will be scheduling titles that are CC/DV-compatible in their equipped house.   

 TERRI: As you know, many hearing impaired are boycotting movie theater shows that are not captioned.   I realize we are not AMC’s majority of a selling crowd.   However, it is still important as hearing impaired/deaf individuals that do pay for an un-captioned movie feel we do not get what we pay for.   Since we cannot hear all the words,  we can’t fully understand the entire plot of the movie.   For example, the Social Network, is spoken fast, main actor’s upper lip never moves and scenes switch back and forth in time, makes it difficult to piece enough of the things we can hear together for understanding full plot.  A hearing person understands the entire plot much better than we do.   After viewing such a movie, hearing impaired/deaf individuals wait months for the movie to come out to purchase or rent to see it captioned.   Most movies on iTunes are not even captioned to rent and some movies, sometimes do not come out captioned to purchase on the market.  Then I read Kansas City Star’s Fri, Nov. 12, 2010 article titled  Kansas luring AMC Entertainment from downtown KC http://www.kansascity.com/2010/11/12/2427465/kansas-luring-a-kc-fixture.html. I realized AMC probably has much bigger issues to focus on than captioning movies at AMC 30. Shanna (Groves) and I are speaking for the hearing impaired/deaf community.  We have contacted you with our needs and strong desire for captioned movies.   You are our voice to AMC headquarters.   I urge you to get on the phone and get some answers to the questions and continue calling regularly until we have reached our goal and mission is accomplished.   

 Thank you,

Terri Shirley

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2 thoughts on “AMC Corporate’s Response about Theater Captions

  1. I just spoke with a rep from AMC 30 and she stated that the new CC technology was supposed to be going live tomorrow (1/21/11) but that they had to change it….so it sounds like it’s coming soon!!!!

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