#SubtitledCinema Campaign Update – Where to go next?

Movie theatre black screen with red chairs in rows facing it. Text on screen says 'cinemas to show more subtitled films at reasonable times'


Apologies for not updating you sooner on the #SubtitledCinema campaign, I’ve been working hard behind the scenes with Deaf Girly, Action on Hearing Loss, UK Cinema Association and representatives from Odeon, Vue and Cineworld.

Believe it or not, it’s taken me a month debating whether or not to write this, it’s one of the hardest things I’ve had to do, as I’m conscious that I will upset somebody, lose followers or industry contacts. But, I don’t know where to go next, so I hope you will let me know your thoughts of where I should go from here…

Where to start?

This journey has been a tough battle, I’m not going to lie. There’s been stress, pleas and even tears trying to fight for more subtitles on behalf of the deaf community. Before anyone judges me, I’ve done all I can but what lies ahead is down to you guys…

What’s been happening…

After two meetings, with my presentation and ‘business case’ to justify increasing subtitled (ST) screenings, the industry and individual companies went back to their teams and sent me their proposals for the next 6 month trial period (Apr – Sept 2019) with an evaluation to follow after. This is the small increase the cinemas have decided on…

The proposed increase


Around 33% of cinemas (32/98 sites) with 12 screens or more will show at least 4
ST films per week and – shown mainly Sun-Thurs afternoons/evenings

Around 67% of cinemas (66/98 sites) with 11 screens or less will continue to show
at least 2 ST films per week on Sun & Mon



Around 20% of cinemas (18/91 sites) with 12 screens or more will show 3 ST
films per week, 2 midweek & 1 Sun

Around 80% of cinemas (73/91 sites) with 11 screens or less will continue to show
2 ST films per week, one Sun and one midweek



All sites will abide by the following minimum show requirement

17+ screens – 7 shows per week
15-16 screens – 6 shows per week
11-14 screens – 5 shows per week
10 screens – 4 shows per week
6-9 screens – 3 shows per week
3-5 screens – 2 shows per week
1-2 screens – 1 show per week

ST screenings will be a mixture of peak/off-peak, with at least one show at the weekend
(in 3+ screens). Evening ST screenings (after 17:30) will be available mid-week (in 3+

It’s a start, but I hoped for much more. The cinemas want to see an increase in attendance if not they may go back to the current provision.

I can’t do all the work to bring everyone back, so it’s up to you guys to go back to the cinema and prove there’s a demand…

Where to go next?

Should I…

  1. Give up and walk away?
  2. Accept this proposal and put in many hours publicising it, even though I have a full time job?
  3. Meet with influential professionals such as Disability Minister, Minister of Culture, Ofcom?
  4. Keep fighting, with support from influential bloggers and charities to push the campaign?
  5. Take this to the media?
  6. Seek legal advice?

Now’s the chance to have your say. Please let me know your thoughts…

E x

7 thoughts on “#SubtitledCinema Campaign Update – Where to go next?

  1. Keep fighting AND go to the media. I contacted my local cineworld to find out st screening of Rocketman. Scheduled for 6pm Thursday. Not bad for me.


  2. I’d be at many of the subtitled films as I could if I could reasonably go. Realistically screenings are at unsuitable times, at least for those who work or who have kids in school.
    Keep doing what you do – I’m sure more deaf people would go if they were in the evenings or on weekends.
    Subtitles also of use to those whose first language isn’t English.


  3. Excellent blog. Don’t weaken on this. Some less enlighted people will find this annoying but you are completely right to pursue this. The technology is now such that regular showings of subtitles are a must. Keep up the excellent work!



  4. Your work will enable more film fans with hearing loss to enjoy the important social activity of going to the cinema with friends and family. Remember how exciting it was when you were a kid, when, thanks to subtitles, films could take you to a magical place and make you forget you were deaf for a few hours? You’ve made that happen for many, many children. So whatever happens, be proud of what you’ve achieved. I’m sure that many people appreciate what you are doing. But it must be very hard to carry on doing the good work you do voluntarily, giving your time for free. It’s understandable that you’re feeling overwhelmed, wondering whether or not to carry on. Ideally the cinemas would show that they value your time helping them to become more accessible and inclusive. Dean


  5. It discrimination simply put. If I want to go to cinema I want subtitles and should be able to request this. No different from someone in a wheelchair requiring wheelchair access to a building but in this case I can’t go until a certain time what if this happened to the person in a wheelchair being told that they can’t get in till a certain time – there would be an uproar! Ultimately I would go for option 6.


  6. 3, 4, 5 and 6. What is proposed is just not good enough. I thank you for all the work and effort but we need more sub-titles films at peak times each week. It’s just not right that deaf people have to visit the cinema at inconvenient times, with no choice of viewings. Please don’t give up, try and enlist more help to make it easier for you.


  7. Hi,

    Firstly thank you so much for your hard work, it is certainly very frustrating. My worry is that cinemas will do the trials in lesser popular areas which is setting it up to fail. We will help you by voting with our feet and Limping Chicken can help with raising awareness as I know they feel strongly about the cause too. It would help to know where there are listing extra showings. Has yourlocalcinema.com done anything to help?

    Personally I would do everything in that order as you suggested first and leave the legal route last as it is expensive and long process also you need to show that you’ve exhausted all options and gotten nowhere. I blame the weak Equality Act which hasn’t really improved anything. Worth reading this article and use the same solicitor that Sally used. https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/amp/education-42776454. Hope this helps.


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