United States Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division
Information and Technical Assistance on the Americans with Disabilities Act
2010 Regulations
2010 Design Standards
Technical Assistance Materials

Movie Captioning and Audio Description Final Rule

On November 21, 2016, Attorney General Loretta Lynch signed a Final Rule revising the Justice Department’s Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) title III regulation to further clarify a public accommodation’s obligation to provide appropriate auxiliary aids and services for people with disabilities. The Final Rule requires require movie theaters to: (1) have and maintain the equipment necessary to provide closed movie captioning and audio description at a movie patron’s seat whenever showing a digital movie produced, distributed, or otherwise made available with these features; (2) provide notice to the public about the availability of these features; and (3) ensure that theater staff is available to assist patrons with the equipment before, during, and after the showing of a movie with these features.

Title III of the ADA requires public accommodations, including movie theaters, to provide effective communication through the use of auxiliary aids and services.  This rulemaking specifies requirements that movie theaters must meet to satisfy their effective communication obligations to people with hearing and vision disabilities unless compliance results in an undue burden or a fundamental alteration.  For a summary of the Final Rule and its requirements, see the “Final Rule Questions & Answers.”

Final Rule

Nondiscrimination on the Basis of Disability by Public Accommodations - Movie Theaters; Movie Captioning and Audio Description -- official version of the Final Rule published in the Federal Register on December 2, 2016. The Final Rule will take effect 45 days after publication, on January 17, 2017.

Final Rule Requiring Movie Theaters to Provide Captioning and Audio Description (HTML) – Signed by the Attorney General on November 21, 2016

Press Release

Final Rule Questions & Answers -- updated December 19, 2016

Final Regulatory Analysis and Final Regulatory Flexibility Analysis

Final Rule History

Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to Require Movie Theaters to Provide Movie Captioning & Audio Description | PDF

Initial Regulatory Analysis and Initial Regulatory Flexibility Analysis for the Movie Captioning and Audio Description Notice of Proposed Rulemaking | PDF


60-day Paperwork Reduction Act Notice

30-day Paperwork Reduction Act Notice