Bond is back! At 10am on a Sunday morning?? Those pesky cinema subtitling times...
I love the movies. I especially love James Bond films. Imagine my excitement when in 2006, Casino Royale, the first Daniel Craig Bond film saw its release. I checked the website 'Your Local Cinema' for the subtitled showing scheduled for the Trafford Centre, Tuesday at 5.15pm. At the time, I worked in Manchester central so I calculated that I'd start and leave work early. It was doable but I was also aware that it was rush hour time and Christmas was on the horizon.
The plan was to get a bus to the Centre but on the journey, there was traffic galore. My stress levels were building up as the clock ticked away. Would I or wouldn't I make it? As the bus entered the station, I prepared myself to make the sprint across the Trafford Centre to the cinema. As I ran across the tarmac to the entrance doors, past the fountain, up the stairs, I remember thinking that this was like a running scene out of a Bond movie!
With some movies, you can miss the start by 5 minutes and the film is still watchable. But the start of a Bond movie is a moment to savour. A moment not to miss. And the start of Casino Royale did not disappoint. Indeed, the whole film did not disappoint.
You'll guess by now that I got to the cinema on time. But, the timing of the showing was not ideal. I noticed also that the cinema was almost empty. Fast forward to 2015 and the latest James Bond film 'Spectre'. At the time, I'm visiting family in Peterborough so I look for a subtitled showing for us. Its 10 am on a Sunday morning and once again the cinema is almost empty.
Both times were inconvenient for me. They were on off-peak days at off-peak times. I do have a life, I do work and I am a busy person. It would have been nice to have more options. My ideal would be to have subtitled showings on Friday or Saturday nights. And I'm not alone in thinking this. A 2011 Facebook group was set up to highlight and tackle this issue called 'Deaf people are alive 7 days a week, not just Sunday / Monday / Tuesday.'
Its a recurring problem and today, we are no nearer to a solution. In 2017, Independent Cinema Office (ICO) conducted a survey of exhibitors. Many felt frustrated with the size of the audience for accessible screenings. Many Deaf patrons felt frustrated that the screening slots offered to them (often during the daytime) were not suitable for their working life. Exhibitors recognised evening screenings were more lucrative periods for cinemas. But, most Deaf people worked and so these times were not suitable. The report recommended that cinemas keen to build a dedicated Deaf audience should commit to subtitled screenings in an evening or weekend slot.
I will follow up this story at a later date. I've told you a little bit about my experience of subtitled showing times. Contact Toomey Cochlear Pro to tell us about your experience. I am interested in positive and negative experiences. What do you think can be done to improve the cinema experience for D/deaf people? I would like to hear your stories.