Stats on cinema access in UK

Image courtesy of NDCS

I popped along to a disability working group for cinemas yesterday and I was reminded that, however much I moan about cinema access, there have been big changes since I was a young person. And, compared to most other major countries, Britain is ahead of the pack.

Consider a few stats:

* 19 out of the top 20 UK releases last year were available with subtitles at the cinema (I think the offending omission may have been the Twilight film…)
* 300 plus cinemas have subtitled facilities, around half of all cinemas. This compares to around 20 in 2003. Those that don’t, tend to be smaller, independent cinemas.
* There are 550 subtitled films shown nationwide weekly

Apparently, the UK is the only country in the EU that offers subtitled films on this scale.

Not that there still isn’t a lot of progress to be made. Lots of subtitled films are still on only at the off-peak “graveyard” slots. “Technical problems” still crop up. And I still have a dream that one day I’ll be able to go into any cinema and ask for on-demand subtitles on any film. Encouragingly though, cinemas seem to be listening to these points, as the very existence of the disability working group shows.

But, since I’m in a good mood today, I think it’s worth praising the cinemas for the progress made so far. Do you agree that things are better than they used to be? What progress do you want to see next?

PS Just a reminder that you can see which subtitled films are showing in your area at


2 thoughts on “Stats on cinema access in UK

  1. My personal cinema wish is for ‘subtitle spectacles’ (which you have commented on previously and which currently exist in prototype form I believe) – with the huge hearing impaired population in the UK, I am amazed that the big cinema chains are not pushing harder for the introduction of this technology, so that more deaf people visit the cinema.

  2. Its so nice to hear somebody compliment an access issue rather than continualy moan about it, yes we have come on in leaps and bounds and the more we talk about what has been acheived, the more we will move forward.

    Hope its not a cheek to place a link to an article of mine titled: ‘Is Disabled Access All Bad’ @ its a good read on the subject and offers another view on disabled access.

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