Closed captioning is not just for people who don't speak the primary language of a particular movie. It is for movie-goers who are hearing impaired as well.
My mother and my husband are both hearing impaired, as well as other members of my family and friends. Several of them have problems that hearing aids will not solve, ranging from nerve damage from ear cancer, to effects of Meniere's disease, to inner ear ringing.
It's frustrating enough not to be able to hear many conversations and simple sounds of the world around them, but not to be able to enjoy a good film, when there is a simple solution, is inexcusable, rude, and frankly, I believe discriminatory. Production companies make millions of dollars on their movies, but when it comes time to produce them on disk they have the audacity to skimp. The reason eludes me.
Why on earth would a production company produce a disk without closed captioning, and limit their audience in such a way? Approximately 28 million people in the United States are deaf or hearing impaired. That's quite a chunk of the movie audience. Why wouldn't a production company, either in the film or television industry take measures to include all of these people when hawking their wares? Appealing to the broadest audience possible is just basic good business sense.
My husband and I are horror writers. We like horror movies. I was very surprised when John Carpenter's "Halloween" was not captioned. On the other hand, "Psycho," made years prior to Halloween, was. And so are some movies I would not have suspected like "Bug," which is a lesser known horror movie.
I don't understand why any production company would say, "Yes, go ahead and release this movie on DVD/Blu-Ray, but don't bother captioning it. We don't give a damn about the deaf people, only those who are in perfect health." If the technology is there, it should be used, and used consistently.
On the personal disappointment level, I wanted to share my favorite TV show with my husband: "Criminal Minds." It's such an excellent show – good, meaty episodes, and a fantastic cast that produces consistently excellent performances. I'm buying the DVDs a season at a time, and was horrified to find that they are not closed captioned. I will probably buy them anyway, because I truly love the show, but I am tempted to boycott them because they are shows that my husband will never hear. Hang your heads in shame, CBS/Paramount. You've lost profit and respect from this household, as well as a potential fan of your show.
To those production companies who do closed captioning, kudos to you, it is well-appreciated. I hope those who do not will eventually follow your lead.
Closed-captioning for the hearing impaired should be a standard in the entertainment industry if not a requirement.
TD – 3/18/2016