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Sunday, April 18, 2010

Americans with Disabilities Act, Unanticipated Consequences, and the Movies

Edward Jay Epstein writes:

Why do the newer multiplex theaters have relatively small auditoriums?

Answer: To circumvent the ADA.

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990 requires that theaters with more than 300 seats provide wheelchair access to all the seats. Providing such access requires about one-third more space for the necessary ramps--space that cannot be filled with revenue-generating seats. To save themselves this expense, theater owners usually do not build auditoriums that have more than 300 seats.

See here for the Justice Department's ADA progress report.