Regal Settles Over Seating

Regal Entertainment Group has settled a four-and-a-half-year-old lawsuit over wheelchair seating in its theatres.

The company, which is owned by AEG Live owner Philip Anschutz, will alter the stadium-seating layouts of nearly 1,000 theatres to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act under a settlement announced by the Justice Department June 8th.

The Justice Department filed suit against Hoyts Cinemas Corp. – which Regal later acquired – and several other theatre chains in 2000, alleging that the companies failed to provide proper seating for wheelchair-bound patrons.

The seats provided were in the front rows of the theatres, forcing disabled moviegoers to crane their necks, according to the complaint. As part of the settlement, Regal will alter current layouts and provide seating for the disabled in the middle areas or further back in all its new theatres.

Regal said the project will cost about $15 million. The company must make the changes within five years.

More than half of Regal’s 6,273 movie houses feature stadium-style seating.