Theater Creates ‘Wonderful’ Movie Experience for Wheelchair-Bound Patron
By Maia Reck Johnson
As a child, Ralph Thomas watched the 1960 Yul Brynner classic western “The Magnificent Seven.”
When the 2016 remake of the movie was released, Thomas and his wife, Kathie O’Day, were excited to see it. But O’Day’s confinement to a wheelchair have often forced the couple to settle for a less-than-desirable theater experience.
But not this time; not for this movie.
The movie is currently being shown at multiple locations of Rogers Cinema, but Thomas said many of the company’s movie theaters offer handicap-accessible seating only in the front row — including the one in their hometown of Wisconsin Rapids.
“That’s too close,” Thomas said, adding he called the theater’s customer service center, located in Marshfield, to see if another local theater had handicap-accessible seating any further away from the screen.
Thomas said he was willing to drive to another city, if needed, so he and his wife could watch the movie from a comfortable distance.
After he talked with a Rogers Cinema customer service representative named Ashley, Thomas said the company offered to show the movie in a different theater for one night — Tuesday’s $5 Movie Night — to accommodate the couple at its Church St. location in Stevens Point.
“It was showing in Theater 7; they changed it to Theater 6 for us,” Thomas said. “That’s the theater that has wheelchair seating further away from the screen. I told Ashley, ‘You’re magnificent!'”
A request for comment was not immediately returned from Rogers Cinema, but Thomas referred to the customer service as “wonderful”.
The remake of “The Magnificent Seven” stars Denzel Washington, Chris Pratt and Ethan Hawke and is rated PG-13.
Rogers Cinema has theaters throughout Wisconsin located in Stevens Point, Wisconsin Rapids, Marshfield, Beaver Dam and Waupaca.