A US federal judge has ordered two major exhibitors to provide stadium seating to people in wheelchairs, after ruling that both companies had violated the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Judge William G. Young ruled that National Amusements and Hoyts Cinemas ranked in 2000 among the 10 largest movie exhibitors, discriminated against disabled people by segregating them in the lower, traditional seating sections or special aisles on the edge of the popular stadium-style seats.

''As a matter of simple geometry, the seats on the access-aisle and in the traditional seating section always offer an inferior viewing angle to the stadium seats,'' Young ruled, according to the Boston Globe.

But he stopped short of ordering the exhibitors to reconfigure the seating arrangements immediately, instead saying they must retrofit the facilities when they undertake other renovation or refurbishment. Young's ruling applies to the two companies' nine stadium-style complexes in Massachusetts and about 40 in other parts of the country.

Last year, in a similar case, Cinemark's US stadium-style theatres were found to be in full compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act.