Harkins Theatres

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Harkins Theatres Entertainment, Ltd.
Private subsidiary of Harkins Enterprises
Industry Entertainment (movie theaters)
Founded 1933
Founder Dwight "Red" Harkins
Headquarters Scottsdale, AZ
Area served
Southwestern United States
Key people
Dan Harkins, Owner & CEO, Mike Bowers, President & COO
Owner Dan Harkins
Number of employees
about 3,000 (as of May 2009) [1]
Parent Harkins Enterprises, LLC
Slogan Ultimate moviegoing
Website http://www.harkinstheatres.com

Harkins Theatres is a movie theater chain with locations throughout the Southwestern United States. Harkins Theatres is privately owned and operated by its parent company, Harkins Enterprises, LLC. The company currently operates 30 theaters with 432 screens throughout Arizona, California, Colorado, Oklahoma, and Texas.



In 1931, at the age of sixteen, Dwight “Red” Harkins left Cincinnati, Ohio, on his Harley Davidson motorcycle for Hollywood. Dwight planned to pursue a role in one of the new "talkies." By the time he arrived in Tempe, Arizona, he could no longer afford to continue his quest. After several years in Tempe, he sought out a new career operating a movie-house. In 1933, he opened the State Theatre in Tempe, at the age of 18 after putting $50 down on the lease to take over the State Theatre. The State Theatre was originally the Goodwin Opera House, opened c. 1907. [2] [3]

Early years[edit]

In 1934, Red Harkins expanded to have an outdoor theatre in Tempe Beach Park; however this only lasted for one summer. The next true theatre that Harkins built in 1940 was the College Theatre (currently Harkins Valley Art). The theatre contained innovations such as glow-in-the-dark carpet, headphones for the hearing impaired, and automatic drinking fountains. This theatre is important to Tempe and it's history as it is the only depression-era theatre that is in Tempe.

The last theatre opened by Red Harkins was the Camelview Theatre in 1973.[4]

Dan Harkins[edit]

In 1974, Dwight Harkins died, leaving the company to his eldest son, Dan Harkins. At that time the company was near bankruptcy. After reworking the company, Dan extensively expanded the theatre chain from five locations in the Phoenix area to the current 30 locations in five states - Oklahoma, Texas, Colorado, Arizona, Southern California.

Harkins Theatres struggled financially because it was unable to book many first-run movies. In 1977, Dan Harkins filed a lawsuit against a group of film distributors alleging they had prevented Harkins from booking many top first-run movie titles. Movie studios began settling with Harkins. As a result of the lawsuit, Harkins Theatres was able to show a run of Disney's Fantasia (1940 film) in May 1982, starting a string of successful releases.[5]

Dan Harkins has won several awards for his work in the exhibitor industry and his community involvement.

  • Phoenix Film Festival Visionary Award (2010) [6]
  • Arizona Culture Keepers (2010)[7]
  • United Motion Picture Association of America National Showman of the Year (1976, 1980 & 1982) [8]
  • American Institute of Architects Community Vision Award (1996) [9]


In the late 1980s, Harkins acquired several theatres operated by Mann Theatres. Most of the theatres acquired were a result of a lawsuit.[10]

In 1988, Harkins re-opened the Cine Capri theatre in Phoenix. The original Cine Capri had the largest screen in Arizona, measuring more than 70 feet (21 m) long. Despite over 200,000 signatures in an effort to save the theatre led primarily by KTAR's Pat McMahon, the theatre was demolished in 1998.[11][12]

In 2003, the new version of the Cine Capri theatre opened at the Scottsdale 101 14 multiplex.[13] Harkins Theatres has also built Cine Capri theatres at its Bricktown 16 (Oklahoma City, OK), Northfield 18 (Denver, CO),[14] Southlake 14 (Southlake, TX) and Tempe Marketplace 16 (Tempe, AZ) locations.[15]

In 2006, Harkins Theatres opened two theatres in California, Moreno Valley 16 (Moreno Valley, CA) and Chino Hills 18 (Chino Hills, CA).

On December 10, 2009, Harkins Theatres began to lease the IMAX theatre right next to its own theatre at Arizona Mills from IMAX Corporation. That location was immediately renamed the Harkins Arizona Mills Luxury 25 with IMAX and features Arizona’s only full sized IMAX screen. The first movie to be shown in the newly acquired theatre was James Cameron's Avatar from 20th Century Fox in IMAX 3D.[16]

In May 2013, Harkins Re-opened former Tower Theaters in Tucson, Arizona to be called Harkins Arizona Pavilions 12 Theatre. The theater holds 12 screens and is now the second theater in Tucson and the third in southern Arizona.

Art and independent film[edit]

The Harkins Art Film Society brings art and independent films to the theatre chain. Harkins Valley Art and Harkins Camelview 5 are dedicated to foreign and independent films.

Harkins also broadcasts opera and ballet performances throughout the year. These broadcasts include both live and taped ballet performances from around the world.[17]

Harkins Theatres hosts several film festivals each year.

  • The Phoenix Film Festival – Harkins Theatres Scottsdale 101 (Scottsdale, Arizona)[18]
  • The Scottsdale International Film Festival – Harkins Theatres Shea 14 (Scottsdale, Arizona)[19]
  • The Greater Phoenix Jewish Film Festival – Harkins Theatres Camelview 5 (Scottsdale, Arizona)[20]
  • DeadCENTER Film Festival – Harkins Theatres Bricktown 16 (Oklahoma City, Oklahoma)[21]


In 1997, Harkins Theatres Superstition Springs 25 was the first theatre in Arizona to obtain THX Certification in all 25 auditoriums.[citation needed]

In 2011, Harkins Theatres upgraded more than 400 of its screens to digital projection.[22]

Harkins Theatres sells souvenir loyalty cups and loyalty T-Shirts each year with a different movie-related theme. Customers who purchase a loyalty cup can bring it back to receive $1.50 refills for the year. If they wear a loyalty T-shirt, they receive a free medium sized popcorn during each visit throughout the year. A percentage of the proceeds go to the Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders at Phoenix Children's Hospital.[23]

In 2001 Harkins Theatres began introducing PlayCenters in their theatres, allowing parents to see a movie while their children are in a supervised environment.[24]

Each summer, Harkins Theatres hosts Summer Movie Fun, which is a summer movie program for children. The program features 10 children’s movies from the previous year. Harkins developed the program more than 30 years ago as a way to offer parents an affordable summer activity for children.[25]


  • Before the opening of each new theatre, Dan Harkins and his family have a hand print dedication ceremony similar to that at Grauman's Chinese Theater in Hollywood. He then proceeds to purchase the first ticket.[26]
  • A premiere of The Bourne Ultimatum was held in downtown Oklahoma City on July 31, 2007, at the Harkins Theatres Bricktown 16[27] to benefit The Children's Center, located in suburban Bethany. The film was shown simultaneously on three screens. Star Matt Damon was at the event to greet guests.[28]
  • 20th Century Fox held a YouTube contest to determine where the world premiere of X-Men Origins: Wolverine would be held. Tempe, Arizona won the contest and the world premiere of X-Men Origins: Wolverine was held at Harkins Theatres Tempe Marketplace 16 on April 27, 2009.[29]

Main Competitors[edit]


  1. ^ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9CciLrG5Zm8
  2. ^ http://www.azmusichalloffame.org/pages/bio_Dwight_Harkins.html
  3. ^ http://www.azcentral.com/story/news/local/tempe/2014/07/11/ebay-find-reveals-tempe-history/12542383/
  4. ^ http://www.azcentral.com/community/tempe/articles/2010/03/08/20100308tempe-valley-art.html
  5. ^ http://www.mobilitytechzone.com/news/2008/05/08/3432921.htm
  6. ^ http://phxated.com/phxated/dan-harkins-getting-a-visionary-award-at-phoenix-film-fest-in-april/
  7. ^ http://www.azcentral.com/business/articles/2010/09/09/20100909biz-harkins0909.html
  8. ^ http://www.eastvalleytribune.com/article_0c7ac448-9b5f-5731-83e4-d5ab7eb03337.html
  9. ^ http://www.my929.com/pages/weeklyguests.html
  10. ^ http://www.mobilitytechzone.com/news/2008/05/08/3432921.htm
  11. ^ https://news.google.com/newspapers?id=Q1tIAAAAIBAJ&sjid=dk4DAAAAIBAJ&dq=cine%20capri&pg=2148%2C928356
  12. ^ https://news.google.com/newspapers?id=dsEKAAAAIBAJ&sjid=Gk4DAAAAIBAJ&dq=cine%20capri&pg=6075%2C4672489
  13. ^ http://www.eastvalleytribune.com/article_ef029b8e-e52d-5ebc-a32d-24c185d5e02c.html
  14. ^ "Movie theater chain enters market". March 27, 2006. 
  15. ^ http://www.azcentral.com/arizonarepublic/business/articles/0627biz-tr-harkins0627.html
  16. ^ "Harkins acquires Imax at Arizona Mills". December 11, 2009. 
  17. ^ Ducey, Lynn (March 21, 2010). "Harkins Theatres to screen opera, ballet performances as alternatives". 
  18. ^ http://www.azcentral.com/business/articles/2012/03/23/20120323center-seeks-lift-from-phoenix-film-festival.html
  19. ^ http://blogs.phoenixnewtimes.com/jackalope/2011/07/upcoming_scottsdale_internatio.php
  20. ^ http://arizonaguide.com/events-calendar/16th-annual-phoenix-jewish-film-festival-02-12-2012
  21. ^ http://www.filmthreat.com/festivals/2210/
  22. ^ http://www.filmjournal.com/filmjournal/content_display/esearch/e3i7854743a6facfd68b9962d34168fea38
  23. ^ http://www.azcentral.com/ent/movies/articles/2008/09/25/20080925harkins0926.html
  24. ^ http://www.eastvalleytribune.com/article_310e45d3-2407-53a4-9a42-29748fd35910.html
  25. ^ http://www.azcentral.com/12news/news/articles/2010/04/13/20100413summer-harkins-theatres-movies-kids-03132010-CR.html
  26. ^ http://www.yumasun.com/articles/harkins-10817-theater-father.html
  27. ^ "The Bourne Ultimatum Oklahoma City Premiere". The Oklahoman. Retrieved 2007-07-14. 
  28. ^ http://okc.about.com/b/2007/07/22/matt-damon-to-premiere-new-movie-in-okc.htm
  29. ^ "Harkins Tempe Marketplace wins ‘X-Men Origins: Wolverine' premiere". April 20, 2009. 

External links[edit]