Harkins Theatres

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Harkins Theatres
TypePrivate subsidiary of Harkins Enterprises
IndustryEntertainment (movie theaters)
FounderDwight "Red" Harkins
HeadquartersScottsdale, Arizona
Number of locations
33 theatres with 501 screens (2020)
Area served
Arizona, California, Colorado and Oklahoma
Key people
Mike Bowers, CEO
OwnerDan Harkins
Number of employees
about 3,000 (as of May 2009)[1]
ParentHarkins Enterprises, LLC
WebsiteOfficial Website

Harkins Theatres is an American 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 33 theaters with 501 screens throughout Arizona, California, Colorado, and Oklahoma.



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 in 1907.[2] [3]

Early years[edit]

In 1934, Red Harkins built an outdoor theater in Tempe Beach Park, which lasted for only one summer. Afterward, in 1940, Harkins built the College Theater (currently Harkins Valley Art). The theater contained innovations such as glow-in-the-dark carpets, headphones for the hearing impaired, and automatic drinking fountains. The theater is significant in that it is Tempe's only Depression-era theater.

The last theater opened by Red Harkins was the "Camelview 5" theater in 1973.[4] The Camelview 5 closed down in December 2015 and the "Camelview at Fashion Square" location opened as a 14-theater space in the Scottsdale Fashion Square mall.

Dan Harkins[edit]

In 1974, Dwight Harkins died, leaving the company to his wife, Viola. Dwight had 6 children. At that time the company was near bankruptcy. After reworking the company, Dan, Dwight's 4th son, extensively expanded the theatre chain from five locations in the Phoenix, Arizona area to the current 33 locations in four states - Oklahoma, Colorado, Arizona, and Southern California. The Texas Southlake location was operational until November 2, 2020.

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 the 1940 Walt Disney animated film Fantasia 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 early 1990s, Harkins acquired several theaters operated by Mann Theatres. Most of the theaters acquired were a result of a lawsuit.[5]

In 1988, Harkins re-opened the Cine Capri theater in Phoenix. The original Cine Capri was the largest screen in Arizona, measuring more than 70 feet (21 m) long. Despite over 200,000 signatures in a preservation effort led primarily by KTAR's Pat McMahon, the theater was demolished in 1998.[10][11]

In 2003, a newer version of the Cine Capri theater opened at the Scottsdale 101 14 multiplex.[12] Harkins Theatres also built Cine Capri auditoriums at its Bricktown 16 (Oklahoma City, OK), Northfield 18 (Denver, CO),[13] Southlake 14 (Southlake, TX) and Tempe Marketplace 16 (Tempe, AZ) locations.[14]

In November 2004, Harkins opened its Yuma Palms 14 location in Yuma, Arizona. The first film shown at this location was The Polar Express.[15][16]

Harkins Theatre Bricktown 16 in Oklahoma City, OK.
Harkins Scottsdale 101 14 in Phoenix, AZ during the Phoenix Film Festival.
Harkins Yuma Palms 14 in Yuma, AZ.

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

Harkins opened two additional California locations, Mountain Grove 16 (Redlands, Ca) and Cerritos 16 (Cerritos, Ca) in 2016. Both theaters include "Harkins Ultimate Lounger" recliner chairs, reserved seating, an in Lobby Bar that serves local craft beers and wine, a play center, and a "Cinè 1" theater. The Cinè 1 is a modern incarnation of the Cinè Capri, and features an over 80' foot screen, laser video projection, and Dolby Atmos sound; the Cinè 1 can also seat over 400 guests.

On December 10, 2009, Harkins Theatres began to lease the IMAX theater right next to its own theater at Arizona Mills from IMAX Corporation. The location was immediately renamed "Harkins Arizona Mills Luxury 25 Cinemas with IMAX" and features Arizona's only full sized IMAX screen. The first movie to be shown in the newly acquired theater was James Cameron's Avatar from 20th Century Fox in IMAX 3D.[17]

In May 2013, Harkins reopened the former Tower Theaters in Tucson, Arizona, and renamed it "Harkins Arizona Pavilions 12". The theater holds 12 screens and is currently the second theater in Tucson and the third in southern Arizona.

In December 2015, Harkins merged two of its theaters in Scottsdale, Arizona, while closing two of its former facilities. On December 7, 2015, Harkins closed Fashion Square 7 and on December 10, Camelview 5 was also shut down. Camelview's spirit of independent and art circuit films, plus the running of mainstream movies were brought into the Harkins Camelview at Fashion Square 14 that opened on December 17 prior to the release of Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

"This theater will be a moviegoer's dream come true," said company owner Dan Harkins. "We intend to transplant the soul of our beloved Camelview into this amazing new cinema. Independent, foreign, and art films are a part of our DNA and we are proud to be able to continue and expand Camelview's legacy to include even more films in a dazzling new venue."[18]

Camelview at Fashion Square 14 contains a variety of amenities including more art, independent and foreign films; "Harkins' Ultimate Lounger" plush leather reclining seats; reserved seating; 14 curved, wall-to-wall screens; 4K digital projection and Dolby digital sound; a gourmet concessions stand with an expanded menu including Harkins' award-winning popcorn and a variety of hot food items; Harkins' Lobby Café featuring espresso drinks, desserts and small plates; the "Vérité Lounge", an indoor/outdoor rooftop terrace serving cocktails, wine and beer including local craft favorites, and architecturally minimalist modern movie palace decor.

Temporary 2020 closure[edit]

On March 16, 2020, Harkins Theatres temporarily closed all of its movie theaters until the end of the month due to the COVID-19 pandemic.[19] Harkins Theatres has since reopened theatres in Arizona, Colorado, and Oklahoma. The reopening of their theatres is consistent with following the most current and up to date health safety protocols. Safety protocols include, wearing masks (except while eating or drinking in seats), thorough sanitation of theatres, and social distancing.[20]

Exiting The Texas Market[edit]

On November 2, 2020, after 15 years of showing the newest releases to movie fans everywhere, Harkins Southlake 14 closed its doors permanently.[21] According to a media release, the theater made the difficult decision to close permanently after management was unable to come to economic terms with the Southlake Town Square landlord. It was the only Harkins theater located in Texas, as its website listed.

Art and independent film[edit]

The Harkins Art Film Society brings art and independent films to the theater chain. Harkins Valley Art and Harkins Camelview at Fashion Square 14 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.[22]

Harkins Theatres hosts several film festivals each year.

  • The Phoenix Film Festival – Harkins Theatres Scottsdale 101 (Scottsdale, Arizona)[23]
  • The Scottsdale International Film Festival – Harkins Theatres Shea 14 (Scottsdale, Arizona)[24]
  • The Greater Phoenix Jewish Film Festival – Harkins Theatres Camelview at Fashion Square 14 (Scottsdale, Arizona)
  • DeadCENTER Film Festival – Harkins Theatres Bricktown 16 (Oklahoma City, Oklahoma)[25]


In 1997, Harkins Theatres Superstition Springs 25 was the first theater in Arizona to obtain THX Certification in all 25 auditoriums.[26]

In 2000, Harkins Theatres began introducing PlayCenters in their theaters, allowing parents to see a movie while their children are in a supervised environment.[27]

In 2011, Harkins Theatres upgraded more than 400 of its screens to digital projection.[28]

Summer Movie Fun (SMF)[edit]

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.[29][30]

Guest Loyalty Program[edit]

Harkins Theatres sells souvenir loyalty cups with a different movie-related theme each year. Customers who purchase a loyalty cup can bring it back to receive $2.00 refills for the year.[31]

Starting in late 2017, Harkins began offering their guests the opportunity to join their new rewards program called My Harkins Awards. This program rewards frequent movie-goers with points on every qualifying purchase. Members of the program also periodically receive promotions and exclusive offers as part of their membership.[32]

Additionally, guests may purchase Popcorn Perks, which entitles them to 36 free medium-sized popcorns in a 12-month period.[32] Harkins previously sold loyalty T-shirts, which allowed guests who wore it to a Harkins to be entitled to receive a free medium-sized popcorn during each visit throughout the year.[33] The Popcorn Perks program replaced the T-shirt program, setting a limit on how many popcorn vouchers a guest may redeem per year to how many "Perks" the guest has purchased. A portion of every Popcorn Perk sold goes to Phoenix Children's Hospital Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders.[33]


Main Competitors[edit]


  1. ^ Harkins Theatres (20 May 2009). HARKINS THEATRES 75TH SPECIAL PT 2 OF 5. Archived from the original on 2021-12-21 – via YouTube.
  2. ^ Dwight Harkins Biography
  3. ^ "Piece of Tempe history bought on eBay for $50".
  4. ^ "Harkins Valley Art maintains its historical charm". www.azcentral.com.
  5. ^ a b "Harkins comes to town: All-digital theater opens Friday". www.mobilitytechzone.com.
  6. ^ "PHXated - Politics and More. Lots More". phxated.com. Archived from the original on 2012-07-13. Retrieved 2012-05-08.
  7. ^ "Valley moviegoers ignoring the recession". www.azcentral.com.
  8. ^ Burgess, Michelle. "70 Years of Harkins".
  9. ^ "Weekly Guests - 80's, Now and Everything in Between". Archived from the original on 2012-09-12. Retrieved 2012-05-08.
  10. ^ "Cine Capri owner vows to save theater". The Daily Courier. October 5, 1997 – via Google News.
  11. ^ "Cine Capri theater closes after three decades". The Daily Courier. December 29, 1997 – via Google News.
  12. ^ Giblin, Paul. "Ciné Capri recaptures film glory".
  13. ^ "Movie theater chain enters market". March 27, 2006.
  14. ^ "Help Center - the Arizona Republic".[dead link]
  15. ^ "Harkins Yuma Palms 14". Cinema Treasures. Cinema Treasures. Retrieved May 29, 2018.
  16. ^ Lobeck, Joyce (November 11, 2004). "14 screens, no waiting". Yuma Sun. Yuma Sun. Retrieved May 29, 2018.
  17. ^ "Harkins acquires Imax at Arizona Mills". December 11, 2009.
  18. ^ "Harkins to replace Camelview with 14-screen theater at Scottsdale Fashion Square". December 19, 2013.
  19. ^ Bashore, Cody (March 16, 2020). "Harkins Theatres closing through March 31". Arizona Daily Sun. Retrieved October 14, 2020.
  20. ^ Goodykoontz, Bill (August 25, 2020). "Harkins movie theaters will reopen all Arizona locations. Here's what you need to know". AZ Central. Retrieved October 14, 2020.
  21. ^ Dunn, David (November 1, 2020). "Harkins Southlake 14 To Close Permanently". Southlake Style. Retrieved October 29, 2020.
  22. ^ Ducey, Lynn (March 21, 2010). "Harkins Theatres to screen opera, ballet performances as alternatives".
  23. ^ "Center seeks lift from Phoenix Film Festival".
  24. ^ Lawton, Claire (19 July 2011). "Upcoming Scottsdale International Film Festival Moves to Harkins Shea".
  25. ^ "Film Threat - 2009 Deadcenter Film Festival Announces Dates". Archived from the original on 2012-05-18. Retrieved 2012-04-16.
  26. ^ "Harkins Superstition Springs 25 Luxury Cinemas". Cinema Treasures. Cinema Treasures, LLC. Retrieved June 9, 2018.
  27. ^ Janovsky, Julie (March 30, 2007). "New Harkins Theater in Gilbert Offers Child Care Center". East Valley Tribune. East Valley Tribune. Retrieved June 9, 2018.
  28. ^ "Christie Signs D-Cinema Deals with Harkins, Southern Theatres". FilmJournal International. FilmJournal International. November 30, 2011. Retrieved June 9, 2018.
  29. ^ McGregor, Nicole (April 13, 2010). "Summer Movie Program with Harkins Theatres". Az Central. USA Today. Retrieved June 9, 2018.
  30. ^ "Summer Movie Fun". Harkins Theatres. Harkins Enterprises. Retrieved June 9, 2018.
  31. ^ Frigerio, Josh (December 7, 2017). "Harkins Theatres Introduces New Loyalty Programs for 2018". ABC 15 Arizona. The E.W. Scripps Co. Retrieved June 9, 2018.
  32. ^ a b "Terms & Conditions". Harkins Theatres. Harkins Enterprises. Retrieved June 9, 2018.
  33. ^ a b "No Harkins Loyalty Shirts in 2018. Harkins Cups Are Still a Thing, Though". Az Central. USA Today. Retrieved June 9, 2018.
  34. ^ Loback, Joyce (November 14, 2018). "Almighty Home-run Location". Yuma Sun. Freedom Communications. Retrieved June 14, 2018.
  35. ^ Fortier, Shanna (April 27, 2018). "It's Showtime at Harkins Arvada 14". Arvada Press. Colorado Community Media. Retrieved April 27, 2018.
  36. ^ "The Bourne Ultimatum Oklahoma City Premiere". The Oklahoman. 14 July 2007. Retrieved 2007-07-14.
  37. ^ "Matt Damon to Premiere New Movie in OKC". Archived from the original on 2013-04-03.
  38. ^ "Harkins Tempe Marketplace wins 'X-Men Origins: Wolverine' premiere". April 20, 2009.

External links[edit]