Warmer weather means blockbuster movies in the theaters and this year is no exception. Avengers: Endgame is closing in on $3 billion (yes, that’s a “b”) in worldwide ticket sales after being out a month. Meanwhile, a lot of buzz is accompanying Dark Phoenix, the latest in the X-Men franchise, and Toy Story 4, both of which will grace screens next month.
It seemed like a good time to check in with the folks at Harkins Theatres, who run Flagstaff’s multiplex on the east side of the city. Harkins has become the largest independently-owned theater company in the country, with 34 theaters in five states operating more than 500 screens.
We got a chance to talk with Harkins President and CEO Mike Bowers recently about the company’s history in Flagstaff.
How long has there been a Harkins Theatre in Flagstaff? Harkins Theatres has been in Flagstaff for more than 20 years. The original Harkins Flagstaff 11 opened in 1997 and was a very important part of our history because it was our first theatre with stadium seating.
How is business since the move from the west side of the city to the Marketplace on the east side? The opening of Harkins Flagstaff 16 has allowed us to provide an enhanced moviegoing experience for Flagstaff moviegoers with more screens, more seats, more parking, upgraded concessions and state-of-the-art audio and visual technology. The additional screens have allowed us to open more movies in Flagstaff, including a wider variety of films. The move has been a big success for Harkins and for our guests.
In an era of streaming and early release to video, how do theater companies like Harkins keep movie-going popular? Going to the movies continues to be the most affordable out-of-home entertainment experience. Our approach is to continue to make moviegoing an event and provide our guests with the best in technology, concessions and amenities. We know that there is no better way to experience movies than on a huge screen with Harkins’ delicious popcorn. We also continually develop new programs and series that offer great value to our moviegoers, such as our Loyalty Cups, Popcorn Perks, Tuesday Night Classics, Musical Mondays, and many more.
We understand Flagstaff actually played a role in the creation of Harkins. Flagstaff will always hold a special place in our hearts at Harkins because it’s an essential part of our company’s history. Our founder, Red Harkins, left his hometown of Cincinnati in 1931 on his Harley Davidson, determined to join the movie business in Hollywood. His Harley broke down in Flagstaff and he ended up loving it so much that he decided to make Arizona his home. In 1933, Red opened the first Harkins Theatre in Tempe.
When Red passed away in 1974, he left his business in the hands of his eldest son, Dan, who was only 21 at the time. Dan is Harkins’ current owner and executive chairman.
We are proud to be a local Arizona company and are grateful to be able to reinvest in the Flagstaff community with a new theatre that provides our guests with the best moviegoing experience possible.
You can learn more about Harkins Theatres, or plan on your next movie outing, by going to the Harkins website at Harkins.com.