More on Harkins’ acquisition of the Arizona Mills IMAX

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I got quite a few comments and questions in response to last night’s post noting the purchase of the IMAX theater at Arizona Mills mall by local moviehouse chain Harkins Theatres. I contacted Harkins spokesman Bryan Laurel to try and get some more information.

theatre_4523_00Laurel told me via e-mail that the current Harkins theater operation at the mall will be unaffected by the acquisition of the IMAX theater. The combined operation will be known as the Harkins Arizona Mills 25 with IMAX.

“It will be treated as one facility,” Laurel said.

He would not elaborate on staffing or comment on one reader’s suggestion that there had been layoffs at the IMAX facility, other than to say it “will be operated as part of the Arizona Mills” Harkins operation.

Harkins’ press release, reprinted after the jump via EV Living, said the company will immediately begin showing first-run films made in IMAX format (such as Avatar) on the same day as the film opens in other Valley theaters. This prompted another anonymous reader to ask: “So, no typical IMAX stuff anymore or will they fit that around the other things?”

According to Laurel, non-Hollywood fare like nature and science films will be shown on the IMAX screen “on a limited basis for school groups.”

The terms of the deal, and how long it has been in the works, were not disclosed.

Scottsdale, Ariz – Harkins Theatres announced today the acquisition of the state’s only six-story IMAX theatre. This big move by Harkins Theatres marks the first IMAX theatre in the Harkins chain.

Harkins Theatres will immediately begin showing first run films made available in IMAX format on the same day as the film opens in other theatres across the Valley.

The first film featured at the new Harkins Arizona Mills IMAX will be James Cameron’s highly anticipated 3D IMAX film Avatar, opening with a midnight showing on Thursday, December 17, prior to Friday’s nationwide opening.

“This latest chapter in the Harkins Theatres story is just another example of our dedication to providing moviegoers with the absolute best moviegoing experience possible,” said Dan Harkins, Owner and CEO of Harkins Theatres. “Ultimate moviegoing just got bigger!”

The acquisition will take place immediately. A complete overhaul of the theatre is scheduled to begin in late January 2010 to reflect the Harkins brand. This remodel will bring the award-winning design, look and feel of Harkins Theatres into the existing IMAX facility. The overhaul includes an all-new box office, redesigned concession stand, restrooms, and lobby featuring Harkins’ signature amenities, including a fusion of neon, marble, granite, custom wall finishes and theatrical lighting. Once the remodel is complete, Harkins IMAX at Arizona Mills will boast the same expanded concession stand offerings as all other Harkins locations including Freschetta Pizza, White Castle Cheeseburgers, Churros and French fries, just to name a few.

“We’re thrilled to add the IMAX to what is already one of the most popular theatres in the state”, said Mike Bowers, President and COO of Scottsdale-based Harkins Theatres.

Tickets for Avatar will available at beginning Friday, December 11.

Other upcoming IMAX 3D films include Disney’s Alice In Wonderland starring Johnny Depp opening March, 2010, DreamWorks Animation’s How To Train Your Dragon opening March, 2010 and Shrek Forever After opening May, 2010 and Tron Legacy opening December, 2010.

Harkins Arizona Mills and Imax is located at 5000 Arizona Mills Circle, Tempe, AZ 85282.

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