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Harkins CEO: Our theaters will remain closed for a bit longer

Posted at 9:11 AM, Jul 23, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-23 12:15:16-04

PHOENIX — As the novel coronavirus continues to impact people in Arizona and across the country, and Hollywood's studios continue to push back the releases of their films, Harkins Theatres will keep its auditoriums closed for a while longer, Mike Bowers, CEO and president of the Scottsdale-based movie theater chain, said in a letter published late Wednesday.

"On behalf of all of us at Harkins, I’d like to express our deepest gratitude for your continuing support. Like you, we could have never imagined what our country and the world has experienced over the last several months. We also could never have imagined that we would be experiencing such a sustained closure of our business," the letter stated.

"Over the last few weeks, I have written many versions of this letter. In each one, I was very much hoping to join the chorus of companies announcing a reopening date for their business. However, before I could finish writing, circumstances in our communities, and subsequently the movie industry, would change and force further delay in our reopening timeline. Unfortunately, this is also the case today."

"The decision about when and how to reopen our theatres is predicated on two things: first, the ability to deliver a superior moviegoing experience in a way that is safe for our team and our guests, and second, the release of new theatrical movies," he said.

Harkins, like other major movie theater companies, have been closed since March, when cases of COVID-19 swept the country, and states, including Arizona, implemented stay-at-home orders, which forced movie theaters, gyms, and other businesses to close.

Most recently, in response to an uptick in COVID-19 cases in June, Gov. Ducey issued an executive order that re-closed movie theaters, water parks, tubing operators, fitness centers, and bars for 30 days. That order is set to expire on July 27. It is not known if Gov. Ducey will let it expire, extend it, or modify it.

Bowers said the goal is to open a week or two before the major movie studios release their films. Many of those movies, such as Tenet, Mulan, and Wonder Woman 1984, have had their anticipated release dates pushed back, in some cases more than once.

As it stands now, Disney's Mulan is expected to hit theaters on August 31, followed by A Quiet Place 2 on September 4, and Wonder Woman 1984 on October 2. Other movies Bowers listed include Greenland (TBD), Black Widow (Nov. 6), No Time To Die (November 2020) Disney's Soul (Nov. 20), Dune (Dec. 18), Coming 2 America (Dec. 2), and Top Gun: Maverick (Dec. 23).

When Harkins does reopen, Bowers said in his letter that guests should expect social distancing measures to be in place, reduced theater capacity and distanced seating, face mask requirements for employees and guests, protective shields, more cleaning staff, enhanced cleaning, and changes to menus and concessions.

"We understand that even with all this, there may be some guests who will need a little more time to be comfortable before returning to the movies. There will also be guests who would rather wait for our safety protocols to relax. To these guests, we say thank you for your continued loyalty and we will have an amazing moviegoing experience waiting for you when you are ready," Bowers wrote.

Visit https://www.harkins.com/COVID-19 to read the letter.