Century Theatres was a movie theater chain which operated many multiplexes in the western United States; primarily in California, Nevada, Utah, New Mexico, and Arizona. In recent years, they have expanded into the inter-mountain states, the Pacific Northwest, Texas, and parts of the Midwest. Founded in 1941, the chain was headquartered in San Rafael, California until it was acquired by Cinemark Theaters from Plano, Texas in 2006.
The company was originally known as Syufy Enterprises, but the company started using the name "Century Theatres" in the early 1990s.
Century Theatres has a long history of litigation against its much larger competitor, AMC Theatres, for alleged anti-competitive behavior. However, since the late-1990s, both sides have generally refrained from suing each other.
On August 8, 2006, Texas-based chain Cinemark Theatres announced that it had completed a purchase agreement under which Century Theatres will be acquired with a combination of cash and stock from Cinemark's parent company. The transition to Cinemark was completed on Thursday, October 5, 2006, with the exception of the Century 21, 22, and 23 theatres in San Jose, which were transferred back to their original company, Syufy Enterprises, and operate under the name "Winchester Theatres". The company's drive-in theatres and swap-meets were also not part of the merger and reverted back to Syufy Enterprises ownership, as well. They now operate under the brand-name "West Wind Drive-Ins and Public Markets".
Recently, Century Theaters has been criticized for their conflict of interest policy regarding management dating the lower ranking staff members. No formal complaints have been filed. However, there is a legality issue on whether or not a 25 year old manager can date a 16 year old employee.