Harkins Theatres was established in Phoenix, Arizona, in 1933. The theater was founded by Dwight Harkins when he was 18 years old.
Harkins opened the theater during the Great Depression. He was one of the youngest theater owners in the world at the time and the first theater he opened was called the State Theatre, located in Tempe.
By 1940, Harkins opened another theater, this one with state-of-the-art effects. This theater, the College Theatre, has features such as glow-in-the-dark flooring.
As of 2015, there are 30 Harkins Theatres in five states. It is one of the largest theater chains in the world.