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Fri, Feb. 21

Feud between theater owners excalating

PRESCOTT VALLEY ­ The feud between the owners of both area theaters is escalating.

Theater owners Dan Harkins and Gene Harvey are at odds more than ever as both theaters are showing five of the same movies.

"The Departed" was the first movie to appear simultaneously on screens at Harkins Theatre Prescott Valley 14 and Frontier Village Cinema 10 in Prescott.

"Man of the Year," "The Grudge 2,"Open Season" and "The Marine" started showing at both locations Friday.

Harkins contends the move "cannibalizes" his customer base, while Harvey disputes that and welcomes the change.

"For unknown reasons Warner Bros. (studios) called us and asked if we would experiment with 'The Departed' and we agreed to the experiment of trying a simultaneous run," Harkins said. "The result is that the Gene Harvey theater definitely cannibalized some of my attendance but in the end our attendance was still double that of Gene Harvey's."

Harvey disputed Harkins' assertion that the same movies appearing at both theaters is an experiment.

"Harkins is calling it 'an experiment' because he's hoping it's a temporary situation," he said. "It actually is a change of policy on the part of the film companies."

Hearing Harkins' argument that his theater is taking away from his attendance surprised Harvey.

"I would just say I would expect a successful business man like himself to understand what competition is," he said. "I don't understand why he doesn't want the chips to fall where they may. We are not cannibalizing his audience. The numbers don't show that. He's doing just fine."

The bad blood between the two men started in early July when they were at odds over airing new releases of major motion pictures simultaneously in the tri-city area.

Harvey argued that the community is big enough for each theater to show blockbuster movies.

Harkins said the community isn't big enough to support that and running the same movies at both theaters cuts into the number of available screens to show other movies.

Harvey's theater had major movies including "The Omen," "Cars" and "Superman Returns" earlier this summer.

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