Harkins Camelview 5 in Scottsdale to Close, Reopen as Luxury Cinema in 2015

Categories: Film and TV

harkins_camelview_5_scottsdale.JPG
Benjamin Leatherman
The Camelview you know and love will soon cease to exist.
Like an indie oasis in the desert of mega-cine 30-screen Real-D IMAX cinemas, Harkins Camelview 5 was almost too good for its own good. Specializing in art house, independent, and foreign flicks that you really couldn't see in any other theater in metro Phoenix, Camelview likely served as a date spot for you at least once. Ya know, when you were really trying to impress someone.

Although preservationists battled to keep Camelview open, Harkins announced that it will be closing the beloved theater and opening a swanky luxury cinema in its place.

See also: Preservationists Trying to Save Scottsdale's Harkins Camelview 5 Theater from Possible Demolition

Unless your movie-watching relies solely on Netflix and Redbox, chances are you've been to Camelview, which opened in 1973. Maybe you saw your favorite Wes Anderson or Lars von Trier movie for the first time. Maybe you made eyes at some hottie during a foreign film there. Regardless of your personal experience, the theater offers a unique experience that many Facebook groups and petitions sought to keep open when plans to tear down Camelview initially surfaced.

Unfortunately, despite the efforts of a Facebook group of nearly 700 members and more than 6,000 signatures on the petition to preserve the historic location, Camelview as we know it will cease to exist by spring 2015. Much as it did with the revamping of the historic Cine-Capri theater before it, Harkins plans to open in Camelview's place a 14-screen luxury cinema attached to Scottsdale Fashion Square's newest mall expansion, on the northwest corner of Scottsdale and Camelback roads. It's unclear at this point what exactly will be built over the old Camelview location. E-mails and calls to Macerich, the company that owns many malls including Scottsdale Fashion Square, were not immediately returned.

Update: Kimberly Hastings from Macerich responded to our questions by saying, "At this time we do not have plans for the current locations, but as plans unfold we will be sharing our vision."

Plans for the new luxury iteration of Camelview, which will use the same name, feature a fancy menu, plush "ultimate lounger" chairs, 3-D sound, reserved seating, and even espresso -- just in case opportunities haven't come up for you to feel superior in other theaters. The new Camelview will also feature an indoor-outdoor rooftop terrace bar called the Vérité lounge, complete with cocktails, wines, and craft local brews.

The silver lining to all this is that there are plans to still showcase the art, indie, foreign, and one-of-a-kind flicks that made old Camelview a must-stop. Currently, Harkins is saving face with promises of expanding the smaller theaters' current artsy repertoire, while adding the best of the best wide releases into the mix. Though we're wary of the whole deal, we can only take Dan Harkins' word for it.

"This theater will be a moviegoer's dream come true," he says. "We intend to transplant the soul of our beloved Camelview into this amazing new cinema. Independent, foreign, and art films are a part of our DNA and we are proud to be able to continue and expand Camelview's legacy to include even more films in a dazzling new venue."

The current Camelview cinema, along with Harkins cinema inside the mall, will continue operating until the new theater is ready to open next year.

Editor's note: This post has been updated from its original version with new information.

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Location Info

Venue

Map

Scottsdale Fashion Square

7014 East Camelback Road, Scottsdale, AZ

Category: General

Harkins Camelview 5

7001 E. Highland Ave., Scottsdale, AZ

Category: Film

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61 comments
Kerry Boesen
Kerry Boesen

NO!!!!! Where else will we get the good movies??? :(

Rachel Byland
Rachel Byland

Part of what made Camelview so great was not having to deal with mall rats. So bummed out.

Troy Rutman
Troy Rutman

NOOOOOOO. where will we see real film in this town?

Tramell Salkey
Tramell Salkey

so ... two harkins theatres at the same mall or will the one inside be closing also

Kevin Bilder
Kevin Bilder

I am so sad to see this wonderful treasure turn into a mega-plex!

Micah Black
Micah Black

Nobody is playing these movies anywhere else in Phoenix because Harkins won't allow it (borderline (probably outright) illegal deals with film distributors.

Jeff Kee
Jeff Kee

Why build another mega-plex it's not like Harkins is suffering for cash? Luxury theatre means they are going to charge $15 to $20 dollars per movie just like AMC Esplanade and IPic Theatre. Sorry guy, I doubt I'll ever go if they have all the same movie they show elsewhere.

Charles Blonkenfeld
Charles Blonkenfeld

I always hated that theatre because I grew up on the west side of Phx and the we never got the cool movies so I'm glad to see it go

Fer Sepulveda
Fer Sepulveda

so sad to see it go... so many history and memories .that big corporations don't give a Fuck !!!

Shane Az
Shane Az

First off,the land doesn't belong to Harkins. It belongs to the mall owners. They're the ones who want more parking for their "revamped" mall. Second, how does anyone know the new one won't be just as nostalgic for future generations? Just food for thought. ;)

Greater Phoenix Jewish Film Festival
Greater Phoenix Jewish Film Festival

Glad we're able to get one more of our Greater Phoenix Jewish Film Festival in there before it's shuttered. Sad, sad news, but hopefully Harkins' promise to keep showing independent/foreign films will be upheld when the new fancy schmancy theater arrives.

Jennifer Bauer Wolff
Jennifer Bauer Wolff

I dont understand why they can't update the space versus getting rid of it. Its sad that all the interesting buildings get demo'd for newer ones..... Those older building are what create character and charm.

Diane D'Angelo
Diane D'Angelo

The Valley will not be seen as place for smart people until leadership realizes that preserving the past is a good thing in and of itself.

Amy Has Design
Amy Has Design

What was Harkins just not good enough for Scottsdale people? Guess it just wasn't "luxury" enough...

Michael Swann
Michael Swann

i never went to cine capri . they dont pay any money there anyway even for manager

Rita Mary
Rita Mary

A rare gem in a desert wasteland of cinema multiplex chains. Phooey!

WeShow Valencia
WeShow Valencia

Well at least I still have the film bar to watch some indies

Rose Mitchem
Rose Mitchem

This is getting freaking ridiculous. I worked at camelview in high school, this theater is a rare gem. No one is playing these movies anywhere else. Why close it for a "luxury" theater? For fake leather seating, a beer in plastic cups, and a seat that vibrates your fat ass @ $16 a head!? FRUSTRATING!

Andrea Christophel
Andrea Christophel

As much as people here say modern movies are bad, we all secretly end up paying to see them. If we didn't, then movie companies would make different products.

Ali Askari
Ali Askari

SAD NEWS! I used to come here as a kid and teenager to see great indie films, which helped inspire me to become a filmmaker. I live in LA now where I have great theaters to choose from but I'll never forget this great theater back home!

Tyburn Gallows
Tyburn Gallows

Saying they'll still show independent and art films is one thing, but will we proles still be able to afford it after it goes luxury?

Kevin Gassman
Kevin Gassman

bye bye any chance of being somewhat sophisticated. Bring on Transformers!

Conni Colella-Ersland
Conni Colella-Ersland

Although I feel a wave of nostalgia, the seats were old and uncomfortable and it really needed updating.

Angie Rivera
Angie Rivera

Yes Michael Swann, because Hollywood keeps betting on franchises and remakes. The good movies are on Netflix, Apple Store and film festivals.

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