Cine Capri Theatre

2323 East Camelback Road,
Phoenix, AZ 85016

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Showing 51 - 75 of 92 comments

garryclark on October 24, 2007 at 8:58 pm

I can still recall the excitement of seeing and experiencing the interior of Cine Capri in the 1966. I was about nine years old and the movie was the Blue Max. The articulated curtain raising was very interesting to see as a young whipper snapper. Our next door neighbor in Scottsdale of 16 years (62-78) was the manager of all ABC theatres in Phoenix until he resigned in 1974. A nice family man by the name of Harry Karp who used to give our family free passes over the years (Blue Max being the first).

terrywade on August 12, 2007 at 6:32 pm

The first Cine Capri I think had a D-150 big curved screen? The new one does not have the wrap around curve look on the screen,just a small curve. At least they have a curtain! Long live the Cine Capri!

AtomicAge on February 5, 2007 at 2:52 am

Michael Coate,

Interesting, I had always heard that the 70mm prints were not made until a month or two into the run. However it appears from your information that my recollection about the showing at the Cine Capri is correct. They started with a 35mm release on May 25, 1977; 70mm began Sep. 14, 1977. I doubt at the time that they were able play the optical Dolby stereo track on the 35mm print assuming it wasn’t one of the mono prints. Having seen Star Wars about 10 or 15 times over the year that it ran at the Cine Capri I do remember how dramatic change in the sound was when they finely got the 70mm print.

Coate on January 29, 2007 at 9:50 pm

I have a copy of that Salt Lake City newspaper article regarding the CENTRE’s “Star Wars” upgrade to 70mm! It was published in August of ‘77. Similar articles were published in many other newspapers across the country.

Atomic Age:
There were definitely 70mm blow-up prints of “Star Wars” available on the movie’s opening day. My research indicates there were eight of them and the theatres in which they were booked are identified in my retrospective article “May 25, 1977: A Day Long Remembered.”

View link

And here’s a companion piece that lists the 70mm engagements throughout the movie’s entire run, including the upgrade locations, which includes Phoenix and the CINE CAPRI.

View link

Tmannheim48 on January 17, 2007 at 9:10 pm

All this discussion of STAR WARS brings back a lot of memories.

I worked for Plitt Theaters during the time that the original STAR WARS trilogy of movies were made. It’s interesting that different memories exist on the precise presentation method used and FWIW I’ll throw in my own two cents.

Our prime houses in Chicago, Los Angeles, Salt Lake and Phoenix were a part of the initial break around Memorial Day of 1977, but my recollection is that stereo presentations were heard only in our Los Angeles and Chicago houses. The other theaters had to wait until Dolby could manufacture additional cinema processors.

Orders went through the roof when STAR WARS came on the scene, especially for the CP 100 model which could do the full blown six channel magnetic and is what we ordered for several of our houses, but it took quite a while for Dolby to get these units made and installed. I don’t have any dates, but our prime houses other than L.A. and Chicago that had booked STAR WARS would have probably started showing it with a stereo track a few months into the booking. At some point I know Phoenix started running a 70mm print as did our house in SLC and I think a second venue in L.A.. I remember in SLC the local paper wrote a big article about us when we finally got the CP 100 installed and received a 70mm stereo print. Wow…what an experience!

AtomicAge on January 13, 2007 at 5:57 pm

My understanding is that Star Wars had NO 70mm prints for the first 3 or 4 months of its release. The Studio had no faith in the movie at all and didn’t want to spend the money on a 70mm blow up. After it was clear that it was a hit, only then did 70mm prints become available.

What was seen for the first 3 or 4 months of its run at the Cine Capri was a 35mm print either mono or Dolby Stereo encoded. Dolby Stereo encoded prints could be run on a mono optical reader. You would not have heard stereo with Star Wars at the Cine Capri until they got the 70mm prints sometime in late August or early September of 77.

bh1866 on December 26, 2006 at 11:24 am

The valley Art theatre was (at least in the 70’s) run by the sherpix company, a company that also produced broadway shows. In the mid seventies the valley was run by Nancy Sher, and the projectionist was Mr. Bill Gregg who had run there since the 1940’s.

To chime in on the star wars debate; (I was also there for the special Nick Salerno screening). The Print was 35mm, we were all very suprised to hear that.There were 35mm mag prints made as well as non dolby 70mm prints made. By the way there were 35mm mag prints made for Empire also.You can’t always judge how a print played by the newspaper ads, (just look at all the errors in the red book of widescreen movies). And yes there are still old folks around who do remember how these movies were run.

The valley was not Harkins first or even one of his first theatres. Before Danny Harkins took over the operation in the mid seventies, the chain was run by his father Dwight. Some of the first Harkins theatres I remember were the Cammelview, the theatre in that mall on Thomas around 36th st. The one with the big antenna masts (not thomas mall) and a couple on the west side.

When I moved to Phoenix In the summer of 1966, the movie I remember playing at the cine capri was The Blue Max. Seems like it play there forever. Most of those road show presentations played for 3 to 6 months or more.

What was the name of the food court next to the cine capri. It was one of the first food courts I ever saw, with maybe 8 to 10 different food stands. One stand had a bob’s big boy style double hamberger, which in 1966 was still unusual.

The thing hurt the most about 24th and camellback was when they tore up all that pretty grass on the corner, to build another building. That lawn was one of the prettiest in phoenix.

Capriperson on September 15, 2006 at 6:38 pm

Back comments:

“Kent Peterson” is right about Cine Capri’s lineage. The media was a little lax in that department. Harkins' was a relative Johnny-come-lately in Cine Capri history.

“p” is right about Caf' Casino. It was right next to the Cine Capri. There was another one near but not next to the El Camino, too. It offered French cuisine in a cafeteria setting. This was back in the days when we had a middle class in America. It was a little fancy trip that wouldn’t break the budget.

“RobbKCity” is right about the “Valley Art” in downtown Tempe. It was on Mill Avenue in Tempe (and as far as I know its still there.) It was one of Harkin’s first if not the first theatre. It predates the University and University II. It was there back when Mill Avenue was “Old Town” Tempe and not an annoying chain store mall. Anybody remember the elderly gentleman who was the projectionist for a long time in 70s, 80s?

“New Cine Capri.” In my opinion the “new Cine Capri” is not a new Cine Capri, but simply another megaplex with the name.

Coate on March 25, 2006 at 9:36 pm

It seems reasonable that a non-Dolby-encoded mag stereo print could have been what the Cine Capri ran during the initial weeks of the film’s release…except that I am not aware of any such prints being made, at least for distribution in the U.S. “Star Wars,” if you’ll recall, was the first attempt at a “wide” release in Dolby Stereo. To support that, I believe all of the prints struck for distribution during the initial limited-market launch (43 engagements; May 25-27, 1977) were Dolby-encoded, whether or not they actually got played in that format. (From mid-June ‘77 onward, the majority of the 35mm prints in circulation were genuine Academy mono prints. With this in mind, what else besides a Dolby-encode could’ve been on the optical track of those early prints? And if they were mag-striped, the optical track would have been compromised since half of it would have been covered by one of the mag stripes.)

Only about 2/3rds of the inital-wave theatres actually had a Dolby System installed in time for the release, so I suppose it is possible that, to give those theatres an opportunity to show off the film’s stereophonic mix, special mag prints were provided until those theeatres had a Dolby unit installed. But I don’t buy that, at least not for every situation, since none of those theatres in question were promoting any presentation format in their newspaper advertising, and I really don’t believe Dolby (the company) had any clout at that time to dictate advertising and promotional terms.

In my mind, with perhaps an occasional exception, “No Advertising = Monaural Sound Presentation.”

One other possibility: Phoenix did start out with a 70mm print. I do believe at one time Phoenix was considered for a 70 since that market’s advance advertising mentions 70mm and Dolby. But by the day before the film’s release, those tags disappeared and would not return until four months later. And the month in which those notations re-appeared coincides with the Dolby CP100 install date…

But we’re going in circles because if they started out with a stereo presentation, no matter what the exact format, why wouldn’t it have been promoted???

I’m not sure anyone really knows for sure, and this event was so many years ago that folks' memories, even if they’re correct, can and should be questioned. As for my reasons for researching this stuff, I hope the readers here understand where I’m coming from. That is, as a journalist or historian, if I’m writing an article or a book or whatever, by necessity I’m forced (no pun intended) to take a serious, research-oriented approach, and I much prefer to acquire information via documentation and published info rather than someone’s memory.

William on March 15, 2006 at 11:35 am

With the debate that Channing and Michael had about the High-Fidelity of the sound during the opening weeks of “Star Wars” at the Capri. The most likely system at the time during the mid 60’s was an Ampex system. Many of the RoadShow theatres of the time used full Ampex Stereo systems. That would give the theatre mono, 4-Track Magnetic stereo from a 35mm print and a Full 6-Tracks of Magnetic Stereo sound in 70MM. This was before Dolby started releasing Dolby Stereo prints in 35mm and 70MM. After reading Michael’s Always Great research on the release of the film in all markets. And Channing’s memory of that time. The only thing I came up with was did FOX
release the film in 35mm 4-Track non-Dolby encoded Magnetic Stereo? Fox has done that in the past with other titles in 35mm 4-Track Stereo before Dolby. For theatres that were not Dolby equipped at the time of release. Because some theatre owners were still in the wait and see mode about this new Dolby Stereo format and studios still struck non-encoded prints. And 35mm 4-Track Stereo was still in use till the very early 80’s.

dlshields on February 5, 2006 at 5:55 am

The Cine Capri was truly a grand theater. I grew up in Phoenix and lived there from 1961 to 1991. I lived less than a mile down the road from the theater (23rd St & Indian School Rd) and have many fond memories of attending movies there. The ones I can clearly recall were The Jungle Book, True Grit, Jaws and Star Wars. I also remember going to see gas-powered remote control race cars being raced around the Cine Capri parking lot on Saturday mornings by local clubs. What a shame they tore the place down. They just don’t make ‘em like that any more. Even if they came close in size, they could never reproduce the atmosphere.

Does anyone out there have any photos of the inside?

Patrick H Friel
Patrick H Friel on January 30, 2006 at 1:27 pm

The picture posted by Lost Memory is, certainly, a picture of the Harkins' Cine-Capri but it’s the new Cine-Capri in Scottsdale not the Cine-Capri that is the subject of this page.

9262692 on November 12, 2005 at 7:33 pm

I saw my first movie, the Lion King, at the Cine Capri.

xdouggx on August 21, 2005 at 9:07 pm

Who remembers seeing COMIN' AT YA (in 3-D) at the Cine Capri? When they light the fuse – you’re holding the dynamite. Man, that movie SUCKED – but we went a bunch of times because the 3-D was so entertaining. It was the first of the 1980’s 3-D revival movies…

byronf on July 15, 2005 at 10:07 am

Nice to hear from other people who also have fond memories of the old Cine Capri. I saw Star Wars there when I was 7. I also saw some great movies there such as Alien, and Aliens. Alien scared the hell out of me at the time. The re-release of Star Wars was the last movie I watched there.

I also remember the old Kachina theater in Scottsdale that others have mentioned. The last movie I saw there was E.T. before they tore it down to make room for the Gallaria I believe.

There was actually an effort that existed for a few years to save the Cine Capri. The writing was on the wall for a while before it was actually torn down, but the realestate in the area really exploded. It didn’t help when the Ritz was built next door.

Coate on June 27, 2005 at 6:26 am

Another Cine Capri/“Star Wars” tidbit…

Variety, 12 July 1978:
“13 Months, $3-Mil: ‘Star Wars’ Ends Arizona Record”

Fox’s “Star Wars” has cracked all previous records for consecutive showings for a film in Arizona. The Cine Capri in Phoenix has given five daily performances for 13 months. The showings brought in some 850,000 viewers yielding receipts of approximately $3,000,000.

The 800-seat cinema, under the banner of the Plitt Intermountain chain, used up three prints of the film and augmented the soundtrack with additional Dolby Stereo.

Closing date for “Star Wars” is now July 20, to be succeeded by Fox’s “Damien: Omen II.”

Coate on June 23, 2005 at 12:56 am

If you’re remembering your opening day experience as being “high-fidelity” then this would suggest a stereo presentation, and “LOUD!” would suggest six-track magnetic from a 70mm print. Perhaps.

But… I’ve performed a considerable amount of research on the topic of this movie and the results of this work suggest to me that, contrary to the memories of many, many folks, most presentations of “Star Wars” in 1977 were mono.

My reasons for believing the Cine Capri began showing “Star Wars” in mono are due to the following:

1) No presentation format notations present in the Phoenix area newspaper advertisements.

2) Beginning in September 1977, four months after the release, notations for a 70mm and six-track Dolby Stereo presentation began to appear in the newspaper ads.

3) Access to Dolby Labs' installation records reveal an install date of September 1977 for a Dolby CP100 unit.

4) A Dolby trade ad which reproduced a list of the original opening engagements and their opening-day box office tally included check marks next to those engagements presented in Dolby Stereo. The Phoenix entry was left unmarked.

5) Trade press during the initial weeks of the movie’s release indicated the availability of eight 70mm prints. I have the original newspaper ads specific to each market for each of the 43 original engagements and the 70mm notations add up to eight…and they were booked into theatres in the Los Angeles, New York, and San Francisco markets.

6) I’m unaware of any stereo sound systems that were compatible with Dolby prints having been available in spring 1977. Perhaps there were some, but basic business sense would question why there would be competition for a yet-to-be-successful company.

7) With the exception of the optical mono prints that circulated, I’m unaware of any non-Dolby-encoded 70mm prints made available for this movie for the U.S. If there were in fact non-Dolby 70mm prints, that is what the Cine Capri may have received and what you may have experienced. But then the print number reference in the trades would not be correct AND why wouldn’t the theatre advertise a 70mm and/or stereo presentation AND why would the Cine Capri four months later tout how their presentation was “Now in 70mm…”?

8) I understand that the genuine mono prints were not available until a few weeks after the film’s release. So, this would suggest the initial mono presentations were from a Dolby print. In other words, I am under the impression that the Cine Capri received a 35mm optical Dolby Stereo print…but not having the ability to play it in stereo through a Dolby processor since they had not yet installed such a unit. Perhaps one of the projectionists or Plitt engineers fussed with their system and somehow managed to derive some form of stereo out of it. Just a guess, but that explanation seems to be the only way both of us can be correct.

channing on June 20, 2005 at 8:43 am

Regarding the possible presentation of STAR WARS in mono — the Cine Capri had state-of-the-art (for its time) six-track stereophonic sound system that was very good. This was used in a lot of the hard-ticket road show films shown at the theatre including (THE BIBLE IN THE BEGINNING, SOUNG OF NORWAY, PAINT YOUR WAGON, etc). My guess is that there was some kind of stereo sound print available for STAR WARS in this type of system. If I’m correct, early DOLBY in the theatres was a sound clarity and noise reduction system — not like today’s DOLBY digital on synched CD so perhaps the initial prints of STAR WARS were six-track or something similar and the Dolby that was initially added a few months later was the noise reduction system. In any case, I was at the screening of STAR WARS on the opening day at the Cine Capri (w/ASU Prof. Nick Salerno’s film club) around 5 PM and there were two things I distinctly remember — 1) the amazing crowd — I knew nothing about the film and wondered how all these people knew to show up fo the opening day and 2) the incredible sound — when that opening music came on with the credits at the beginning it was definitely high-fidelity stereo and LOUD!

Coate on June 20, 2005 at 6:52 am

“I believe the Cine Capri opened in 1961 with El Cid.” (acmeron)

“The Cine Capri was built in 1965 and 66' as a roadshow hard ticket theatre. It opened in the spring of 1966 with THE AGONY AND THE ECSTASY.” (eadkins)

“eadkins” is correct. I have a photocopy of the grand opening newspaper ad and can confirm a spring 1966 opening (March 31 for those who care about such details) with the debut attraction being “The Agony And The Ecstasy.” Charlton Heston attended the grand opening event.

Coate on June 19, 2005 at 7:25 am

The Cine Capri was among the theatres included in the original limited-market launch of “Star Wars.” The Cine Capri’s 5/25/77 opening-day gross, according to Daily Variety, was a house record $6,518.

Coate on June 8, 2005 at 4:51 am

“This was the first area theater to get Dolby Stereo (4, & 6 Track) and showed "Star Wars” exclusively for almost two years.“ (from intro, Sly Dog)

Dolby CP100 installed in September 1977. (“Star Wars” opened in May so, yes, this means they ran the movie in MONO for the first few months.)

The Cine Capri engagement of “Star Wars” ran for 60 weeks (May 25, 1977 – July 20, 1978). That’s certainly a loooong time, but isn’t 60 weeks a lot closer to one year than the two claimed in the theatre intro? Perhaps people think of these types of situations as being two-year engagements since the run ocurred over the span of two separate calendar years….

unclclay on June 7, 2005 at 11:15 pm

I lived in Phoenix during the 90s. If I wanted to go to the movies, I went to Centerpoint 11 in Tempe, AMC Esplanade 14, etc. (regular movie theaters) However, if I wanted to go SEE a movie (and I’m sure you understand the distinction), I went to the Ciné Capri. I saw the last good Star Trek movie there, the re-releases of the Star Wars movies, Evita….

I was in Albuquerque for 6 months during 1996-97. Before I left Phoenix, one of the last things I did was go to the Ciné Capri; when I got back and went looking for it, it was just a gaping hole in the ground. I had no idea that it was gone until that moment. I honestly thought I was going to cry.

24th Street and Camelback is now home to the “ugly piece of glass crap” that ‘mama’ called it earlier. I’ve never frequented any of the businesses that moved into the site, and if I get my way, I never will. The loss of the Ciné Capri—especially for with what they replaced it—was a truly sad moment for Phoenix. I’ve not yet been to the new Ciné Capri up in Scottsdale (I’m in New Mexico again for a little while), but I intend to go when I return to the Valley in the fall. I know it won’t be the Ciné Capri anymore; I just hope that there’s finally another place in Phoenix to go to SEE a movie.

So, who remembers the ‘UA 5’ in Scottsdale? Where the SMOCA is now? Old, kinda run down theatre, but still swank like they used to build ‘em. (Loved those “mushroom” benches in the lobby!)

abenezra on May 24, 2005 at 12:36 pm

UM: The theatre you’re talking about I believe was called the University Theatre. By the time I moved to Phoenix in 1987, it was the University 2. That leads me to believe it’s the same place. By then it was a second-run theatre. They tried to modernize it with neon lights, but by that time, it was just old. They tore it down a few years later and now there’s a mini-storage facility on the land.

Does anyone have photos or memories of the place?


EoGuy on May 18, 2005 at 10:30 am

I’m confused. The street address given for the new Cine Capri is 7000 E Mayo Blvd, Scottsdale but it’s in a county island surrounded by Phoenix. I couldn’t even find it on an Internet map until I entered Phoenix instead of Scottsdale.


moviemirage on May 9, 2005 at 8:55 am

I have fond memories of Cine Capri. As well as the Caf Casino. I must have seen Empire Strikes Back about a dozen times there. The last movie I saw there was the re-release of Lawrence Of Arabia.