The wait is nearly over for Waynesboro movie-goers. They've had to drive to cinemas in other cities for more than a decade, but that will change Friday with the opening of the Zeus Digital Theater.

The Zeus still looks like a construction zone, both outside and in. However, the owner of the $8 million multiplex says everything is planned down to the minute, and the house lights will dim for the first movie Friday afternoon.

Zeus was king of the Greek Gods, and there's a reason his name is attached to this theater. Zeus Theatre Owner Brett Hayes said, "Nobody else has this experience. This is the Zeus experience. It's a fantasy world and movies are fantasy and we want it to be fantastic."

That means eight all-digital screens, and two of them are in 3-D. Each cinema has rumbling surround sound and stadium seating with leather recliners. There's also a movie memorabilia store and a throne room for birthday parties.

Hayes expects Zeus to pump at least $200,000 a year into Waynesboro's economy. It could kick start development of surrounding commercial land. Waynesboro Economic Director Greg Hitchin said, "There's plenty of sites in this neighboring area for restaurants or other opportunities to expand the commercial district from Rosser and from Main; kind of join in the middle here, so we would certainly encourage and welcome that."

Hayes said, "I would like to see a restaurant in front of my theater within three months of opening. If this works as well as I expect it to then I'll probably be adding onto it."

However, the work right now is just getting it open. Dozens of contractors and employees have been working to get the theatre ready to open for Friday. They're erecting Greek columns in the lobby and stocking the concession stands. Outside, it's finishing sidewalks and striping the parking lot. Hayes says it's all planned down to the moment and right on schedule.

Reported by Ken Slack
See Bio / Email