Official opening of Danbarry Cinemas with the cutting of the ribbon

CHILLICOTHE— Danbarry Cinemas celebrated its grand reopening on Friday with a ribbon cutting and a special Batman appearance.

The theater closed in March 2021, leaving Chillicothe with no place to watch new films for over a year. The 10-screen cinema on Pawnee Road was purchased by new owners Cora and Josh Willett and reopened in November 2021.

“Movies are an escape, a date night, a place where families come and make memories,” Cora said. “Chillicothe Cinemas is committed to keeping these possibilities alive.”

The couple restored the building by thoroughly cleaning the ceiling, walls, floors, seating and concessions area. They also added extra insulation for noise reduction.

Cora said she based some remodeling decisions on past complaints about the theater on Facebook. She said some reviews complained of poor sound and a yellowing picture.

So Cora and her team chose to invest in the experience.

They started by replacing all ten projectors with a mix of Christie laser projectors and bulb projectors for a crisp, clean image. They also upgraded the sound equipment to Dolby 7.1 surround sound.

Cora gave special thanks to three employees, Tabby Kidd, Abe Leonard and Zac Boring, who worked at the theater before it closed and returned for the reopening. Cora said the trio have shown true dedication to the building through their cleaning and training efforts.

Danbarry Cinemas celebrated their grand reopening with cinema-themed cupcakes.

Danbarry Cinemas opened in 2005 with “Batman Begins.” Today the theater held its grand reopening with “The Batman”. To celebrate, the company baked themed cupcakes, brought in a new Batman video game, and invited the superhero himself.

Batman came to meet the fans at the cinema and present the 7 p.m. show with a motivational message.

Members of the Chillicothe Ross Chamber of Commerce came out to support the newly reopened business. Mike Throne, the chamber manager, was there to welcome the first-run films to Chillicothe.

Throne said the Chamber of Commerce has been calling movie chains, attempting to fill the empty building and re-show new movies. The Willetts came to answer the call.

“Luckily Cora Willett and a new group of owners saw that vision,” Throne said. “After 18 months they reopened last October and we are here today to officially welcome the new group of owners to Chillicothe and cut the ribbon for their investment in Chillicothe.”

The husband and wife duo, who also owned TriCity Theater in Jackson and Silver Screen VII in Gallipolis, intend to continue improving the theater to provide a better cinematic experience.

“We don’t guarantee it’s perfect, but it’s definitely a lot better,” Josh said. “We will continue to work on this and improve as we grow and become more involved in the community and the community continues to support us.”

Megan Becker is a reporter for the Chillicothe Gazette. She can be reached at 740-349-1106, email her at mbecker@gannett.com or follow her on Twitter @BeckerReporting

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