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In a nutshell: Walmart is as anxious as anyone to get back to theaters this summer… so much so, in fact, that they’re taking matters into their own hands by partnering with Tribeca Enterprises to transform some store parking lots into drive-in movie theaters. It's an interesting proposition but one that also presents some unique challenges.
The big-box retailer said that beginning in August, it will be transforming 160 of its store parking lots across the country into contact-free drive-in movie theaters. The family-friendly night will feature “hit movies” as well as special appearances from celebrities and filmmakers and of course, concessions delivered to customers’ vehicles.
In total, 320 flicks will be screened (two per location) through October although Walmart stopped short of sharing which movies will be shown and at what locations.
Starting in August at select Walmart stores, we’re partnering with @Tribeca and rolling out the red carpet for drive-in movie premieres, complete with car-side 🍿and 🥤service. Stay tuned for more details. See you at the movies! https://t.co/JfUPB6QK8C pic.twitter.com/t4Enk8aYzL— Walmart (@Walmart) July 1, 2020
Walmart is one of the few companies that could probably pull off a makeshift drive-in theater as it has an abundance of the one thing you need the most in that situation – lots of space for vehicles to park. Setting up a projector and screen wouldn’t be all that difficult, nor would getting the necessary short-range broadcast equipment in place to deliver audio to cars via the radio. Plus, most locations have a full service deli and all of the snacks and beverages anyone could ever need for a night at a drive-in.
Converting the parking lot into a temporary drive-in does present some interesting issues, however. For example, Walmart is often crowded, even in the early evening. How will stores manage shopper parking alongside drive-in parking? And what about restrooms? Will Walmart bring in portable toilets or simply have moviegoers use their in-store restrooms?