Walmart Goes To The Drive-In, Uses Parking Lots For Entertainment

Walmart is treaming with Tribeca Partners to expand Tribeca’s drive-in summer series effort using the major retailer’s big parking lots for consumers to screen films in their cars.

Some 160 Walmart parking lots will allow viewers to have a socially distanced big-screen experience amid the coronavirus pandemic. The series is running from August through October.

Tribeca Partners, part of Tribeca Enterprises, started by Robert De Niro and Jane Rosenthal in 2003, has operated its Tribeca Drive-In series for nearly 20 years -- as long as its Tribeca Film Festival has been around.

This summer, in addition to Walmart, the drive-in series this year will run in other venues in July and August, including Los Angeles, New York, Arlington, Texas, Miami and Seattle, among other cities.

Movies will include Tribeca-produced movies/content, as well as movies from the Tribeca Film Festival. This year’s line-up includes “Jaws,” “E.T. The Extra-Terrestial,” “The Never Ending Story,” “The Wizard of Oz,” “Apollo 13,” "Space Jam," “Field of Dreams” and “Creed.”



We are now seeing sharply rising COVID-19 cases and states looking to re-close bars, restaurants, and movie theaters — basically, anything which attracts crowd inside buildings, arenas, etc. So, Walmart’s move makes sense.

And, in that vein, since March, Walmart offered its locations in a different kind of outdoor setting — to provide COVID-19 testing. By mid-May, Walmart says it has exceeded the goal of opening 100 sites. By the end of June, it tested some 123,000 people.

Of course, Walmart isn’t new to the movie business -- even as its looks to compete with Amazon, which seems to want to sell everything.

Walmart last big effort was around Vudu, its longtime on-demand video service. In April, Walmart announced it was selling Vudu to Fandango, movie ticketing company, for an undisclosed sum.

While Tribeca's drive-in effort was started long before pandemic issues, we expect a good number of Walmart feature movie consumers might still like the old-fashion way of dealing with movie-related stuff --  like eating popcorn with kernels left behind on in-theater movie theater seats, not car seats.

Perhaps Walmart should also start up a car-cleaning service, as well.

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