(Updated Aug. 7 – Scroll to the bottom of this article for a list of upcoming movies and locations.)
An unfortunate side-effect of the COVID-19 pandemic has been the untimely demise of movie theaters as we know them. For months, theaters have shuttered their doors, and the much-needed distractions we depend on from Hollywood have been out of our lives — with some upcoming features delayed indefinitely.
As depressing as this reality is, it’s not hard to see why opening theaters again would be a bad idea. An enclosed space like a theater, with hundreds of people packed inside together for hours at a time, would become a viral cesspool in a matter of hours. No amount of hand sanitizer and soap can change that. Tap or click here to see the best ways to prevent COVID-19.
But movies and entertainment are sorely missed, and bringing them in some form would be a huge boost to morale across the country. Well, get ready to grab some popcorn, because Walmart has figured out a way to bring the cinema roaring back to life in shades of classic Americana: The Drive-in movie theater. Yes, this is actually happening.
A retro solution to a modern problem
Walmart has officially announced that it’s partnering with Tribeca to deliver a full-fledged drive-in movie experience to store parking lots across the nation. As movie theaters continue their months-long shutdown, this would provide movie-lovers and studios alike a new opportunity to premier movies without the massive threat of COVID-19
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 will be converting its own parking lots into drive-in theaters complete with concessions like drinks and popcorn. Audio will be remotely broadcast into every car during the show, which means you won’t miss out on a moment of action on screen. Tap or click here to see some of our favorite gadgets for your car.
Drive-in movie theaters have never completely gone away, but they have declined massively in popularity since their peak in the 1950s. Walmart’s efforts would be a shot-in-the-arm for a vintage form of movie consumption, as well as a potential revival for the film industry in general.
This is a fantastic idea for several reasons. Americans want to see movies again but are concerned for their health and well-being during the pandemic. This manages to address both concerns while taking advantage of existing space. After all, we’re pretty sure only Ikea has bigger parking lots per-capita than Walmart.
Plus, the drive-in is an undeniable slice of Americana. While we may not see parking lots full of hot-rods and poodle skirts like yesteryear, the nostalgic experience is one that everybody can enjoy together.
Regardless of what happens, there’s one thing that we can all benefit from at the drive-in: It’s much, much easier to smuggle in snacks from the convenience store by hiding them in your glove box instead of a bulky jacket. Those $8 boxes of chocolate can take a hike.
What’s playing and where can you experience the new Walmart Drive-ins?
This pop-up event is touring the country and visiting 160 Walmart Supercenter locations. Gates open at 6 p.m. and the film begins at 7:30 p.m. No late entry is allowed.
The good news is tickets are free, but must be requested in advance. Tickets will not be available at the gate.
Here is a list of upcoming movies that you will be able to see at this cool concept:
- “Wonder Woman”
- “Spy Kids”
- “Space Jam”
- “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse”
- “The Wizard of Oz”
- “Black Panther”
- “E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial”
- “Friday Night Lights”
You can watch catch one of these movies at one of 160 locations. To find the one closest to you and request tickets, tap or click here and search by city or state. You’ll also find info on things like what’s OK to bring and what’s not.
No matter what your thoughts on Walmart are, this is a very cool idea and a great way for families to feel normal again — if only for just a little while.