Can Walmart Parking Lots Solve Movie Industry Struggles?

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Does your town have a drive-in theater? Coming this August it just might thanks to Walmart and its plan to take 160 parking lots and turn them into drive-ins. That’s right, the sun goes down and you just might find yourself getting comfortable in your family van to catch Back To The Future or some other classic Walmart gets its hands on.

It was estimated in May that the movie industry would lose $160 billion in growth over five years due to coronavirus. AMC announced last week it would require customers to wear masks in its theaters, leaving Walmart in a position to launch an option for movie fans who aren’t willing to mask up.

From Walmart’s official statement:

For families missing the big screen, Walmart will be working with Tribeca Enterprises for two drive-in experiences. Walmart is transforming 160 of its store parking lots into contact-free drive-in movie theaters where customers can safely gather to watch movies programmed by the Tribeca Drive-in team.

Beginning in August, Walmart will roll out this red carpet experience in towns across the country for a combined 320 showings. This family-friendly night will include hit movies, special appearances from filmmakers and celebrities and concessions delivered right to customer vehicles.

Good idea? It’s an absolutely great idea. I’m a content guy and content guys know that the minute you start mixing Walmarts, parking lots, people arguing about parking spots, movies, etc. we’re talking live-action scenarios where content is going to happen organically. Fights over popcorn. Fights over talking too loudly during Moana.

And it just makes business sense for Walmart. Vans roll in, dump a 12-pack of Dew in the trunk, popcorn and then the customers catch a movie. Some of you laugh at Walmart and can’t stand the business yet here they are always one step ahead.

Check here to see if your town made the Walmart drive-in cut.

Walmart five year chart

Written by Joe Kinsey

Joe Kinsey is the Senior Director of Content of OutKick and the editor of the Morning Screencaps column that examines a variety of stories taking place in real America.

Kinsey is also the founder of OutKick’s Thursday Night Mowing League, America’s largest virtual mowing league.

Kinsey graduated from University of Toledo.


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  1. Drive in movies actually Rock. It’s a great way to see a movie with friends in summer.

    Butt … have you ever been to a Walmart after dark? Scary place. Not all of them, but a super majority of Walmart parking lots are not places where I would go to watch a movie. Maybe Halloween.


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