There is a pleasant entertainment development underway for film enthusiasts in good ol' America. With the COVID-19 outbreak, theaters across the United States as well as abroad have been forced to temporarily shut down so as to mitigate in-person coronavirus transmission. But, we could soon return to a much-loved element of socializing: watching movies in public. Tribeca Enterprises announced today that it's partnered with Walmart to offer drive-in movies.
The Hollywood Reporter notes that these drive-in theaters will open in some Walmart parking lots. Limited launch aside, it's uplifting news for anyone dying to watch a film and enjoy grubby junk food in the open.
The pause in consumer traffic has devastated many companies. Chains like the AMC Entertainment Holdings have witnessed their stocks fall nearly 30 percent in just two weeks, according to The Wall Street Journal. IMAX witnessed its shares fall by 24 percent. Other operators like Cineworld Group and Cinemark have also undergone economic setbacks due to COVID-19 lockdowns.
Who is getting the drive-ins? — The partnership currently boasts over 30 film titles and will run movies every weekend in July in these locations:
- The Orchard and Nickerson beaches in New York.
- Rose Bowl, California.
- Arlington, Texas.
- Miami, Florida.
Perfect for COVID-19 times — The co-founder and CEO of the Tribeca Enterprises and Tribeca Film Festival, Jane Rosenthal, said that drive-in theaters are nothing new for the company.
"Drive-ins have been a signature program for Tribeca since we started the Tribeca Film Festival 19 years ago after 9/11," Rosenthal told The Hollywood Reporter. "But now, the Tribeca Drive-In is much more than a fun, retro way to see movies — it’s one of the safest ways for communities to gather. We are thrilled to partner with Walmart to bring more people together around the shared cinematic experiences that Tribeca is known for."
A drive-in theater run in a parking lot sounds much safer than sitting in a packed theater where the notion of six-feet-distancing is physically impossible. So when it comes to an epidemic-induced response, this partnership between Walmart and Tribeca Enterprises is not only creative; it is welcome and far more medically sound than sitting inside a packed room.
Heartwarming bonus — If you're a frontline or health care worker, you're entitled to special screenings and concessions from local businesses. A tiny bit of relief in stressful times.