With the pandemic putting drive-in back in the spotlight, Walmart is capitalizing on the nostalgic craze by transforming 160 of its parking lots into stores into open-air theaters, including 14 in North Texas.
Stores in the area are among the retailer’s stores taking advantage of the hole left by classic theaters, which closed in mid-March. While some have opened with increased cleaning practices, not all moviegoers feel safe, but sitting nearby with strangers for two hours.
Walmart’s film tour, which launches nationwide on August 14 and runs through October 21, kicks off locally at Prosper at 7:30 p.m. on August 14 (see full list of local screenings below or by visiting thewalmartdrivein .com.)
In all, Walmart is planning 320 free movie screenings for the whole family, including ghost hunters, The Wizard of Oz, Black Panther, AND the extraterrestrial and Friday night lights. Actress Drew Barrymore will host each event – virtually or in person at a surprise location.
Store parking spaces will serve as movie seats for cars and be socially remote, allowing attendees to keep their distance in ways that regular theaters cannot. Each car requires a ticket, reserved in advance, and it must have access to the FM radio to hear the sound. Cars will be parked at random or depending on their size.
Here are the dates and locations in Dallas-Fort Worth (all screenings start at 7:30 p.m.):
- 14-15 août: Prosper, 500 Richland Blvd.
- August 18-19: Plano, 425, chemin Coit.
- 21-22 août: The Colony, 4691 State Highway 121.
- 25-26 août: Frisco, 355 Stonebrook Pkwy.
- 1-2 septembre: Roanoke, 1228 N. US Highway 377.
- September 4-5: Bedford, 4101 State Highway 121.
- 8-9 septembre: Grand Prairie, 2225 W. Interstate 20.
- 2-3 octobre: McKinney, 2041 Redbud Blvd.
- 6-7 octobre: Irving, 1635 Market Place Blvd.
- 9-10 octobre: Irving, 4100 W. Airport Freeway.
- 9-10 octobre: Rockwall, E. Interstate 30.
- 13-14 octobre: Denton, 2750 W University Dr.
- 13-14 octobre: Wylie, 2050 TX-78.
- 20-21 octobre: Murphy, 115 W. FM 544.
Part of the classic movie experience that might be missing? Pop corn. Walmart recommends that attendees bring their own snacks.
The films were selected by New York-based Tribeca Enterprises, a cross-platform storytelling company established in 2003 by Robert De Niro and Jane Rosenthal. He runs the Tribeca Film Festival and Tribeca Studios.
Tribeca also offers special guests from the film industry for screenings, including Barrymore, Friday night lights director Peter Berg, Alias l’actrice Jennifer Garner, Los Angeles Laker LeBron James et It’s us actress Chrissy Metz. They will appear in person in one place and virtually to others.
There are only about 325 drive-ins in operation today, including 20 in Texas – a far cry from their 1950s heyday when there were more than 4,000 locations. In North Texas, drive-ins in Dallas, Fort Worth and Ennis have reported sold-out shows, and a pop-up outdoor theater recently opened in Richardson. Fun Movie Grill in Irving has also turned its parking lot into a drive-in.
Cinemas are under pressure to reopen after having virtually zero income for four months.
Plano-based Cinemark, the third-largest theater company with 555 locations in the United States and Latin America, first experimented with re-openings in June at select theaters in North Texas. It is moving forward now and plans to open the rest of its theaters by the end of August.
Film distributors have been proactive over the past week, taking bold steps to adapt to the change associated with the pandemic by watching movies safely online.
Disney plans to launch its highly anticipated live-action remake of Mulan, which was originally slated to hit theaters in July, simultaneously in theaters and on its new Disney Plus streaming platform on September 4. In addition, Universal and AMC have reached an agreement to reduce the length of time films are shown in theaters before they are released online for viewing.