Walmart looks to improve summer with drive-in movies, virtual summer camp

David Salazar
Managing Editor
David Salazar profile picture

With summer 2020 shaping up to be one largely devoid of pool parties, big family vacations and summer camp, Walmart is stepping in to bring a little excitement to the season. The retailer is rolling out two experiential offerings meant to help families enjoy the summer while social distancing — drive-in movies and a star-studded virtual summer camp. 

“Summer hasn’t really felt like summer yet, and I know I hear every day, ‘Mom, I’m bored!’” Janey Whiteside, chief customer officer at Walmart said. “Through our digital means and vast footprint of stores, we’re hoping to bring some summer fun to families across the country. We know Walmart plays a role in our communities that extends far beyond getting them necessary supplies, and we see that now more than ever.”

Walmart will be converting the parking lots of 160 stores nationwide into drive-in movie theaters, with movies programmed by Tribeca Enterprises’ Tribeca Drive-in team. The 320 showings will start in August, offering hit family-friendly movies, special appearances by filmmakers and celebs, and concessions delivered directly to vehicles. Running through October, the drive-in offering also makes shopping easy via its curbside pickup offering. 

“Drive-Ins have been a signature program for Tribeca since we started the Tribeca Film Festival 19 years ago after 9/11,” said Jane Rosenthal, CEO and co-founder of Tribeca Enterprises and Tribeca Film Festival. "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."

Before Walmart makes over its parking lots, the retailer also is partnering with Tribeca Drive-in to serve as a presenting partner for the organization’s summer movie series, which started July 2. Tribeca Drive-in will be screening modern classics and family favorites via ticketed and free events for frontline workers in Arlington, Texas; Pasadena, Calif.; Nassau County, N.Y.; and Orchard Beach in the Bronx. 

With screenings taking place at night, Walmart also has launched a solution for getting kids through long summer days. Camp by Walmart is a virtual summer camp produced in partnership with CAMP, a Family Experience company, and powered by interactive video platform eko. Celebrities include Drew Barrymore, Neil Patrick Harris, LeBron James, Idina Menzel and Todd Oldham, all serving as camp counselors, leading kids through sessions on everything from arts and crafts to fitness and other activities. 

Camp by Walmart launches July 8 in the Walmart app with 50 activities. Throughout the summer, the company plans to add more activities.