Tribeca, AT&T, IMAX on Community Theater Drive-Ins

Marquee on small town movie theater.

Movie theaters across the country are closed due to the lockdowns. But some are seeing an upturn in the wake of social distancing practices. Tribeca, IMAX, and AT&T will be launching a summer movie series to drive-in community theater businesses in the US.

Tribeca Enterprises, the company behind the Tribeca Film Festival, has announced on Wednesday its plans for Tribeca Drive-in.

It will feature a curated selection of movies both old and new. According to the press release, it will be alongside special music and sporting events.

The series will commence on June 25th, although programming information isn’t available yet. Dates for specific cities and what films will be shown have not been provided as of the moment. However, more info will be available in the coming weeks.

The series will use IMAX’s digital remastering process. This will enhance both the image and sound quality of the films that play in these theaters.

Throughout the series, Tribeca will be working with local vendors to support small businesses. Such theaters have big community components. It wants to ensure that those communities have representation to make it feel unique.

Suppressed demand to get out of the house and watch movies in a community setting will propel people into theaters.

Approximately 5 to 10 percent of such theater owners across the country are seeing increases in revenue. This was according to Jim Kopp, the administrative secretary for the United Drive-In Theatre Owners Association.

But that’s still a relatively small number as several community theater businesses have faced forced closures. Many states have prohibited mass gatherings right now amid the coronavirus outbreak.

Availability of New Movies for Community Theater Drive-Ins

Sign painted on a building, landmark "Tribeca Film Festival"

John Vincent, president of the UDITOA said under 10% of community theater drive-ins in the U.S. have remained open. Albeit those theaters remained open, concession stands have closed. Moreover, additional social-distancing protocols are being implemented.

Theaters may be open, but one of the crucial ways they make revenue which is selling concessions remains down. As Tribeca teamed up with IMAX and AT&T, more theaters could reopen. It could drive business up in theaters that are currently operating.

Vincent said he knows many drive-ins really appreciate the opportunity to work with the Tribeca Enterprises team. This is to bring content to their screens in this much-needed environment.

Tribeca, AT&T, and IMAX will be launching a summer movie drive-in series for community theater drive-ins. The question is, whether new movies will be available to play this summer.

They hope new movies from studios like Disney, Warner Bros. (owned by AT&T), and Universal can already be shown. Some movies will delay showing until later in the year, while some will move to 2021 release dates.

Two of the earliest movies set for released this summer are Tenet and Mulan in July. But these could still face delays if Warner Bros. and Disney don’t think the audience turnout is there.

 If that’s the case, these drive-in community theater businesses may have to rely on repertoire programming. These are smaller independent films, and special events to drive people’s cars into the lots instead of big-budget pictures.

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