Walmart has found one of the few things they don’t already sell — and is about to scratch it off the list. According to a statement issued this morning, the retailer will soon begin an experiment in selling movie tickets. It will be the first store to ever double as a box office in this way, offering fans their earliest chance to score one of about a million tickets to June 13 advance screenings of the upcoming Superman movie Man of Steel (which opens the following day).
The screenings will be held at more than 2,000 theaters, with non-Walmart ticket sales for the events beginning a few days after the May 18 on-sale date at stores. Walmart customers will also get bonus digital content with their tickets.
In the statement, Dan Fellman, president of domestic distribution for Man of Steel studio Warner Bros., praised the synergy opportunities in the partnership:
We know the movie delivers and believe this unique partnership will kick off strong word of mouth that, thanks to the reach and immediacy of social media, will propel moviegoers to theaters nationwide.
The feelings were echoed on Walmart’s side, by Laura Philips, senior VP of entertainment for Walmart U.S.:
Walmart’s premiere of ‘Man of Steel’ once again proves we have the ambition and studio partnerships to develop unique retail programs that give our customers access to the movies they love.
According to Variety, the partnership will probably help box-office sales for the screenings as well as sales of tie-in merchandise and home video by seizing on people who are already in stores, while also helping Walmart by drawing in more fans as shoppers. The report also states that Walmart was involved in choosing which local theaters would participate in the screenings — should ticket-selling take off, the retailer stands to influence the movie-theater business even after Superman flies away.
But logic dictates that the trend will be limited to major blockbusters and advance screenings. Until Walmart actually has theaters inside their stores, it’s unlikely to become the first stop on a last-minute movie-date night.