Pooler cinemases are becoming increasingly rare these days, but not for the reasons you might think.
A recent spate of incidents involving patrons leaving pools at cinemas across Australia has led to concerns that the pool scene may be becoming more of a relic of a bygone era, rather than an integral part of the cultural landscape.
In April, a video surfaced on YouTube of a woman in a blue suit entering a pool at a poolside cinema in Perth’s north.
“This was the last time I saw it,” she says as the camera pans to reveal her head being splashed with pool water.
“The pool is a real place,” she adds, adding: “If I’m going to the cinema to see the pool, I have to be there.”
She’s not alone.
In February, a pool party in Sydney’s outer west was filmed by a bystander who filmed the event and posted it to YouTube.
It quickly went viral and was picked up by local media outlets.
The footage shows a man in a black suit and a yellow shirt walking around the pool area, while two other men stand on the pool’s edge and watch.
One of them holds up a water bottle.
“Oh my god, what’s going on?” the woman cries, pointing at the man who is in a yellow robe and carrying a bottle of water.
“Is it a pool?
I thought it was for men.
What’s going to happen to me?”
The pool scene has been a fixture at Australian cinemas for decades.
At the heart of the pool is the entrance, which is lined with red, white and blue signs that read: “No drinking allowed.”
In recent years, there have been a number of recent incidents involving people leaving pools, including a man who went topless in a swimming pool at Sydney’s Port Macquarie Cinema in April.
In May, a woman was arrested and charged after leaving a pool-side cinema with her daughter in an attempt to leave her.
She later admitted to drinking and using drugs in a hotel room, but police said she was not drunk or using drugs.
Earlier this year, a young woman left a pool in Sydney and was arrested for allegedly trying to leave the pool after a friend left with her.
“It’s not a good time to be in the pool,” she said.
“We need to have a good social awareness in this country.”
A spokesperson for the Pool and Spa Association of Australia said it had been contacted by one of the victims, who said they had never been approached by a pool person before.
“I was in my late teens when I went to a pool and I had a good experience,” she told news.com.au.
“I enjoyed it a lot, I had fun and I didn’t have any problems.”
But the Pool & Spa Association is also concerned about the pool itself.
“A pool is an area where people come to relax, socialise, relax and have fun, and the pool should be a safe place for all,” the spokesperson said.
“It should be safe and it should be accessible to all, not just those who want to drink and drink and party.”