Catch a movie in your swimming stuff at Dimun waterpark over the summer months
Time Out Bahrain staff
Since it first opened two years ago, the Lost Paradise of Dilmun has become one of Bahrain’s most popular family attractions, thanks to its mix of slides, sprays and pools. As of September 3, there will be another reason to visit, when the park launches its ‘dive-in’ movies. The concept is simple – enjoy the park as normal during the day, then when darkness falls head to the wave pool where a giant cinema screen awaits. Then relax on a sun lounger or tuber while floating in the water, eat popcorn and watch a movie, all at no extra cost.
The idea is the brainchild of Paul Blunt (pictured above), the park’s general manager, who is no stranger to the concept. ‘It’s something I’ve been involved with in various parks all over the world,’ Paul reveals. ‘We launched it at the Wet ’n’ Wild park on the Gold Coast in Australia, and it went down very well. It just creates a nice family atmosphere. It came about because the classic drive-in movies were closing, and it’s something that offers a nice alternative to the usual experience you get at the cinema.’
Regulars to the park may remember the jet ski shows of last year, which proved popular. Paul and his team wanted a similar added-value incentive, and dive-in movies were the answer. ‘It took us a while to source the equipment we needed,’ says Paul. ‘We tried locally at first, but it just wasn’t up to standard. The acoustics really have to be taken into account – it’s 70 metres across the wave pool to the beach at the back. You get echoing, and the sound can be out of sync. In the end we got an outdoor expert to come over from Australia, from a company called Blue Sheddon Group. They test all of their equipment in studios, so they know what works. They got us audio equipment from Germany, a screen from Hong Kong and a 35mm projector from Australia.’
As well as creating the right sound and picture, the equipment has to be able to withstand dust, water and the intense Bahrain heat. The screen itself is made from a very strong canvas, with a ladder around it that inflates, and stabilisers to secure everything in place. This means the screen can be removed when necessary, and the stage above the wave pool is still usable for other events. Speakers are located around the pool, which Paul says provide the same Dolby experience you’d expect from any cinema.
With the school holidays and Ramadan, this seemed like the perfect time to launch the promotion, and a family-orientated movie will now be shown every Thursday, Friday and Saturday, starting at 7pm. The plan is to run with it until the end of the year, with the possibility of it extending into 2010 and additional nights being added, with a movie every day during Eid. ‘It’ll be PG-13 movies or lower,’ Paul confirms. ‘Mainly comedies and action/adventure films – perhaps some Arabic films for the second Eid if we can source them – and on ladies’ nights, which will start up again after Ramadan, we’ll show romantic comedies. We’ll be serving cinema-style food as well before the movie starts, so you can get popcorn, nachos and hot dogs.’
The full schedule is still being worked on, but the question remains as to which movies will be shown. ‘It’ll be family classics – Shrek, Superman, Harry Potter, Yes Man, Benjamin Button,’ says Paul, revealing a few that are likely to be screened. ‘It’s a DVD-based system, so we show what’s already available on the format. People watch movies on DVD at home, but this is a nice alternative. We’re not trying to compete with the cinema here. That’s not to say we couldn’t show newer movies – we’re actually in talks with a few studios to possibly do this at a later stage and even sell merchandise. But the hardest part is getting the films, talking with the studios and buying the non-theatrical rights to show them in this manner.’
But of course, there could be other challenges. Lifeguards are on hand, but will they get distracted by the films, and what about the wave pool machinery getting bits of popcorn lodged inside it? ‘It’s not a problem,’ laughs Paul. ‘The lifeguards know they are there to watch the water, not the movie, and we rotate them – but the wave pool is shallow, so that limits the danger. And it isn’t turned on during the movie. Obviously we discourage popcorn actually in the water, but it’s not really an issue for us.’ Lost Paradise of Dilmun, Al Areen (17 845 100; www.lpodwaterpark.com). Until September 5, the park is open daily 10am-4pm. From September 6 until Eid, times change to 4pm-midnight. Movies shown Thu-Sat and Eid from 7pm. Park entry costs BD14 for guests over 1.2m, BD5 for under.
Thursdays Sep 3 – Yes Man Sep 10 – Flushed Away Sep 17 – Bee Movie Sep 24 – Licence To Wed