The Screening Elite

The new breed of screening room is more reminiscent of the private kind found in Robert Evans home or on the Bel-Air screening circuit. They are usually designed by architects and interior decorators who would be on Ms. Siegal’s list and almost always are within a few feet of a bar. The Tribeca Grand’s subterranean screening room has its own, located just outside the theater’s entrance. (Less vital, but still important is access to catering, or at least a few good restaurants.)

For Tribeca Grand creative director Tommy Saleh, a man who speaks in a tempered Egyptian accent, the hotel is a modern-day Algonquin, and the hotel’s screening room is based on “a vision of almost like Gertrude Stein, 1920’s Paris.” He even acknowledged that the hotel exerts a certain amount of discrimination when it comes to which celebrities’ asses they want in their screening-room seats. “I don’t want to mention, oh, the Olsen sisters or the Hilton sisters are coming in,” Mr. Saleh said. “It’s kind of like in keeping your integrity, you’re going to have longevity.”

For instance, Mr. Saleh seemed particularly proud that the Tribeca Grand’s screening room served as the setting for an early screening of Sofia Coppola’s Lost in Translation .

The Soho House is no different. In fact, on Nov. 13, Ms. Coppola will serve as the host of a screening of the 1965 film Darling , which starred Julie Christie, and will benefit The Week , a weekly newsmagazine that has no stake in the Oscar race, but is just as publicity-hungry as Miramax or Focus Features. (Ask Ms. Brown’s husband, Harry Evans, who is the publication’s consulting editor.) The posh members-only club, inspired by its across-the-pond predecessor, was recently the site of what may have been the most special special screening of them all: In mid-October, according to the New York Post , actress Nicole Kidman and her beau Lenny Kravitz caught a private, pre-release screening of Kill Bill there. The article didn’t mention whether anyone else was present at the screening or whether the couple made use of the Soho House’s White Room, with its zebra shag- Oh Behave! -carpets and fully stocked bar. But perhaps the beauty if it was that Ms. Kidman didn’t have to invite any press to her special screening. She just had to have someone leak it for her and then let everyone’s imagination go to work.

The only complaint that some special screening organizers have of the room is that it is a bit small. With a capacity of only 43, some companies have been forced to split up their screenings to accommodate all of their guests. But Mr. Geary countered that this complaint only underscores the screening room’s biggest draw: it’s privacy.

“It’s just sort of clandestine,” said Mr. Geary.

And Ms. Kidman’s and Mr. Kravitz’s viewing of Kill Bill underscores why special screenings are the future of movie marketing. On Oct. 7 Miramax threw a big premiere for Kill Bill at the Ziegfeld Theater, followed by a party at Noche. Now ask yourself which one of those screenings you’d like to know more about.

The Screening Elite