Screening Room at 1313 Maestro

Here’s how Screening Room at 1313 snared ‘Maestro’

Betsy PriceCulture, Headlines

Screening Room at 1313 Maestro

An audience at the Screening Room at 1313 watches previews. The indie theater has expanded to two screens since opening in February.

If you wanted to see Bradley Cooper’s “Maestro” in Delaware last week, the only place you could was the Screening Room at 1313.

It showed there last weekend — becoming the most popular film yet for the Screening Room, an independent movie theater that opened in the old Hercules building Feb. 17 — and will show again this weekend.

About 200 people came to see the biography of legendary music conductor Leonard Bernstein, played by Philly native and regional favorite Cooper.

He also wrote and directed the movie and has been nominated for Golden Globe acting and directing awards.

The movie ended up at the Screening Room, which now has expanded to two screens, through a connection co-owner Beverly Zimmermann has had in the Boston area for years.

He has always told her to call him if she ever ran into trouble getting a film she wanted.

“Maestro,” owned by Netflix, wasn’t showing in Boston proper, her friend told her, and Netflix was being really picky about who did show it. He was allowed to at Dedham, Massachusetts, about an hour from Boston.

While Zimmermann had contacts at Netflix, they weren’t returning her emails.

He asked if “Maestro” was playing anywhere near her, and she said it was playing in Philly. He said he’d call her back.

Two hours later, he called back and told her “Maestro” was hers because it wasn’t playing anywhere else in Delaware.

“I was over the moon,” Zimmermann said.

She was delighted to be able to keep the movie a second weekend, even as it began screening on Netflix Wednesday.

Zimmermann loved the movie and says it proves Cooper isn’t a one-hit wonder with “A Star is Born,” which earned multiple nominations and won for music.

He’s wonderful in “Maestro” and so is Carey Mulligan, who plays his wife, Zimmermann said.

Before ‘Maestro’

The Screening Room has had more than 3,300 people see movies there since opening.

Zimmermann expects the annual total to rise as the movie industry heads into what she calls high season for independent movies.

That’s because people become more familiar with movies as the year-end acting award nominations come out.

“Business is always dependent on the film itself,” Zimmermann said. “The Golden Globe nominations come out. The Independent Spirit Awards came out. Oscar nominations will be out in January.

“So more people know and, of course,” she says with a laugh, “there’s nothing else to do in January, February. so people will go to the movies.”

Maestro Screening Room at 1313

The Screening Room at 1313 is the only Delaware theater allowed to show Bradley Cooper’s ‘Maestro.’

She’s had a couple of bombs that nobody came to see, but believes that’s because people weren’t familiar with the movie, no matter how good it was.

One movie that did extremely well was the documentary, “Invisible Beauty,” about pioneering Black model Bethann Hardison.

“I always thought the first big Black model was Beverly Johnson, but she wasn’t. It was Bethann Hardison,” Zimmermann said. “She’s in her 80s now and still going strong, and she can pick up the phone to any designer and they answer.”

Zimmermann retired before opening The Screening Room with her friend and business partner Bob Weir.

Now she finds herself working the theater Friday, Saturday and Sunday. On Mondays, she files reports with the distributors. On Wednesdays, she receives the week’s new films and previews and loads them into their digital server.

She’s off on most Tuesdays and Thursdays, she said, but the lifelong movie buff wouldn’t  have it any other way.

The theater’s screens now are housed in two conference rooms as it awaits the build out of its theater space on nearby tiered concrete steps that once served as a fountain.

The original Screening Room at 1313 North Market is in what’s called the West conference room, which can hold 70 people on its variety of upholstered chairs, sofas and conference room chairs. The upholstered chairs and sofas are particularly popular with guests.

Even when the theater space is built, Zimmermann says they plan to keep the West conference room because it’s so popular with patrons.

RELATED STORY: Screening Room movie theater opens in downtown Wilmington

A recent expansion takes advantage of the East conference room on the same floor, but it only holds 45 people, and they sit in some of the theater’s chairs that will eventually go into the new theater.

The addition allows The Screening Room to bring in more movies and people.

The Screening Room at 1313 movie theater

Beverly Zimmermann

Zimmermann likes to program as many different kinds of movies and documentaries as she can to serve as many tastes as she can.

She hopes more people will become familiar with the Screening Room. She still meets people who work in the building who say they didn’t know there was a theater, or that they thought it was a private theater.

Her customers like the idea that they can park inside for free for three hours on Saturdays and Sundays, and after 5:30 p.m. on weeknights. They also can stop by The Chancery Market Food Hall & Bar one floor up and bring their food into the theater, or eat/drink upstairs before or after a show.

Admission is $8.50 for adults for the first show of the day. General Admission is $12.50, with senior(62 and older)/student tickets at $9.50.

Even with The Chancery Market upstairs, the theater sells popcorn, soda, water, snacks and canned alcoholic drinks.

The theater also uses volunteers to help sell tickets and snacks. Those who sign up get to watch the movie for free, with popcorn and a nonalcoholic drink, too. If you’re interested, email Zimmermann at [email protected].

The Screening Room will mark its one-year anniversary the same way it opened: By showing the Oscar-nominated shorts, including live action, animated and documentaries, the weekends of Feb. 16, 17 and 18 and Feb. 23, 24 and 25.

Zimmermann will end up watching all the shorts several times.

“I personally like the animated ones,” she said. “You know, you’re thinking of a cartoon but there’s just so many different types of animation at this point.”







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