Though Miramax topper Harvey Weinstein is perceived as hard-nosed, he has generously decided to underwrite an LA. satellite simulcast in four theaters of Miramax’s Oct. 23 New York premiere of “Cry, the Beloved Country,” which will feature appearances by South African president Nelson Mandela.

“I was out there for the verdict in the O J. Simpson trial, watching at 10 a.m., and I was disturbed to see the instant divisiveness in the city,” said Weinstein, who was meeting at the time with directors Robert Rodriguez and John Singleton and producer Lawrence Bender. “It was then I decided we should just underwrite the L.A. events and give the tickets away,” said Weinstein, who said the tab came to $200,000 to $300,000, which was a healthy chunk of the budget on some Miramax pics just a few years ago.

Tix were given to industry and civic leaders. “This is the first movie to be made in the new South Africa, and it’s in keeping with what Mandela has tried to do, with the idea that you can accomplish things with a spirit of unity between blacks and whites.”

Mandela’s using the N.Y. fundraiser at the Ziegfeld Theater to launch Friends of the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund.

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