H’wood keeps on donating

Acad makes million dollar contribution

U.S. exhibition’s Victims’ Benefit Day at the Movies, a broadly supported effort to donate Tuesday’s theater receipts to funds benefiting victims of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, raised more than $5 million, officials said Wednesday.

Separately, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has donated $1 million, and thesp Sandra Bullock has donated $1 million to the American Red Cross.

Over 450 exhibition companies — many of them members of the National Assn. of Theater Owners and repping a total 30,000 screens — agreed to donate 100% of box office and concession sales to disaster-relief funds of the American Red Cross and United Way. Ten studios also participated.

“The members of the motion picture exhibition and distribution industry continue to recognize and commend the heroic efforts of the individuals and organizations who have worked so tirelessly in the rescue and relief operations,” participants said in a statement. “We wish to express our sympathy to all those whose lives were so painfully altered by the terrible events of September 11.”

Academy prexy Frank Pierson said the timing for the donation, the largest in the nonprofit org’s history, was right.

“This was our annual budget meeting, and we found we were in very good shape financially. When Kathy Bates suggested that we make a quarter-million-dollar contribution to the relief efforts, it didn’t take long for the other governors to approve four times that much.”

Dr. Bernadine Healy, president of the Red Cross, said the organization was “thrilled” by the contribution from Bullock, who played a Red Cross nurse in the 1996 wartime romance “In Love and War.”

(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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