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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Tuesday, September 25, 2001

The September 11th attack
Theatergoers can help Sept. 11 victims

Advertiser Staff and News Services

If you want to help victims of Sept. 11's terrorist attacks, go to the movies today — and buy some popcorn and mochi crunch.

At participating theaters nationwide today, all ticket and snack sales proceeds will be given to two relief funds to help victims of the terrorist attacks.

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Nearly 80 movie theater chains across the country, including all Consolidated, Wallace and Signature theaters in Hawai'i, plan to donate every dollar they earn today to charities aiding the terrorist-attack relief operations, according to the National Organization for Theatre Owners.

One hundred percent of ticket and concession sales at participating movie theaters will be distributed equally between the September 11th Fund of the United Way and the American Red Cross.

"We've had a strong number of calls from theater operators around the country asking, 'How can we do something to help?'" said John Fithian, president of the theater owners association. "Now we have the vast majority of screens in the country participating."

About 29,000 screens are involved in "Victims' Benefit Day at the Movies," roughly 80 percent of the nation's 36,000 total.

"While 'the show must go on' for all of us, our thoughts and prayers are with the victims," said Peter Brown, chairman and CEO of AMC Entertainment Inc., which has pledged the returns from its 2,772 screens.

Philip Harris of Signature Theatre in Hawai'i said his company is proud to participate: "We hope moviegoers of all ages will embrace this special evening."

Typical total theater returns for a Tuesday in September, a notoriously slow month for movies, is about $5 million.

The only new movie that opened last weekend in wide release was "Glitter," starring Mariah Carey as a pop singer on the rise.

Although theaters must pay a rental fee to studios to show movies, Fithian said all of the money taken in at the box office today would go to the charities.

If some studios are unwilling to waive their fee for that day, which can be as much as 50 to 70 percent of the ticket, theater owners plan to pay it out of their own pockets.

Disney is among those that have already pledged to forego payments. Other studios did not immediately return calls for comment.