Give blood, see a movie for free.
Cinemagic Stadium Theaters in Westbrook will offer that deal this weekend during the Fifth Annual Cinemagic Blood Drive. The marathon drive, run by the American Red Cross, will be held from noon Friday until 3 p.m. Saturday.
Anyone who gives blood will get a free pass to see a movie, at any time, at any of Cinemagic’s six locations. Besides Westbrook, the company has theaters in Saco, South Portland, Salisbury, Mass., and Hooksett and Merrimack, N.H.
Cinemagic approached the Red Cross about hosting a blood drive because several Cinemagic employees who are regular donors proposed the idea, said Bob Collins, director of marketing for Cinemagic.
Collins said Red Cross officials were a little surprised at first, but now they say the event has turned into one of Maine’s most successful annual blood drives.
“Last year we collected 371 pints, and 392 pints the year before that. That’s a very large blood drive. We have only a couple of others in Maine that come close to that level,” said Ellen Russell, director of Maine operations for the American Red Cross Blood Services. “We get a good percentage of first-time donors, which is great. I think the free movie passes and all the publicity really help.”
While they wait to donate, people will be able to watch movies and sporting events on TV in the theater’s lobby. They will also get free T-shirts, with an image of Bela Lugosi as Dracula and the phrase “Got Blood?”
People who come in to donate between about 11 p.m. Friday and 6 a.m. Saturday can watch the offerings on the theater’s 16 screens for free, Collins said.
“So if people are willing to come donate during the off hours, they could watch movies for free all night long,” said Collins.
The blood will be drawn in Red Cross mobile units in the parking lot at Cinemagic. Donors can use their free movie passes right away, or they can see a movie later at the Cinemagic of their choice.
“We’re very fortunate Cinemagic has been supportive of our efforts to get more blood donors, especially in summer, which is a very difficult time for us,” said Russell.
Staff Writer Ray Routhier can be contacted at 791-6454 or at: