LOS ANGELES — Financier/philanthropist Haim Saban and his wife Cheryl have donated $50 million to the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures, the largest contribution to date to the fundraising campaign for the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ ambitious project, officials announced Sept. 27.
Academy officials said that with the donations, the fundraising drive has now raised $288 million of its $388 million goal.
“We are deeply grateful to Cheryl and Haim for understanding the need for a superb museum of film in the movie-making capital of the world. With their tremendous commitment, they set a magnificent example for others and bring our dream closer to reality,” said Bob Iger, chairman and CEO of the Walt Disney Co. and chair of the Museum Campaign Committee.
The museum will be located at the former May Company building on Wilshire Boulevard and Fairfax Avenue in Los Angeles and is scheduled to open in 2019. Academy officials said that in recognition of the donation, the May Company Building will be named the Saban Building.
Meanwhile, Ron Meyer, vice chairman of NBCUniversal, was named the head of the museum’s newly established Board of Trustees.
“We could not be happier with the momentum the museum is experiencing on all fronts — from fundraising and governance to content and construction,” said Kerry Brougher, director of the Academy Museum. “We are thankful to Cheryl and Haim Saban and to Ron Meyer for their vital support and leadership in bringing the Academy Museum to the world.”
Haim Saban is chairman and CEO of Saban Capital Group, and he and his wife have donated more than $325 million to charitable organizations.
“We are delighted to further our commitment to Los Angeles with this gift to the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures. This new home for film will offer incredible experiences for visitors from our community and around the world to enjoy the rich history of our industry,” the Sabans said in a statement.
“We feel honored to contribute to its creation and thrilled to have our name associated with this historic building and visionary project.”
Pritzker Prize-winning architect Renzo Piano with Renzo Piano Building Workshop has designed two distinct buildings that will form the Academy Museum’s 300,000- square-foot campus: the Saban Building — a designated Los Angeles Historic-Cultural Monument — and a soaring spherical addition that features a state-of-the-art theater and a terrace topped with a spectacular glass dome.
More than a museum, Brougher envisions a dynamic film center that is simultaneously experiential, immersive, experimental, educational and entertaining. The buildings will include 50,000 square feet of gallery space, two theaters, cutting-edge project spaces, an outdoor piazza, the rooftop terrace with sweeping views of the Hollywood Hills, an active education studio, a restaurant and store.
Dawn Hudson, CEO of the Academy, says, “The millions of people around the world who make and love movies will be able to come to the epicenter of filmmaking and experience the magic of this art form. They’ll see firsthand the vast collections of the Academy and the work of our members. And, they’ll be able to do that all year — not just on Oscar night.”