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Voters flock to doc

'Fahrenheit's' domestic cume hits $63.9 mil

Expanding for a third time, “Fahrenheit 9/11” will play at 2,011 theaters this weekend, an addition of 286 venues for the documentary’s third week of release.

Already the widest released docu, Michael Moore’s film grossed another $2.8 million on Tuesday, bringing domestic cume to $63.9 million.

Separately, a poll released Wednesday showed that “Fahrenheit” has wide awareness among people likely to vote in this fall’s elections.

Poll, commissioned by MoveOn PAC and conducted by D.C. firm Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research, found that 6% of all likely voters have seen “Fahrenheit 9/11” before last weekend, and of those who hadn’t yet seen it, 38% said they intended to.

Results are based on a national survey of 1,000 likely voters.

Democratic pollster Anna Greenberg said, “On the political side, what’s striking to me is just the breadth of it, especially for a political documentary.”

Having grossed $63.9 million so far, “Fahrenheit” ranks as an entertainment phenomenon, but Greenberg argues the broad awareness and interest in the film qualifies it as a “political phenomenon,” too.

Survey was conducted between June 28 and July 1, just before the pic played its second weekend.

Best customers: Dems

Poll found “Fahrenheit” is playing broadly across blue, red and battleground states. As expected, doc is drawing heavily among Democrats. Of those respondents who had seen the movie, 86% said they planned to vote for John Kerry and 13% said they preferred to re-elect George W. Bush.

Of the 38% planning to see “Fahrenheit,” 66% identified themselves as Democrats, 16% were Republicans and 26% said they were independents.

Because of the wide awareness among voters of Moore’s docu criticizing the Bush administration, Greenberg argued it ranks with other major political shocks to the presidency, such as U.N. weapons inspector David Kay’s pronouncement in February that Iraq had no weapons of mass destruction and the publication in April of former terrorism czar Richard Clarke’s book accusing Bush of botching the hunt for Al-Qaeda.

“In a way, Michael Moore’s is the most dramatic event because of its breadth,” Greenberg said. “I see it as part of all these other events that have eroded trust in President Bush.”

Tom Ortenberg, prexy of Lions Gate, which is distribbing “Fahrenheit” with IFC Films, was nonplussed by the results. “We have no interest in whether the film is playing to people of certain political persuasions,” he said. “We are just committed to bringing the film to as broad a commercial audience as possible, in a wholly nonpartisan way.”

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