Film will bow a week ahead of schedule

After preeming controversial Michael Moore docu “Sicko” in Gotham on Monday night, the Weinstein Co. said it has decided to bow the film in New York on Friday, a week earlier than planned.

Pic is also receiving sneak previews Saturday in 43 theaters spanning more than 30 markets, including Los Angeles, Chicago, Philadelphia, Boston, Dallas and Washington D.C., as well as Moore’s hometown of Flint, Mich.

TWC brass said they made the decision to get the pic out early in the wake of the reaction it has received at pre-release screenings.

Monday night the docu drew a standing ovation — the first Harvey Weinstein said he had ever seen at a Gotham preem.

The Weinstein Co. is still hammering out the final screen count when the pic expands beyond Gotham’s AMC-Loews Lincoln Square Theater on June 29.

“Last night’s standing ovation confirmed what we believed to be true since the film’s launch in Cannes, which is that audiences love the movie,” said Weinstein. “Ever since the film began generating tremendous word of mouth, we have been contemplating opening (the pic) in one theater in New York and sneaking the film in the top markets across the country, and last night validated that plan. Sneak previews for a strong movie like (this one) are a great marketing tool.”

“Sicko” will bow this weekend up against Paramount Vantage’s “A Mighty Heart” — another politically charged pic –plus MGM and TWC’s supernatural “1408” and Universal laffer “Evan Almighty.”

Moore’s last pic, “Fahrenheit 9/11,” hit over $119 million domestically in 2004.

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