Michael Moore’s “Sicko” looks pretty healthy heading into its first weekend of national release.
Pic opened a week early in Gotham alone and collected $70,000 from just one Upper West Side AMC/Loews screen over the frame, selling out all its shows.
Moviegoers were turned away at the scene, where Moore showed up Friday night unannounced to increase the hype and scalpers even popped up to try and hawk tickets to Moore fans for a premium.
Pic also sold out all its sneak preview shows in 43 locations on Saturday.
Sources close to the Weinstein Co. — which also had good news as Dimension’s “1408” came in the No. 2 pic over the weekend — said that TWC has decided to roll with “Sicko” next week in 300-400 locations.
Harvey Weinstein told Daily Variety on Sunday that he’s taking a cue from Al Gore issue docu “An Inconvenient Truth,” which kept the issue of global warming alive throughout its platform run, as he feels the health care debate will continue as the pic grows.
“I certainly did not expect sellouts in places like Randolph, Mass., and Buffalo, N.Y.,” Weinstein said. “We had audiences all laughing together when Michael goes to Cuba. It’s great when you get a reaction like that.”
He added that the exit polls on “Sicko” have been high, suggesting that the pic is being seen as a cinematic, not a hyped-up, event.
Moore’s “Fahrenheit 9/11” opened on 868 screens and grossed about $24 million in its bow in 2004.