Michael Moore's controversial movie, which criticizes President George Bush's handling of the war on terrorism, will play at two Manhattan theaters before expanding to more screens Friday -- the same day the movie opens nationwide.
Tom Ortenberg, president of Lions Gate Films Releasing, told Variety the early opening was in response to strong demand for the movie in New York.
"The level of excitement and interest surrounding 'Fahrenheit 9/11' has been growing day by day," Ortenberg said. "The demand became so overwhelming that we felt it was necessary to bring the film into New York City early."
Lions Gate is distributing the movie with IFC Entertainment and Fellowship Adenture Group, a special-purpose company created by Miramax bosses Bob and Harvey Weinstein.
"The American appetite for this film has now reached a level surpassing expectation," IFC Entertainment president Jonathan Sehring said.
Variety said tracking polls showed steady growth every day this week in consumer interest in "Fahrenheit 9/11."