We almost feel sorry for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA). Almost. After heavily promoting the Washington, DC premiere of an animal-rights documentary film and promising prizes to activists who attended, the audience on Monday night was somewhere between “Gigli” and “Monkeybone.”

Seating capacity in Theatre #4 at Washington’s E Street Theatre: 232. Total attendance: 7. And we accounted for 2 of them. Our latest anti-PETA ad, running recently throughout the Washington, DC metro subway system, may have had a greater impact than even we imagined.

This poor showing is doubly embarrassing for PETA president Ingrid Newkirk, who was on hand to promote it, since the screening coincided with a major animal-rights convention held just a few city blocks from the theatre.

Next week’s New York City premiere — at which Newkirk will also make a personal appearance — may fare much better. It will, after all, fall between the terrorism sentencing of six animal-rights leaders and a planned protest against a medical research lab working to cure cancer and AIDS. We’re not making any box-office guarantees, but this definitely sounds like Newkirk’s New York crowd.

Then again, we did have a billboard in Times Square last year …