After 4 Weeks, Free Market Kills “Atlas Shrugged” Part I (Part II and III Unlikely)

With much hoopla from the OC Libertarian Right wing, “Atlas Shrugged Part I” debuted in Orange County to a host of true believers who have cemented a political philosophy based on fictional characters (Narnia anyone?).  Red County blogger Allan Bartlett proclaimed it “the movie that tells Hollywood to suck it.”  Former Register columnist Steven Greenhut predicted that the film would have a huge DVD uptick, perhaps acknowledging the film’s many flaws for good box office.

From Greenhut’s column:

“My prediction is that the movie will be a huge success in DVD format. Americans are hungry for the ideas the book presents. We’re tired of watching a government that constantly punishes hard work, savings, entrepreneurship and risk. We’re tired of listening to the whines of an overpaid government union elite. We’re tired of crushing tax bills to fund government programs that do little to improve our lives and never live up to the promises made. We’re sick of a national-security state that constantly pokes, prods and searches us. We’re tired of the rules and the taxes and the assaults on our freedom and the arrogance and unaccountability of the powerful people in government. And we’re tired of the rhetoric from politicians that sounds more appropriate in a socialistic society than a free one.”


Hungry for the ideas? The Ayn Rand booth at the LA Times book fair was busy with staffers trying to give away the free summaries of Atlas Shrugged and The Fountainhead.   But Americans hungry for ideas where elsewhere. And if Americans are hungry for ideas, it seems Libertarians and Tea Partiers don’t really want to pay any enterprise that supports their viewpoints.

After four weeks in theaters, “Atlas Shrugged, Part I” has earned less than $4.3 million

Producers are blaming the liberal media instead of the nearly 11 million Tea partiers who passed on the film.  From a post on

Atlas Shrugged co-producer and co-screenwriter John Aglialoro blamed the liberal media and film critics for their willful, politically motivated box-office destruction of his opus.

That, however, would be an acknowledgment that the United States’ (purported) 11m Tea Party members to whom Atlas Shrugged was targeted actually read — and believe in — film reviews written by bleeding-heart lefties. (Now, please, Tea Partiers, don’t go calling me a bigot or compare me to a Nazi because I’m referring to liberals as “bleeding-heart lefties.”)

So, Aglialoro now says he was misquoted. On the right-wing site Big Hollywood, in addition to singling out Roger Ebert and Peter Travers as enemies of his film and its ideals, the producer claims he wants to do Atlas Shrugged parts II and III, but without betraying Ayn Rand’s “principles.” In other words, without losing money.

“This has to be a profitable venture.” Aglialoro explains. “The challenge is in finding a way to overcome the critics and the rest of the establishment, who are united against us.”

I don’t know if he’s right about that; maybe a coherent plot and good acting would have worked. 

The producers have failed the free market test with a film that cost $20 million to make and will likely earn less than half even if it gets to DVD.  Well, there’s always the tax right off on a business loss, right?

Hmm. Let’s look at the films of Michael Moore.  Sure, Moore has had two poorly performing films, notably “Canadian Bacon.”  But the producers of Atlas Shrugged would love some Michael Moore numbers. Moore’s average opening weekend numbers are more than “Atlas Shrugged Part I’s” entire theatrical run.

Released Movie Name 1st weekend Total Gross
9/23/2009 Capitalism: A Love Story $4,447,378 $14,363,397
6/22/2007 Sicko $68,969 $24,538,513
6/23/2004 Fahrenheit 9/11 $23,920,637 $119,114,517
10/11/2002 Bowling for Columbine $209,148 $21,576,018
4/10/1998 The Big One $146,909 $720,074
9/22/1995 Canadian Bacon   $178,104
12/20/1989 Roger & Me $84,232 $6,706,368
  Total Grosses $187,196,991
  Average Gross $26,742,427
  Average Opening Weekend $4,812,879

So who is John Galt? 

Does anyone care?

  8 comments for “After 4 Weeks, Free Market Kills “Atlas Shrugged” Part I (Part II and III Unlikely)

  1. Howard be my name
    May 9, 2011 at 3:57 pm

    Blaming the “liberal media” is ridiculous, and they know it. Plenty of movies have bust out of the niche they were put in because they were GOOD. A turkey is a turkey, no matter how you slice it!

  2. A. Rand
    May 9, 2011 at 6:24 pm

    If the free market kills this movie – more power to it!

  3. May 9, 2011 at 10:39 pm

    I think Greengas is right. There will be a huge uptick in DVD sales. I know that I plan on picking up my copy in Target when they go on sale in the $5.00 bin. It should take about 2 weeks.

  4. May 9, 2011 at 11:04 pm

    Wow. You ruthless capitalists looking only at the bottom line are so hard-bitten. I look and see an indie project made on a shoestring for the love against The Man. Sure goes up against Crony Capitalism hard! You Philistines should get with the indie spirit.

    • May 10, 2011 at 8:33 am

      That’s why we watch Michael Moore documentaries Michael…

    • Howard be my name
      May 10, 2011 at 9:39 am

      I love indie films. You should see my Netflix queue. But a bad film is a bad film, indie or not.

  5. Kathy Findley
    May 10, 2011 at 8:54 am

    The Indie spirit? This is one Philistine who loves a good indie, “Wrist Cutters,” “500 days of Summer,” “Requiem for a Dream,” Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind,” or “Slum Dog Millionaire?” It doesn’t have to be political to be worthwhile. Take a break from politics and see what else is going on in the imagination of others! That’s entertainment.

  6. Phil
    May 12, 2011 at 7:14 pm

    Canadian Bacon is actually a really funny movie.

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