That amazing comedian and movie critic Steven Greenhut made a prediction that “Atlas Shrugged Part I” would like enjoy strong DVD sales. For a dreadful flick that was panned by the critics and struggled to earn 25 percent of its production/marketing costs, Atlas Shrugged Part I pulled in just a tad more than $4.6 million. Utility infielders for the Angels make more.
But in a world where good movies get released to DVD shortly after their theatrical run, Atlas Shrugged Part I is hoping to get a deal with a company to release the flick to video this fall. And bad reviews by damned, Atlas Shrugged Part II is planned for a Fall 2012 release.
From a press release on Part 2: Producer John Aglialoro added, “It’s time to get focused on Part Two. We’re all very excited about the prospect of communicating more directly with the fan base this time around. It was incredible to witness the community enthusiasm for Part 1 and we can’t wait to fully engage with the fans for Part 2.”
The producers have set a tentative theatrical release date of Fall 2012.
Atlas Shrugged Part 1, a wholly independent film, opened in theaters on April 15, 2011. According to Box Office Mojo, the film stands at #61 of the top 100 money-making films released in 2011. Negotiations are under way with a major studio to release Atlas Shrugged Part 1 on video in the 4th Quarter of this year.
Ayn Rand’s 1100 page novel is being produced by Atlas Productions as a trilogy and follows the three part structure outlined in the book.
Of course, the name of the “major studio” isn’t announced.
For those bound and determined to buy Part I on DVD if it every gets released, my favorite review of the film is here.
Atlas Shrugged Part I is a movie brimming with so much frustration that you almost expect the screen it’s playing on to have an aneurysm. It’s an honest attempt at adapting difficult (frankly, non-cinematic) material, and it fails spectacularly on almost every level.
Dagny Taggart (Taylor Schilling) is the brains behind a legacy railroading corporation that faces the internal dim-wittedness of its President, James Taggart (Matthew Marsden) and the external hell of a government bent on regulating businesses into non-existence. It’s a Dystopian 2016, but Taggart is on the verge of a sexy and profitable partnership with steel head Henry Rearden (Grant Bowler). He provides an incredible new metal product for her to reform her lines in Colorado, and the day might be saved. But with the government actively trying to redistribute the wealth, will success even matter?
The profound problems of the movie are rooted in its structure. It’s a film that overwhelmingly relies on dialogue yet staunchly refuses to make any of it interesting. The conversations fall in one of two categories. The first is commentary on exactly what’s happening currently in the room that the people are in. The second is exposition-weighted jargon that sounds like it came from someone who stormed out of day one of their MBA classes because they thought they knew better than the professor. The entire movie is about treacherous business environments – a campaign to turn public opinion against Rearden, the government making it illegal for one person to own more than one business, redistribution of state wealth to surrounding poor states, a conspiracy about ore-less mines in Mexico, and a few others – but instead of fixating on one (like Wall Street or Boiler Room or Chinatown or any other high concept business thriller), Atlas bravely tackles a half dozen that all melt together in a tangled mess of constant explanation and zero exploration. There’s no tension that arises. One character says something is a threat around a dinner table, that situation arises soon after, and everyone continues on to the next dinner table and the next business paradigm.
With the leads down for the count, there are no good people in this story. Everyone spits venom through clenched teeth and many do so in such a comical manner that you wish they had a white cat to stroke. Even the decently humane oil tycoon Ellis Wyatt (Graham Beckel) starts his relationship with Dagny off by yelling at her in her own office like a red-faced drunk. The script is so full of snide snippets that it feels like the diary of someone who couldn’t think of the right comeback when getting insulted but went home to jot down a dozen possibilities in an angry scrawl. That person then apparently converted the list into a script when furious masturbation couldn’t work all the rage out anymore.
If you’re looking for a positive review, look no further than Register opinion writer Brian Calle’s review on Andrew Breitbart’s Big Hollywood site.
Though taken from a book written a half-century ago and set in the year 2016, the movie is eerily similar to the world today, bearing a particular resemblance to the United States and the societal and economic depreciation of states like California, where manufacturing industries have collapsed, economic liberty and entrepreneurialism are eroding, and productive members of society seem to be rapidly disappearing, or rather, run out of business by bureaucratic red tape and unreasonable regulations.
While the literary polish of Rand’s 1,000-plus-page novel is unparalleled, the cinematic version of her philosophical peregrination that questions which society is preferable for mankind – one of rational self-interest or one of suppressive of individualism meant to level all individual output – upholds her objectivist worldview and ought to stoke the debate about free society and the role of government.
Not only is the film a winner for holding firm to Randian philosophy, it also brazenly and refreshingly brings a political perspective that is almost universally absent from the big screen; so much so in fact it could become a cult classic, especially among Tea Partiers and their admirers, not to mention hordes of libertarians.
Capitalism, wealth, profit, prosperity, free markets, personal responsibility and individual liberty are the philosophical foundation of a free society but when the creation of wealth and the freedom to make personal decisions has increasingly eroded and is attacked by government do-gooders and utopians, civilization and quality of life decline. In the film, most of those oppressed people would simply leave for greener pastures. In the real world, the ideological battle rages on.
Atlas Shrugged Part 1 is not your typical slick Hollywood blockbuster or artistic independent film and it doesn’t have to be. Rather, it is a movie about big ideas, whose subject matter stands alone, released at a time when the ideological direction of the country sparks intense debate. The movie is catalyst for critical thinking about worldviews competing in today’s body politic.
I agree withg Calle on one thing; Rand fans are cultish. Might I suggest the Ayn Rand comic book now available in Comic Shops everywhere.