Sunday, April 17, 2011

LA Times: 'Atlas Shrugged, Part 1' Has Decent First Week

LaTi reports:
A film aimed at conservatives...debuted to moderate success this weekend.

"Atlas Shrugged: Part I," the first in a potential trilogy of films based on the 1957 novel by Ayn Rand, opened in 299 theaters and grossed $1.7 million, according to an estimate from Salt Lake City-based booking service Rocky Mountain Pictures.

"Atlas Shrugged" cost around $10 million to produce and was financed entirely by John Aglialoro, the chief executive of the exercise equipment manufacturer Cybex, who had no experience in Hollywood.
Despite a lack of almost any traditional advertising, the movie found an audience in certain parts of the country. It performed best in the suburb of Duluth, Ga., where the film collected $53,832 just on Friday and Saturday. Producer Harmon Kaslow said the film's backers organized a number of events in certain communities to create awareness about the film.

"But we also did email blasts to a number of 'tea party' groups and participated in their weekly conference calls to field questions from community-level leaders," Kaslow said.

The movie will expand to 1,000 theaters next weekend.
Of course, the ultimate success of the movie will depend on a few fundamental big questions are how many Randians are there, and how many others are there who are sympathetic to parts of the Randian view? They will make up the core audience. A further question is, will the movie attract an audience beyond these core groups?

I read the book a long time ago so I "get the movie". But, it is hard for me to understand what the reaction will be to those who have never read any of Rand's work.  This is not a normal movie built on development of the characters. In this film, heroic and villainous characters are just thrown at you. Those who have read Rand know the back story to these characters, the non-Randian will not have this support. For them it will be like watching a film about Moses parting the Red Sea, without having read the Bible or knowing anyting about Moses. Some may think that it is cool that an old man can part the sea, others may suspect that there is a backstory about Moses, but most will think it is a dumb movie about an old man parting the sea.


  1. Given the reaction of my Taiwanese wife, who is neither a Randian nor familiar with the book, I'd say the most gripping part of the movie is the mysterious disappearances. When the "trench coated man" showed up for Wyatt, I could hear her whisper "no!"

    That reaction seemed appropriate to me both from the uneasiness in the book and the movie over the disappearances, and the question is not really answered until the end of the movie.

  2. I suspect most people know or will soon hear from the buzz about the movie that the film ultimately is a story about the mind on strike. Those who have not read the book will likely find that premise, along with its non-traditional financing and marketing, intriguing enough to see it.

  3. My biggest problem with the film is I can't find a way to describe it to others, I can't articulate what I think of it (the good and the bad), I can't decide how I would improve it and I can't figure out if I would recommend it to the uninitiated, the initiated or film-lovers in general, or not!

    Say what you want, though, it got my mother to e-mail me asking me if she should see the film or try reading the book. I told her, "read the book!"

    How would this conversation and willingness have occurred without the film's debut? It's unlikely they would've, that's how.

  4. The movie was great, and I'll see it again. I think people unfamiliar with the book will find it hard to understand.

  5. Atlas Shrugged is not a movie for "conservatives" unless it is also a movie for atheists who support a woman's right to terminate her pregnancy. Perhaps it is only a movie for fans of Atlas Shrugged as LOTR,
    the Star Trek franchise, and the many makings of Pride and Prejudice have their own fandom. The difference, of course, is that those other entertainments did not intend to challenge 2500 years of ethics; and neither did they hold the promise of a "second renaissance" and a "rebirth of reason." I saw it at 12:10 PM first showing on Friday the 15th. It seems to be in my self-interest to enjoy it again this Saturday.