Longest title ever. Seriously, what is this guy smoking:
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“Atlas Shrugged” box office success stuns liberal Hollywood
Thursday, April 21, 2011 – Bill Kelly’s Truth Squad
by William Kelly CHICAGO, April 29, 2011 —
By current Hollywood standards, it is a movie that should never have been made. Imagine this story pitch to progressive movie execs: “we have a female heroine, genius entrepreneurs disappearing, and a government conspiring to control its people and their creations. In short, a powerfully persuasive anti-government message.”
Not exactly “Iron Man 3” is it?
Yet, despite (or because of) Hollywood’s best efforts to keep the movie down, “Atlas” is racking up dollar signs at the box office. With a hearty $5640 per theater in its opening weekend, “Atlas Shrugged,” based on the influential Ayn Rand best-seller, has left Hollywood insiders dumbstruck to explain its success.
The Hollywood Reporter has reported that the film will expand its release from 299 theaters to 425 this weekend and to 1,000 by the end of the month. What is the explanation? Rand Power. [...]
All right. That’s from Thursday. Let’s see what Monday hath wrought. The Chicago Tribune:
April 25, 2011
She was a militant atheist who favored abortion rights and thought Ronald Reagan typified “the worst kind of conservatism.” Ayn Rand may sound like someone tea partiers and other conservatives would detest. In fact, they have been filling theaters to cheer a movie based on her novel “Atlas Shrugged.” The critics panned it — the Tribune’s Michael Phillips called it “crushingly ordinary in every way” — but plenty of fans don’t care.
They flocked to see the film, Part 1 of a planned trilogy, when it opened April 15. This low-budget, under-advertised movie racked up better box office numbers, on a per-theater basis, than director Robert Redford’s “The Conspirator.” Why? Partly because …
Holding in her Rand Power so
that the skyscrapers are not shaken.
And, the Minions of Murdoch are out in farce, offering such fare as (Fox Nation):
April 25, 2011
Box Office Power of ‘Atlas Shrugged’ Baffles Insiders
By Paul Bond
The power of Ayn Rand devotees has impressed some Hollywood distribution executives, who took note of the hefty $5,640 per-theater average scored by “Atlas Shrugged: Part 1” during its opening weekend. “Shocking,” one executive said about the healthy business the low-budget film has been doing, considering its “awful” marketing plan.
Awful or not, business has been brisk enough for producers Harmon Kaslow and John Aglialoro to expand from 299 theaters to 425 this weekend and to 1,000 by the end of the month. They don’t have enough film prints to fill all the orders. “Things have turned for us,” Kaslow said. “When we started, exhibitors were not embracing the film like we thought they would. Now, we can pretty much go into as many theaters as we want. It’s just a matter of logistics.” …
And Fox News ran (for some bizarre reason) this official response from the Ayn Rand Institute:
Onkar Ghate is a senior fellow at The Ayn Rand Institute in Irvine, California.
The Radicalness of Ayn Rand’s “Atlas Shrugged”
By Onkar Ghate
Published April 25, 2011
If you’ve seen the new “Atlas Shrugged” movie but haven’t yet read the book, you may be wondering what the novel itself has to offer. For most people, reading “Atlas Shrugged” is an unforgettable experience. The story is gripping, involving numerous mysteries and unexpected but logical plot twists. The characters are unique–what other book features a philosopher turned pirate? And the writing is that rarest of combinations: at once clear and deep. But for many readers, “Atlas” is even more: it’s life-changing. How can a novel exert this powerful an effect? Because in its pages Ayn Rand forces you to look at the world anew. To give a taste of its radicalness, consider …
A book on “words used in English” perhaps? “Radicalness” is slightly gooder than “Revolutionistic” but not the goodest that “buffrontery” is. Buffrontery is, unlike ‘radicalness’ a portmanteau word — albeit, like ‘radicalness’ not an official word, but a made up word — combining the affrontery of a buffoon into a single handy word that seems invented to describe “radicalness.”
Merriam-Webster defines it as slang, which only spotlights the well-meaning mistake that placing diagnosed patients of autism on the usage panel was. But perhaps there was an elide there. He/She may have meant “The Radical Awfulness of Ayn Rand’s “Atlas Shrugged”.’ “We am John Galt Super-geniuses and we am, er, I be not no viktim of no dickshunarys or grammaticalliousity. Free-dumb!
It doesn’t get much more stupider than this. Or does it? Here are some headlines from Google News today — and remember, that’s AFTER the second weekend’s “expanded” release:
Atlas Shrugged film continues to expand and sell out
Examiner.com – Karl Dickey – 6 hours ago
Human Events – John Hayward – 14 hours ago
Why a clumsy little movie that critics hate is one of the year’s most powerful films.
The first tea party movie? ‘Atlas Shrugged’ strikes a chord with activists.
Christian Science Monitor – Patrik Jonsson – Apr 22, 2011
The Atlas Shrugged Phenomena
Nolan Chart LLC – Mark Vogl – 17 hours ago
One would think with all the negative press surrounding Atlas Shrugged, The Movie – Part 1 that it would have disappeared from theater screens and gone direct to DVD the day after it was released. Instead, a week after its premier in a scant 299 or so …
Audience didn’t shrug at Atlas movie
San Francisco Examiner – Steven Greenhut – Apr 24, 2011
The packed audience at the San Francisco premiere…
Her passionate philosophy reached beyond politics
Boston Globe – Apr 23, 2011
And, finally, credit must be given to comedic genius “Jose Calabro” who noted a disappointment with the film from co-comedic genius — or the horrific alternative, that he’s entirely serious — “Eric Mao.” From the Wall Street Journal’s “Libertarian” Jounal Community (who knew?):
Eric Mao wrote: I’ve just got back from the movie and am still pretty excited.
I sometimes call myself an Ayn Rand libertarian, but have never read her novels because I’m not a novel reader. I knew about the story, but not in detail.
The movie was pretty bad. It was just too propagandist. (Don’t get me wrong; I agree with everything the movie was saying.) I don’t know if it was the acting or directing or both, the characters looked so unnatural and unreal. Granted that many movies have their hidden messages and social agendas, but the good ones have good story telling. They portray their characters in a way that can draw the audience in. After the audience identifies with the character, the movie maker can influence the audience through the character. Unfortunately, I didn’t see that in Atlas Shrugged.
“Who is John Galt?” Who talks like that outside Jeopardy anyway? Since I didn’t read the novel, I don’t know if the novel is good. Suppose we can blame it all on the movie people, how would you cast those key characters? Who would you like to have as the director?
I knew the movie was bad before going–I went to see it because I’m a libertarian, and I will have fond memories about this movie for a long time. Thus I encourage everybody to go see the movie.
Jose Calabro replied: I understand your betrayal. I felt the same when Kirk kissed the shape shifter in Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country. My infatuation with the franchise suffered an almost fatal blow and I almost re-gifted my Romulan Bird of Prey. However, I wouldn’t recommend it to my friends.
On the more mundane side, however, the Invisible Hand of the Market was not amused. To hear all of the above, and the massive “free PR” campaign being waged to make sure that people know the movie is out there, well, you’d think it was a MEGABLOCKBUSTER! Media Matters gets the “win” in the headline category:
Doesn’t Look Like Atlas Shrugged Will Be Out-Grossing Avatar After All
April 25, 2011 12:26 pm ET
by Ben Dimiero
Since its release 10 days ago, some conservative writers have done their best to portray the Atlas Shrugged movie as a runaway box office success. For example, have a look at this post on the Washington Times site by conservative Bill Kelly about how “fervent fans of Ayn Rand – or Randians as they are called – have been packing theaters where the film is being shown.” According to Kelly, the movie’s “box office success stuns liberal Hollywood” and serves as evidence that Rand’s story “may be resonating more than ever before and that can’t be sitting well with Hollywood progressives.”
The fact that the movie was “racking up dollar signs” supposedly stood to defy “Hollywood’s best efforts to keep the movie down.” In your faces, liberals. Articles last week touting the movie’s success were a bit hyperbolic. While the film’s opening weekend gross was mild, writers like Kelly touted the film’s $5,640 per screen average as an impressive achievement and hyped the fact that the film would be rolling into more theaters soon.
So how’d the second weekend go?
After adding 166 screens around the country (bringing the total to 465 screens in the U.S.), the film’s gross plummeted almost 48%, and the per-screen average sank to an estimated $1,890. By comparison, it barely edged out Jane Eyre in total gross — and lost badly in per-screen average — though Jane Eyre is in its 7th week of release. Curiously, I haven’t seen many conservatives suggesting a groundswell of grassroots fervor for the works of Charlotte Bronte…
Which is indisputably true. Of course, the Objectivists will complain that all the Christians were at Easter Sunday, and in no mood for movies about misunderstood millionaires. Still, it looks like this Murdoch employee didn’t get the memo until it was almost too late. The headline and non-sequitur ending tell the tale:
12:04 PM, April 25, 2011
My esteemed colleague Kyle Smith may not qualify as a box-office Nostradamus (“I smell a hit,” he once wrote of “An American Carol”) but he was certainly on the mark in predicting that “Atlas Shrugged — Part One” would flop in his Sunday column a couple of weeks ago.
After a middling performance during its opening weekend that was hyped in some quarters (i.e., The Hollywood Reporter), the per-screen average for this amateurish Ayn Rand adaptation (even Kyle could only muster 2.5 stars’ worth of enthusiam for the movie, though he liked its message) plunged to an alarming $1,890 from $5,640 during its opening frame. Overall, the weekend’s take was a scant $879,000 — a whopping 48 percent drop despite adding 166 locations. Which certainly suggest they’re running out of audience quick.
That means that at some locations, distributor Rocky Mountain Pictures will be writing checks to theaters to cover the difference between receipts and operating expenses. The only way they’re likely to get the 1,000 screens the producers say they want next weekend is to rent them. And, as Kyle put it at his personal blog, “Whether the sequels get made is purely a matter of how much desire the producers have for losing money.”
Surely rubbing salt in the producers’ wounds is the performance of Robert Redford’s left-leaning “The Conspirator,” which also added screens in its second weekend and managed a decent hold and a $2,696 per location average. Its current cumulative gross is $6.9 million vs. a hair over $3 million for “Atlas Shrugged.”
And speaking of the Rand opus, why didn’t The New York Times, which deploys a small army of critics to handle even the most obscure releases, bother to review this particularly newsworthy movie? … The Times didn’t respond to my e-mailed query …
Er, how about because it was a turkey that was going down the drain without sending a stringer to cover it?
Love the bit about his “e-mailed query” like he was a REAL journalist or something, reporting on box office grosses and office gossip for the New York Post. In the hierarchy of respected news sources, it’s only a short step up to the credibility of a shoeshine boy. At any event, somehow, it’s the New York Times‘ fault that Atlas Tanked.
Why not be brave, and just go ahead and blame Jesus?
Good catch, though, sir. Your soulless employ in the empire of that Prince of Lies rests secure for another feral day, at least.
So, to answer the question posed in our title:
Mother’s Day Update 8 May 2011: From Indywire,
Rocky Mountain Pictures’ aforementioned Ayn Rand adaptation, “Atlas Shrugged, Part I,” continued to fail in its fourth weekend. Though its producers suggested it would hit 1,000 screens after its somewhat promising debut, the film went from 371 screens down to 228 in its third frame. The result was a massive 71% drop in grosses, taking in $137,443 for a pathetic per-theater-average of $603 ….
Wonder if the rationalizers will continue to flog this dead horse, or “objectively” pretend that nothing happened. Hmmm. One guess.