Atlas Pointed and Laughed

John Aglialoro, the producer of the new Atlas Shrugged movie, may not be going Galt after all. One day after suggesting that he would not be making parts 2 and 3 of Ayn Rand’s magnum opus due to hilarious reviews and weak box office, he’s refusing to admit defeat to the looters and parasites.

“Make no mistake, we want to make Part 2 and Part 3 and we’re committed to finding a way to make it work,” Aglialoro wrote. “There’s a temptation to make the movies expecting to lose money, to say to heck with the critics and invest another $10 million and hope to make some of it back. But to do so would betray Ayn Rand’s principles. This has to be a profitable venture.

“Betray Rand’s principals”? Okay, now I’m confused. Why would risking failure betray Rand’s principals? I’m not an Objectivist by any stretch, having been able to slog my way through only one of her books (and a short one at that), but I can read a Wiki as well as the next humanoid, and I believe that Rand did not advocate that her followers only pursue endeavors in which a profit is guaranteed — since that would leave out pretty much every undertaking except Halliburton’s cost-plus contracts and running a too-big-to-fail bank. Rather, Rand would advocate that her followers take rational risks with their capital and then either reap the profits if the project is successful or suffer the loss if it is not. She never, to my knowledge, asserted that there should be no risk involved and that profits should be guaranteed. (Again, feel free to correct me on this point.)

Is it possible that John Aglialoro does not even understand the rudiments of the philosophy he so obstreperously advocates?

In the same article, another of the film’s producers, Harmon Kaslow, made an interesting allegation:

The most interesting development, however, is that in their effort to expand television advertising, MSNBC, CNN and CNBC “have all rejected a 15-second ad for ‘editorial’ reasons [with] no further explanation provided.”

“This unforeseen censorship effectively puts the brakes on our follow-up marketing efforts where we were trying to reach millions of people unaware of the movie being in theaters now,” Kaslow wrote. “We are continuing with the theatrical release because we have great word of mouth and awareness for the movie increases daily.”

Given where ad spending is right now, why in the hell would three cable channels turn down spots for a movie, any movie? And even if MSNBC would refuse the spot on ideological grounds (which already seems extremely dubious), why would CNBC? It’s a business channel. And this is a movie about business (also rape, but mostly business). No, this story stinks worse than Galt’s Gulch after a baked bean dinner.

I tried to find some corroboration for the story, and I did find the allegation repeated on every right wing site on the Innertubes, but every one of them sourced the information back to Big Hollywood, which, in case you didn’t know, is run by Andrew Breitbart — yes, he of the Shirley Sherrod and James “Rape Boat” O’Keefe debacles.

So why would the producer put this information out there? Easy. It feeds into the right wing’s cult of victimization. It pushes all the right buttons: it’s all the fault of those snooty liberal film critics and the lamestream media, yeah, they’re the ones, they killed Atlas Shrugged because they can’t handle it’s truth, man.

But here’s the truth. Whether or not MSNBC refused a 15 second spot, Atlas Shrugged failed because it sucks. Know how I know? Because its word of mouth sucks. Take a look at its daily per-screen average, which is falling faster than Nathaniel Branden’s pants when Mommy Rand came calling. On its opening Saturday (April 16), it pulled in $2,110 per screen, which fell to $824 per screen one week later on April 23. Finally, last Saturday it made just $544 per screen. A 75% drop in two weeks. That’s not bad reviews, that’s bad word-of-mouth.

Compare these results, for instance, to a movie that enjoyed good word of mouth: 2009’s Paranormal Activity. On its opening Saturday (9/26/09), it made $2,874 per screen, which is comparable to Atlas Shrugged. The following Saturday, its per-screen average more than tripled to $7,070. One week later its average more than doubled to $17,848. That’s friends telling friends they have to see this movie.

Sorry guys, but you can’t blame this one on the parasites. Looks like your perpetual motion engine just ran out of . . . um, kinetic energy.

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2 Responses to Atlas Pointed and Laughed

  1. missdisplaced says:

    Does anyone fully understand Rand’s philosophy?
    The high priestess of free enterprise never met the men of Enron, Adelphia, and WorldCom, Leahman, AIG, Citigroup, Bank of America, and countless others.

  2. kamper says:

    The part that kills me is that Randians truly believe that society will collapse if they remove their productivity due to taxes. Also, that they fancy themselves to be rugged individualists but Objectivism is a cult of personality build around one woman who would brook no dissent or disagreement with her pronouncements.

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