Atlas Croaked?

Forget the musical speeches, come down off that post-first-weekend afterglow, and look at the dollar signs: The L.A. Times reports that Parts II and III may not get made after all, following the disappointing response to the Ayn Rand movie:

"Critics, you won," said John Aglialoro, the businessman who spent 18 years and more than $20 million of his own money to make, distribute and market "Atlas Shrugged: Part 1," which covers the first third of Rand's dystopian novel. "I'm having deep second thoughts on why I should do Part 2."

"Atlas Shrugged" was the top-grossing limited release in its opening weekend, generating $1.7 million on 299 screens and earning a respectable $5,640 per screen. But the box office dropped off 47% in the film's second week in release even as "Atlas Shrugged" expanded to 425 screens.

Though the film has made only $3.1 million so far, Aglialoro said he believes he'll recoup his investment after TV, DVD and other ancillary rights are sold. But he is backing off an earlier strategy to expand "Atlas" to 1,000 screens and reconsidering his plans to start production on a second film this fall.

"Why should I put up all of that money if the critics are coming in like lemmings?" said Aglialoro, who is chief executive of the exercise equipment manufacturer Cybex. "I'll make my money back and I'll make a profit, but do I wanna go and do two? Maybe I just wanna see my grandkids and go on strike."

What this means for rights-management is unclear, at least to me.

Reason's Shruggedapalooza here, including Aglialoro in happier times:

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  • ||

    He only made $3 million at the box office and thinks he'll get $17 million plus profit from rights???

  • ||

    He might, if the DVD sales are high. Maybe. He's probably boned, though.

  • ||

    Didn't Firefly/Serenity kinda suck it up on ratings/box office but then produce abnormally strong DVD sales? Maybe he's hoping for the same kind of small but rabid fan base response.

  • ||

    I believe so. Family Guy got put back on the air because their DVD sales were off the charts.

  • ||

    "Family Guy got put back on the air because their DVD sales were off the charts."

    I apologize for buying the early season DVDs, then.

    Damn manatees with idea balls.

  • ||

    That's correct. It was a huge success as a DVD.

    There's also foreign revenues to consider.

  • sarcasmic||

    Best sci-fi show ever.

  • Dello||

    Second best. Babylon 5 was better, but only because it had 110 episodes instead of 13.

  • ||

    Fourth best. #1 is Mystery Science Theater 3000 and #2 is Space Ghost Coast to Coast.

  • ||

    Zorak should have his own show.

  • ||

  • T||

    Well played, SF, well played.

  • ||

    This explains much than was heretofore unexplained.

  • ||

    That! Damned that-than confusion.

  • Law Student||

    Wasn't the Brak show close enough?

  • ||

    While Brak is great, Zorak is greater.

    Besides, there are those that believe that Brak already has another gig.

  • Cytotoxic||

    BSG is better.

  • ||

    No. First season was great, but it went downhill fairly rapidly. Not to say that even the later episodes (except the last one) weren't mostly good TV science fiction--they were.

  • ||

    It's a poor man's Cowboy Bebop.

  • David||

    Cowboy Bebop was awful.

    Yeah, I said it.

  • ||

    Yeah but this movie is shit compared to Serenity and Family Guy.

  • Paul||

    Libertarians will probably just bittorrent it anyway. Leaving no one left to actually buy it.

  • Otto||

    Objectivsts s/b believers in IP. some libertarians are, too.

  • ||

    I'm pro-IP, though not with the protection turned up to '11' like it is now.

  • Paul||

    Meh, there are only about 24 libertarians currently alive, so at $15 a pop for the DVD, the investors are looking at $360 and change in DVD returns. I'm thinking this is a financial bust.

  • Almanian||

    25 counting Glenn Beck. Well, HE calls himself libertarian, anyway.

  • ||

    Did you remember to include Bill Maher in your count?

  • ||

    But do objectivists believe developers have property rights to alter architectural designs as they see fit without their building being burned to the ground by the original architect?

  • ||

    No Objectivist ever burned a building to the ground. We get TNT, and blow them up.

  • sarcasmic||

    "Why should I put up all of that money if the critics are coming in like lemmings?"

    It's a given that the critics will pan any adaptation of Ayn Rand, especially if it makes an effort to stay true to the book's principles.

    It's not the movie they hate, it's the subject matter on which it is based.

  • Hugh Akston||

    SRSLY, I bet critics would pan it even if Paul Verhoeven were direct.

  • Tim Cavanaugh||

    Paul Verhoeven, I'm sorry to say, was exactly what this movie needed. I still say this movie wasn't as bad as its reputation, and way better than the critics claimed. But it really did need some post-literate Zach Snyder type who would ignore the politics and message, and just make a glamorous Hollywood movie out of it. That's why King Vidor's version of The Fountainhead was good, and was also an audience hit.

  • ||

    Kenneth Branagh's Atlas Shrugged. With all of those old Shakespearean actors (including him) that he likes to use.

    O for a Muse of steel, that would ascend
    The brightest heaven of invention,
    A business for a stage, tycoons to act
    And magnates to behold the swelling scene!
    Then should the tradelike Henry, like himself,
    Assume the port of Vulcan; and at his heels,
    Leash'd in like hounds, should foundry, carbon, and fire
    Crouch for employment.

  • Cytotoxic||

    Great idea! His production of Hamlet was really good.

  • ||

    Check out his Henry V if you haven't seen it--great stuff.

  • ||

    Probably, but you can't really tell from this, considering how shitty this movie was.

  • sarcasmic||

    Haven't seen it. I'll wait until I see it in the bargain bin.

  • robc||

    I thought it was decent. Not great, but definately not shitty.

  • ||

    Yeah, lefty movie scribes like P.J. O'Rourke were bound to hate Rand's message.

    On a side note, I haven't seen the movie but I'm guessing it's not as entertaining as O'Rourke's review.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    I'm disappointed, too, but drawing a red line across the throat of our second most beloved president is violent rhetoric that simply will not stand.

  • The Immaculate Trouser||

    At least it wasn't our most beloved President, William McKinley. That would have been an offense to rally the troops for.

  • ||

    Second? You mean after Obama?

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    I think we all know who the most popular president was.

  • ||

    I have no idea. Roosevelt? Reagan?

  • Almanian||

    You know who else had no idea...

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Well, it ain't David Palmer, that's for sure. The answer should be obvious.

  • Fiscal Meth||

    Yes we do. It was President Dwayne Elizondo Mountain Dew Herbert Camacho

  • ||

    I had a feeling this was the case. When everything goes silent about a movie after its first weekend...watch out.

    He had to expect the critics were going to attack it, though. Anyone could have predicted that.

  • Jim||

    Seems a little petulent of him to blame the critics. They were already bashing it before the release, and it still had a good opening weekend, so it seems more like it's bad word of mouth at this point.

    My wife, who is not into politics or economics in any way, shape, form, or fashion, thought it was "alright" and "better than I thought it would be", so I had hoped it would pick up some steam, but I guess not.

  • ||

    Hmm, no second rush to the theaters after gushing praise such as:
    "It was alright"
    and
    "Better than I thought it would be"

  • Jim||

    Coming from someone who is utterly uninterested in the subject matter, I called it a "win". And it was meant to contrast with how awful the critical reviews were. Point being, if someone completely apathetic to the film thought it was "alright", then people with a conservative political bent may have found it worth going out to see (and there are enough people who call themselves "conservative" in this country to give it several strong weeks).

  • Sudden||

    Yeah, as much as I thought it lacked entertainment value given its pace, I wouldn't say it was as bad as the critics said.

  • Mo||

    Critics aren't exactly kingmakers either. Critics loved Arrested Development and the show still had crappy ratings. Transformers 2 killed in the box office and was widely panned. Red Riding Hood did poorly and the critics hated it, but it still grossed over $30M. Even freakin' Arthur pulled in almost $30M and critics hated that shit.

  • ||

    The difference here is teenagers. Most of the people who go to movies in the first few weeks of release are teenagers, and this movie wasn't made for them.

  • Old Mexican||

    Maybe he could sell Part II and III to the Starz network...

  • kinnath||

    Showtime does Dexter; HBO does Game of Thrones. I'm convinced that the only way to do justice to a complex novel is with 10-13 episodes on a premium cable channel.

  • ||

    HBO Dune?

  • kinnath||

    Sounds good to me

  • kinnath||

    Showtime: Dexter; Shameless; Borgias. HBO: Deadwood; the Wire; Rome; Boardwalk; Game of Thrones.

    I can't think of a single show from an over-the-air network since Hill Street Blues that matches the quality of the storytelling on premium cable.

  • Fiscal Meth||

    I agree. That would be the perfect format for AS.

  • ||

    SyFy did Dune a while back. I didn't watch it, so I can't tell you if it was any good.

  • sarcasmic||

    I liked it.

  • sarcasmic||

    Then again I also read all six books in the series.

  • ||

    I saw part of it. Not so good. I've heard Children of Dune was better, but I'm not so interested in watching it after giving up on the first one.

    Besides, HBO is light years past SyFy in production quality.

  • sarcasmic||

    That's what I was thinking of.

  • ||

    SyFy movie ≠ SyFy TV show

  • ||

    That's why I don't watch SyFy TV shows... No resurrected killer dinosaur skeletons or sub-zero mini tornadoes? No thank you.

  • Jeff P||

    Two words: Sharktopus Shrugged.

  • ||

    > Two words: Sharktopus Shrugged.

    If it has another Debbie Gibson vs Tiffany catfight, I'd watch it.

  • ||

    > Two words: Sharktopus Shrugged.

    If it has another Debbie Gibson vs Tiffany catfight, I'd watch it.

  • ||

    > Two words: Sharktopus Shrugged.

    If it has another Debbie Gibson vs Tiffany catfight, I'd watch it.

  • ||

    It was bad. I watched a few and didn't finish the series, and I love Dune.

  • ||

    So, so fucking bad. So bad. Words fail me.

  • ||

    I only watched enough to stop watching, but what ticked me off was some very non-Dune dialogue. Paul was coming off as a 21st-century whiny teenaged brat, which is so wrong as to kill the show right then and there.

  • ||

    Please tell me you turned it off before you saw The Sardaukar. I like you too much to think you had to go through that.

  • ||

    I don't remember seeing them. I turned it off pretty early, when Paul was talking to Leto on Caladan, I think.

    The Sardaukar looked goofy in the movie, come to think of it. Why is that a problem for these filmmakers?

  • ||

    They looked worse on SyFy. Goth French Waiters At Comic-Con

  • robc||

    I dont understand it either. How hard is it to costume bad ass warriors?

  • ||

    Not at all?

  • ||

    So you're saying the Sardaukar should fight nude? At least Tony will be happy. (And Episiarch when no one else is around.)

  • ||

    No, wasn't going there. But you'd think bad-ass warrior wouldn't be too hard to do.

  • ||

    It was extremely good given the obviously low budget.

  • robc||

    Dune requires 18 episodes.

  • ||

    It needs a TV series, not a miniseries.

  • ||

    Dude the new Game of Thrones series slays.

  • Red Rocks Rockin||

    The story would have been more of an audience grabber if it had been a cable miniseries, IMO. It's just too unwieldy to shoehorn everything into three movies unless you have a star-studded cast and tight production. If he had spread it out over the course of a 10-15 episode series, it would have been a lot easier to pull a profit, AND get a lot of Rand's clunky narrative out of the story.

  • Rich||

    Too bad. It's a decent film, especially if you're never going to READ THE BOOK.

    Now to watch Bernanke croakspew.

  • The Immaculate Trouser||

    Stevie Wonder could have seen this one coming. A successful adaptation of Atlas Shrugged would have had to depart from the book to make it a good movie. Worse, the movie is so self-referential that it's pretty tough for someone who hasn't read the books to enjoy the film.

  • Holy Cow||

    People go to see movies based on title and star power.

    The title of the movie is terrible and has no stars.

    Yes, it will make more money on DVD.

    No one listens to critics. They often pan box office smashes while talking up small arthouse fare that no one has any interest in seeing.

    Movie critics are the worst people in the world. In fact, I'm pretty sure MNG and Tony and Chad are all movie critics. You get paid a pittance to watch (mostly) crap by people who make tons of money simply because they know the right people (there's no other way to make it in the film industry.)

  • ||

    I'm sorry, you can hate critics, but it doesn't mean that they are:
    a) Wrong
    b) Not listened to

    If you don't want to get a 6% rating [Battlefield Earth territory] at Rotten Tomatoes, make a better movie. Yes, some/a lot of those critics are surely assholes, but not 94% of them.
    [If you narrow it to "Top Critics" it rises to 7%]

    I've already read multiple reviews from critics who prefaced their reviews with
    "I've never read Rand" or "I don't know anything about Rand." You can disregard anyone with an ax to grind, but those people are just calling it like they see it.

    If the critics had hailed it as a "triumph" and a "must-see", would you have told all your friends to ignore the good reviews and go with their instincts on Atlas Shrugged Part I because critics are insipid?

  • ||

    There are good critics and bad critics, speaking as a critic critic.

  • Joe R.||

    That's what makes the % at RT useful. If a movie is at 40% or so, but has a director or a writer or an actor or a genre that I like, I figure I'll like it. But at under 10%, it's pretty much awful.

  • iamtheeviltwin||

    I usually know that if it hits the 60% mark it is going to be a decent film...If it is in the 40% or better area I will at least be entertained.

    Rotten Tomatoes has been my default review site for years.

  • ||

    This movie could have worked with relatively low production values and certainly without stars (the idea that stars are necessary is bullshit--most good actors aren't stars in the first place). However, the movie has to be entertaining.

  • Tim||

    He's taking his ball and going home. He certainly doesn't sound like he's taking personal responsibility for a market determined failure.

  • Fiscal Meth||

    It's true. And it's not hard to see why the movie just had to suck. I mean the guy who made it thinks that his decision not to make part II or III after he loses his ass on part one because it was a piece of shit that nobody cared about, is at all similar to the decision of the book's productive geniuses to go on strike rather than obey the creed that says the people's desperate need of them is what gives the people a claim on their lives. The guy just doesn't even have a working idea of the ideas in Atlas Shrugged.

  • prolefeed||

    I think it may be more that the opening day weekend was packed with Atlas fans, who now have seen it and aren't coming back for a second viewing, with no "legs" for a broader audience.

    Did he seriously think this movie, no matter how well made it might have been, wasn't going to get savaged by the critics when it attacked their ideology?

  • syllogism||

    All message movies suck. Atlas Shrugged is a message move.

  • ||

    An HBO miniseries starring Sean Bean as Rearden?

  • Tim||

    A porn infused HBO series starring...several hot chicks.

  • ||

    And Dolph Lundgren.

  • ||

    "And then he smells crime again, he's out busting heads. Then he's back to the lab for some more full penetration. Smells crime. Back to the lab, full penetration. Crime. Penetration. Crime. Full penetration. Crime. Penetration. And this goes on and on and back and forth for 90 or so minutes until the movie just sort of ends."

  • ||

    That would be the greatest movie since Lethal Weapon 5.

  • RyanXXX||

    Does he have a nose for a head?

  • Ska||

    Is this a bit from Archer?

  • The Immaculate Trouser||

    Always Sunny, IIRC.

  • ||

    "We show it. We show *all* of it."

  • ||

    I doubt it. Why don't we stay focused on Game of Thrones, mm'kay?

  • kinnath||

    I'm hooked.

  • ||

    We're talking years from now, so I think that one is safe.

    I was thinking more like Rome, anyway. In fact, why not use the same actors and shoot it in Italy? Sex, violence, and trains. Though, on second thought, I'd replace the trains with spaceships or, maybe, pizza, though.

  • ||

    Remove one or both "thoughs" at your pleasure.

  • ||

    Nah ProL, the government would try to make everyone make deep dish pizzas.

  • ||

    Strangely, I think the government is pizza neutral.

  • ||

    Government pizza... is there something below Domino's so I can make a comparison?

  • ||

    Little Cesar's.

  • ||

    I imagine it would be made with Velveeta and SPAM. It would also have to include some sort of corn.

  • Tortilla Pizza||

    And Oil of Olay!

  • kinnath||

    I lived on Domino's during college. I wass just on the edge of the delivery zone, so if the weather or the traffic was just a bit marginal, I would get a free pizza.

  • Atanarjuat||

    Yeah, how about my old public school pizza. Looked like a bathmat with sauce & cheese, topped with broken off pencil erasers.

  • ||

    Pizzeria Uno?

  • ||

    No way even this Chicagloand government commits on pizza. We'd have a civil war in no time. Besides, there's still the corn lobby to consider. It cares only about how much corn can be loaded onto a pizza--nothing else.

  • ||

    Is the corn loaded from a "cornhole"? Because that would be fitting for deep dish.

  • ||

    Dude, how can you make jokes about this? What do you think will be left of pizza when the government starts setting standards for it? Just imagine politically correct pizza, with lobbying to establish what is and is not appropriate. Probably will be simultaneously thick and thin, which is more of an abomination that your flatbread crap.

    And don't forget the corn. No olive oil--corn oil. Corn syrup. Domestic ingredients only. Etc.

  • iamtheeviltwin||

    Not to mention the complete removal of pork products to make the pizza compatible with certain religious diets...

  • Sandi||

    I took a shit on a deep dish pizza once.

  • ||

    I think Obama learned his lesson after he had pizza from St.-fucking-Louis shipped to the White House.

    I went to Pi (the aforementioned St. Louis pizza joint) a couple months ago and you know what I did? I ordered a salad. You gotta have principles.

  • ||

    What's a St. Louis pizza?

  • ||

    Probably deep fried. The city's cuisine is otherwise know for "toasted" (deep fried) ravioli and frozen custard.

  • ||

    What's a St. Louis pizza?

    Thin crust, verging on cracker crust. Square cut, toppings over cheese. Related to the "bar pizza" of New England.

  • ||

    Thus cementing the idea that the Midwest has contributed nothing useful to American culture.

  • St. Louis Pizza||

    You forgot Provel cheese, which is a blend of cheddar, swiss, and provelone cheeses.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Provel

  • ||

    "the government would try to make everyone make deep dish pizzas."

    Oh, a joke that's supposed to be insightful commentary on government interference in the pizza market.

  • Tim||

    Is that anything like Spurtacus?

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    The story needed more space insects.

  • ||

    What doesn't?

  • ||

    Starship Troopers?

  • sarcasmic||

    That had to be the single worst book to movie adaptation I have ever seen.
    Well, except for the shower scene.
    But other than that, worst ever.

  • Rich||

    Some of the worst acting I've ever seen.

    OTOH, blasted space insects were OK.

  • ||

    No, that could have used far more space insects and far less dialogue.

  • ||

    It would've been better if it had been the original story told strictly from the bugs' perspective. In bug language, without subtitles.

  • ||

    Where were the skinnies, dammit? Damn racist film-makers.

  • robc||

    Where were the powered suits? You cant make ST without the suits.

  • iamtheeviltwin||

    This is what I was missing. As an anime and mecha fan I wanted my live action powered suits...I think the opening sequence of the book would have been great on film.

  • ||

    "Where were the skinnies, dammit? "

    In Black Hawk Down.

  • ||

    Another problem the flick has I bet is its so dated. If I watch my socialism trope I will find it quite dated (even if I'm hardcore socialist) if its about grubby oppressed Oliver Twists in Victorian exploitation, but presented as a modern abstract construct. Which is what Atlas Shrugged is at this point (maybe it would make more sense in context of a Chinese guy making steel).

    A modern 'adaptation' of Atlas Shrugged would be more appropriate entertainment vehicle for the 'brand,' at least in cinema.

    John Galt could start out as digital apparition/hacker dude for instance. Instead of steel company, instead update where brilliant guy who owns Evil Inc. cooks up some revolutionary new internet-widget thing/ideal. Make the story modern or the idea it contains seems as dated as its vehicle.

  • Dello||

    +1.

    The classic example I can think of is West Side Story, an age old story updated for that moment in time.

    In fact, "America Shrugged" should be the name of the documentary chronicling the making of "Atlas"...

  • Sudden||

    Honestly, I don't think the use of trains caused the movie to suffer. If anything, the opening few minute montage explaining the dramatic rise in gas prices and the corrollary necessity of rail as the only form of commercial long distance transportation actually made a lot of sense in setting up the train line story. And it really made the movie feel relevent to the modern era (unrest in middle eastern oil producing areas, fed printing money, peak oil theory regardless of its merits).

    The movie's main hurdle was its poor adaptation. It was entirely reliant on excessive dialogue (the screenplay must've been absurdly long) and the need to squeeze all the dialogue in made the pace of the movie feel absolutely rushed with no moments for actors to take beats and discover what their words were saying within the scene.

  • Jason||

    I think Time Will Go Back plays with the dated theme well -- the socialist society in that novel had regressed technological back to the 1930's or 1940's. Historians whispered to each other that the capitalists had jets.

  • ||

    I hate to say it having not seen the movie, but if its as boring an entertainment vehicle as the book, it must be a real snoozer. Because the book is boring on booky-merits.

    I've always wondered how big a divergence in enthusiasm there is between libertarian-types who were 'turned' philosophically reading the book vs. those who already agreed with its general tenets before picking it up?

    I fall in the latter group by that measure, and I tried reading it not for exposure to ideas, but for a good read. And by that measure it failed in the worst way with me: I never finished it.

  • ||

    I'm in the latter also. Thought Atlas was OK. Fountainhead was much more entertaining.

  • robc||

    Im in the latter also. Like Atlas much more than Fountainhead.

  • Fartnoise||

    You and me both. I found the book such a turgid, ridiculous mess of a read that I couldn't finish it either.

  • Tman||

    I'm in the same boat. I agree with most libertarian principles thus I thought that AS would only further cement what I already believed. I'm sure that it would but I couldn't finish the damn thing. TL;DR.

    I'd rather read David Copperfield again, at least that had some exciting plot twists....and biting!

  • sarcasmic||

    Took me an entire year to read Atlas.
    I'd pick it up, flip forward to see how far I'd have to read until the next break, then put it down.
    Definitely was more work than pleasure.

  • Sudden||

    I'm also in the latter group. And I'll add that I've never read the bok, but saw the movie.

    As far as movies go, I really think they needed a better adaptation. I recognize that the book and story are so immensely dialogue driven, but by adapting that in a verbatim way, they created a movie that just felt rushed. There was no space for actors to take their beats, to discover in the scene what they were referring to in their dialogue. I don't know if it was poor acting or directing or just simply a matter of trying to condense too much dialogue in too little time. Given all of these factors, it was not the most entertaining movie.

  • Arcaster||

    I'm in the former group. Before I read Atlas, I was a solid Republican that didn't often question the party. The book helped me realize that both major parties suck.

  • Saro||

    Same for me.

  • Fluffy||

    I picked the book up as an atheist / libertarian, read it over a three-day weekend, and found it to be without a doubt the most entertaining book I had ever read.

    After reading the last page I ran out the door roadrunner-style and got The Fountainhead, which I found slightly less entertaining but more meritorious in a literary sort of way.

  • Derp||

    Maybe it isn't the message, maybe the movie itself is just bad?

  • X||

    should have made Wesley Mouch a vampire.

  • sarcasmic||

    He wasn't?

  • X||

    a sexy emo vampire. guaranteed box office.

  • Tim||

    Atlas the next generation with some bald guy.

  • Warren||

    This is exactly like Ron Paul's political support.

    A lot of fury on the internets and a hard-core of support that fails to translate into real results.

  • Tman||

    This is exactly like Ron Paul's political Libertarian political party support.
    A lot of fury on the internets and a hard-core of support that fails to translate into real results.
    reply to this.

    FTFY.

  • ||

    Still, Ron Paul was on "The View" the other day.

    The View.

    I can't believe it. That's like the next best thing to getting him on Oprah.

    Influencing the culture is more important than getting anyone elected.

    That's why sending a few bucks to Reason is more important than voting. At least it is to me.

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: Warren,

    This is exactly like Ron Paul's political support.


    What is "this"? I can't see what you're pointing at.

  • Franklin Harris||

    Look, this movie simply isn't good. It's not that it's horrible, it's just boring. It looks like a TV movie, the CGI effects for the climatic John Galt Line sequence look like they came out of one of those SyFy movies about mutant shark hybrids, and the whole affair is just plain passionless and sexless.

  • Sharktopus||

    ... candygram ...

  • ||

    Blaming the critics is very un-capitalist like.

    If I put up a building, and not enough people want to lease or buy it? It isn't the market's fault.

    Another one of the messages to take to heart here? It's amazing that a book that was published in the 1950s continues to influence so many people today...

    That having been said, the central message of "Atlas Shrugged" may be timeless, but but the book used settings, industries, language, sensibilities, etc. that were written to connect with the people of an era that's long gone.

    If you want a pro-capitalist movie to connect with audiences today? Start by writing a movie that targets the settings, industries, language, sensibilities, etc. that will connect with people today.

    Audiences of the 1950s didn't connect with Shakespeare's "Romeo and Juliet" like they did with "West Side Story"--you get the picture.

  • anti-ron paul||

    Don't sulk,Aglialoro.Instead of going Galt,maybe you just need to make a different movie.I suggest a biopic of Ayn Rand's ideal man,William Hickman.

  • ||

    That having been said, the central message of "Atlas Shrugged" may be timeless, but but the book used settings, industries, language, sensibilities, etc. that were written to connect with the people of an era that's long gone.

    Yeah, an update to, say, someone trying to start a private space company would likely have helped.

    But the Randian purists would have howled.

  • ||

    That seems like the obvious angle to me, too, to modernize the story. Materials are important to space flight. You could even have it be a space elevator, which is fairly analogous to rail.

  • Tim Cavanaugh||

    Or even, maybe, envisioning a bizarro America where a failed auto manufacturer gets taken over by the government...

  • ||

    Too implausible.

  • Fluffy||

    So, wait - do you think there might be a market for a BOOK that was a completely derivative ripoff of Shrugged, but which used an updated setting and fun shit like space elevators?

  • ||

    It's funny you should say that, because on a recent commute, it occurred to me that the basic plot could be adapted to a science fiction story. . .one that's better written and with some of the odder bits surgically removed. There's precedent for such things--The Stars My Destination (The Count of Monte Cristo), for instance. Not, I hasten to add, that that example was an improvement on the original, which is one of the great novels, ever.

  • ||

    Yeah, that's what I'm saying.

    There's no need to make "Atlas Shrugged".

    The central theme is timeless, but Shakespeare didn't call "Hamlet", "Oedipus Rex".

    They didn't call "West Side Story", "Romeo and Juliet".

    Oh! They didn't call "The Warriors", "Anabasis" and they didn't call "Oh Brother, Where Art Thou?", "The Odyssey".

    A straight retelling of any of those original stories would have made those movies teh suck.

    And if you did a straight retelling of the story because doing anything else would have pissed off the Objectivists, then don't be surprised if the only people who went to see the film were Objectivists.

  • ||

    Seriously, if I were a producer, I'd do it this way. Different story, same idea.

  • affenkopf||

    He should blame audiences not critics. He sounds like a whiny bitch. Threatening to go on strike doesn't work when nobody wants your product.

  • WI Public School Teachers||

    No shit.

  • Daze||

    $3 million in its first ten days is more than I imagined this film would make. A 50% drop from first weekend to second weekend is standard.

    What kind of Randian capitalist whines, "boo hoo, I lost money because people said mean things about me"?

  • iamtheeviltwin||

    As I read his comments it was more like "the criticism wasn't worth going through again to make the other parts"

    He quite clearly thinks he is going to make his money back.

    But maybe I read it wrong...

  • ||

    So did Rand say "Waaa! The critics are so mean to me! I'm never writing another book!"?
    WTF?

    Rand was fucking immune to criticism. I'm dead certain she would have despised this guy's attitude.

  • TWylite||

    I was totally going to go see "part 1", but I haven't gotten around to it yet, on account of being real busy with the ongoing consolidation of my progressive rock music library into aIsATunes (my proprietary, closed source, fully Objective and Rational music library software system), and 2 of my 7 cats (Dagny and Kira) are sick with feline goiter. Anyway, I'll definitely Netflix this movie if I don't make it to the theater to see it.

  • John Aglialoro ||

    NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!

  • Kristen||

    It's not very objectivisty of him not to take responsibility for his own crap and blame sociiiiiieeeety! Someone call whambulance.

    I actually liked the book, and always thought it would make a good big-budget fling, what with all the assplosions and train wrecks and shit.

  • ||

    Oh, poor me, the critics are so mean! You objectivist fans should watch my movie three times each out of a sense of duty to Ayn Rand! I'm sure she would have wanted you to help a brother out!

  • Jerry||

    The biggest mistake they made was placing this movie in the current time period. That's not giving testament to a book that was written in the 1950s.

  • ChrisO||

    I wonder how many DVD copies of this are going to be sold if everyone knows that Parts 2 & 3 aren't going to be made? Sounds like a write-off to me, and that's too bad.

    Maybe it would have been a better idea to work on a good movie version of The Fountainhead instead.

  • ||

    C'mon - we haven't even gotten a chance to see the movie here in Canada!! There are at least a couple of us up here that will like it.

  • ||

    People who think Rand's bad guys are cartoonish should flip back to the WalMart thread.

  • Fluffy||

    When you can't convince ME to go to the movie theatre to see your Atlas adaptation, you are going to lose your fucking shirt.

    SRSLY.

    The problem here isn't that critics panned the film. It's that the entire history of its making made most fans of the material wince in advance.

    I can't bring myself to see it because I just picture myself wincing over and over for two hours and that doesn't sound pleasant.

    There are probably enough people out there who read and enjoyed the book to make an audience for a movie. Just not THIS movie.

  • Sudden||

    I can't bring myself to see it because I just picture myself wincing over and over for two hours and that doesn't sound pleasant.

    It's only 97 minutes though. So if you're wincing for over two hours, you must start by wincing at the previews of Roland Emmerlich's Anonymous alleging that Shakespeare was a fraud.

  • ||

    They screened trailers for Beaver where I went to see it. That's enough to get anyone wincing, or at least laughing.

  • masonary@gmail.com||

    Yet another sign that libertarians suck. No one likes you guys. But yea...keep blaming roger ebert and 'the critics' or something. Idiots.

  • ||

    Cool story, bro.

  • Kristen||

    Reading comprehension fail.

  • ||

    No one like us? How are we ever going to be elected to student union???

  • Sudden||

    no one likes you guys

    I think I speak for the group here when I say that we consider that the highest form of praise you can offer. Merit and popularity appear to be negatively correllated.

  • Arcaster||

    Well said.

  • masonary@gmail.com||

    A classic libertarian jagoff response. Stop trying to sound smart and go back to your parent's basement

  • ||

    Shouldn't that be masonry? Or are you positing sort sort of masonary position?

  • masonary@gmail.com||

    A classic libertarian jagoff response.

    My name just happens to be Mason A. Ry.

  • ||

    My name just happens to be Mason A. Ry.

    LOL

  • ||

    You should start a blog called "The Masonary Position".

  • robc||

    As far as I could tell, the vast majority of those who saw it in same showing as me really liked it.

    The majority (not vast) were much older than me too, which was weird, as I tend to skew the movie viewership up myself.

    Maybe they didnt mind the train references like most of you seem to because they experienced the 50s first hand.

  • Atlas||

    What the fuck is this shit?

  • ||

    Just shrug it off, dude.

  • Confederal_Republic_by_2030||

    Who the fuck are you? What the fuck is my name doing in the title of some low-budget flick? I AM SO CONFUSED.

  • Confederal_Republic_by_2030||

    Pretend I posted that as 'Atlas'.

  • ||

    Waaaaaa! What a whiney fucking pussy.

    What does he think that the fans of the book are obligated to support his livelihood by going to see a bad movie? Two or three times each maybe?

    What the hell kind of objectivist is he?

  • Tim Cavanaugh||

    Comp with another adaptation of a more-than-50-year-old book released this year: Jane Eyre has done $7,956,550 since coming out in March. Production budget is N/A, but judging by the trailer it looks to have better production value than Atlas Shrugged. And an 82 percent favorable score at Rotten Tomatoes. With all that it got more than twice the box office but still not exactly a wildfire.

    That was another way to go with the marketing on Atlas Shrugged: Try to sell it as a prestige picture. Nobody considers it a political judgment when a prestige picture fails. Ulysses, the most critically acclaimed novel of the 20th century, got made into two movies: The first got censored at the Cannes film festival, the second never saw the inside of a movie house, and both were pretty bad. But nobody says that's any kind of knock against Joyce.

    Instead, they invented something new for the Atlas Shrugged movie: a paranoid marketing campaign, based on the presumption that mainstream America is conspiring against the movie and selling it to nobody except people who were already going to see it on a junket. They apparently didn't even send the NYT an invitation to the press screening. And mainstream America obliged: Los Tiempos de Nueva York, eschewing its own longstanding policy of reviewing everything that opens in New York (invitation or no), never reviewed the movie.

    If there's a judgment on Rand in all this, it may be that when you get a bunch of objectivists together, everybody thinks he's Howard Roark. Unfortunately when you're selling an actual capitalist product in an actual capitalist market, treating customers like enemies is almost never a good idea.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    But no one cares if you paint your critics as modern-day Tooheys.

  • ||

    It's quite simple--the movie needs a good storyteller, not just a true believer. Good actors (albeit unknowns) aren't that hard to find--stars aren't necessary. Good directors and writers are a little harder to find, but they're out there.

    A cheap, but decent quality production, is not that hard to do. And I agree--the angle should be a prestige film, not a political one. In a way, politicizing it is a mistake, anyway, because Rand saw herself as somewhat outside of the political parties.

  • Tim Cavanaugh||

    The next movie that gets a reputation for being political and does well at the box office will be the first one. Even a fairly apolitical movie like The Right Stuff failed at the box office in part because John Glenn was running for the Democratic presidential nomination and the movie buzz got mixed up with that. Politics has always meant box office death, but it's a lesson every generation has to learn again.

  • Jim||

    Milk did alright, and it was quasi-political. I suppose that could be open to debate.

    Also, Evita was clearly a mocumentary indictment of the Whitewater Clinton conspiracy.

  • Tim Cavanaugh||

    Whatever that movie was really about, Madonna got robbed at the Oscars!

  • ||

    I think there's something to this. Obviously, movies with political messages are made all the time, some with great box office success, but in the successful ones, the political content is often not overt or not generally recognized as such.

    Last thing Americans want is to be preached at in our movies.

  • ||

    You could actually do quite a bit with Atlas Shrugged on the storyteller side. 'Sex it up' as they say.

    Weird as it seems, Tim Burton doing that movie in black and white Metropolis/Fritz Lang style would be potentially compelling to general moviegoers I think. Make it a analogue to this world, but with no pretenses to particular historical reality per se.

  • What the||

    Ulysses, the most critically acclaimed novel of the 20th century

    Not.

  • Tim Cavanaugh||

    You may think the critics or wrong or not like the book or not have read the book or whatever. But if you google "best novel 20th century" or "novel most scholarly citations" or "20th century novel," you will find Ulysses at the top of several lists, in the top 10 of most others, and in the first page results in all cases. As of the 1990s, Joyce was the subject of twice as many scholarly articles as second placeholder Faulkner. Again, you may not like the book, but the phrase was "most critically acclaimed," and Ulysses is the most critically acclaimed novel (in English at any rate) of the last century.

  • ||

    Wow. I'm very disappointed in Aglialoro.

    An Objectivist, whining about the critics. Is he kidding me? Did Roark get his panties in a bunch over what the critics said? Did Rand?

    The critics panning the movie, and the divergence from the audience ratings, probably helps sales in his target audience, and it certainly gave some extra free media to the movie.

    I expected earnings to drop after the first week, at least per theater. There was a 50 year pent up demand from a devoted and motivated fan base, who were going to see the movie the first second it opened. I saw it at a thursday midnight showing. Bought a ticket weeks in advance. I wore a couple of little gold dollar sign stickers on my jacket lapel.

    They just should have made a better movie. It was pretty good right up to about the triumphant train ride. They should have just filled out the movie, and ended it there.

    After the train ride, it seemed like a random collection of scenes, where their changes to the story left the plot often making little sense. And it seemed to go all political all the time, and lost the major philosophical threads.

    I left the theater disappointed in the movie. Not in the acting, not in "production values", but in the story itself, as the distortions of the plot and the sense of life from the book sapped much of the impact from the story.

    I don't know what he expected. If the movie has legs by word of mouth, people will keep coming. Rotate it around the country, have limited showings, and get the audience the book has. Watch the Amazon sales of the book.

    The book didn't make all its sales in the first weekend. Settle down and see what happens.

  • ||

    You know, something I haven't seen much complaining about is the splitting up of the book into three movies. Why? Yes, it's a long book, but books get abridged in movies all the time. I'm not sure I buy that it's necessary with this book.

  • ||

    It strikes as entirely objectivist and libertarian that people would wait for Atlas Shrugged to be released in DVD or on Pay Per View to watch it.

  • ||

    Or download it for free off Bittorrent.

  • Thom||

    Wouldn't the second movie just be one dude talking for two hours? It seems like he could get that made pretty cheaply.

  • Max||

    Really stupid badly written shit rarely makes a good movie. Rand was a matzah ball talentless fanatic, welfare queen, anti-arab racist and a shitty writer. The asshole who invested his money in making such an idiotic movie deserves to lose his fucking shirt.

  • ||

    This cunt is done. Move on for Christ's sake--you guys are sounding like fucking cultists already.

  • I Heart Capitalisms||

    Update: 'Atlas Shrugged' Producer Promises Two Sequels Despite Terrible Reviews, Poor Box Office
    http://www.hollywoodreporter.c.....two-182714

    He's learned his lesson about marketing:
    Aglialoro acknowledged that spending almost no money on marketing and relying almost entirely on the Internet and talk radio -- a strategy he boasted of a week ago -- was ineffective in the long run.

    "You really need to spend millions to get the message on TV screens," he said. "If I want Part 2 to open on 1,500 screens, I need to decide if I want to spend $10 million on TV commercials."

  • Tim Cavanaugh||

    And the sequels are back on. Right after Taylor Schilling had her business cards printed up for that Marina del Rey Coldwell Banker...

  • ||

    Yeah,...

    Unless you have a deal in the works, you're not really in the business.

    And if you think you can make your money back? And you're doin' alright financially otherwise?

    Why not be in the business?

  • ||

    "I'm going to get a picture of Ebert and Travers and the rest of them so I can wake up in the morning and they'll be right there. They're revitalizing me with their outrageousness."

    On second thought, that's kinda scary actually.

  • Tb||

    Ok, I've read the book several times (usually takes a few days), loved it, and knew I'd see the movie regardless of the reviews. I'm sorry to say that the movie, as lovingly made as the producer thinks it was, is like finding someone pissing on Ayn Rand's grave and calling it a tribute. It was just bad: casting, screenplay, direction, cgi, even the freaking cheap-ass rearden metal bracelet (it was supposed to be links goddamit).

    I agree with those above who said HBO or Showtime would do a better job of this. I'd rather live in The Wire than watch AS Part 1. The other alternative that would have probably been the easiest to do on short money would be full or partial animation. People criticize the book for being cartoonish; embrace that and make something like Sin City.

    Either way, the movie missed badly. As the giant calendar in the book forbodes, Aglioloro, your days are numbered. Give up the rights to someone who won't make it look like a very special episode of One Tree Hill.

  • ||

    I haven't seen the movie yet, but from the reviews I take it that it was about as good a movie as time and budget would permit. Too bad it couldn't have been better, but I don't think any of us Rand admirers should worry too much about it. There is a sort of ethos in our society that any good or great work of literature isn't validated until it's been turned into a successful movie. While it might have been nice to bring Rand's ideas to a wider audience, her books still continue to sell in huge numbers year after year. It's really the new readers of Rand that we should value, not the prospective movie-goers. The producers should receive our thanks for a worthy attempt: They did what good, entrepreneurial capitalists have always done--took a chance and gave it their best shot. I think AR would have appreciated that.

  • obi juan||

    But the time and budget were a problem of Aglialoro's own doing. He began filming the day before he would have lost the rights. Everything could have been better if he had simply started the project earlier instead of waiting until the last possible minute.

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