All Your Atlas Shrugged, Part I Coverage Right Here!


So Atlas Shrugged Part I debuted on April 15 and had a damn good opening weekend for a truly indie flick. With a reported $10 million budget and about 300 screens, it pulled in about $1.7 million over the weekend, according to Box Office Mojo. On a per-screen basis, it hauled $5,640, putting it third behind Rio and Scream 4 (each of which appeared on over 3,000 screens) for movies that appeared on more than two or three screens.

The reviews haven't been kind: Over at Rotten Tomatoes, the critics count finds just 8 percent of reviewers grokking Atlas Shrugged, compared to 85 percent of audience responses. Which probably mirrors the critical/audience reception splits of Rand's novel.

For those interested in ongong Reason coverage of the film and its reception, hoof over to this page, which aggregates all the stuff we've been doing about Atlas Shrugged Part I.

D'oh! update: Included link to page!

NEXT: Atlas Shrugged's Makers Speak!

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  1. Which page was that?

    1. Who is John Galt?

      1. The link is hidden in a secret valley in Colorado, where the rotters can’t see it.

        1. There it is!

      2. FREEDOM. Free Phil. Legalize weed.

  2. Whar is Royal Wedding coverage? Whar?

    1. Here’s all you need to know.

  3. So, the Reason editors have all of their 401ks sunk into this Atlas Shrugged movie, huh?

  4. I’d be curious to see what the average amount of a films budget is typically recouped in opening weekend boxoffice receipts.

    1. It varies. But for AS to do 1/5 of its budget on one weekend is pretty impressive. Or maybe not. In the end, all that matters is performance over time. A lot of massively shitty movies have pretty good opening weekends because the word hasn’t gotten out yet not to see them; then their performance goes in the toilet.

      If AS makes its money back, and then some, it did well.

    2. I imagine it’ll do very well the the secondary market. A lot of people will drop the $20 on the DVD. I wonder if not being produced and distributed by a major will make the payoff there even better.

      1. And overseas. As we move to socialism, the rest of the world is learning about capitalism.

    3. The rule of thumb used to be that a film needed to gross twice its budget to break even.

      1. that was before merchandising

        1. Totally. They need action figures, toy trains & a Galt’s Gulch cookbook…

          1. They selling Reardon metal bracelets already.

          2. They have copies of the Reardon metal bracelet available. Someone will buy those. I wouldn’t be surprised to various kinds of dollar sign items offered either – although those may not come until or unless part three is made.

    4. As a rule of thumb the studio and movie industry use 1/3. One third of total gross revenue is usually earned on opening weekend.

      As far as how much budget is recouped, it varies VERY widely since film budgets vary so much. The only way to calculate it accurately is to group films with similar budgets.

      It’s very difficult to see this as a positive opening weekend for the film. The real positive is that it opened at 300 theatres. That’s a reasonably high number for a little indie film that lacked even the budget to… say… make a Nat Taggart statue out of papier mache’.

      The real test will be this weekend. If the theatre count increases, film bookers were impressed with the per theatre count, and the film will expand. My guess is… it will not. Theatre counts will shrink. Fast.

      Box Office Mojo has (their usual) excellent coverage here:

      1. That per theater average is high. If it can remain close, then it will pick up more screens.

  5. I’m a guy trapped in a weird place, as I’m pretty libertarian but Ayn Rand’s original little cult gives me the creeps (she’s like L. Ron Hubbard in drag) and Atlas Shrugged is basically Ambien on paper. But I still do hope the movie does well. Might just go see it myself.

    1. Ayn Rand wasn’t the slightest bit like L. Ron Hubbard. And millions found Atlas Shrugged riveting and un-put-downable.

      1. Millions found L. Ron Hubbard riveting and un-put-downable. And they both had a peculiar demanding attitude with their ‘followers’ that frankly was manipulative.

        And I’ve never seen anyone read either Atlas Shrugged or L. Ron’s ‘canon’ and find their tomes entertaining unless they agreed or were convinced with the message their respective media promoted.

        1. I get annoyed with the Rand cult for the simple reason that I don’t really give a shit about her and have no interest in reading her books, so I would rather have them cover other issues rather than Rand.

          That being said, I realize there are plenty of folks who are into Rand (she was my wife’s gateway to libertarianism) so I can’t blame Reason for all the Rand coverage. It’s like how I get annoyed with the overabundance of IPA’s in the craft beer market. If the market dictates it, then my annoyance is MY problem, not the market’s.

          1. I…hate…IPAs. And my hatred is NOT my problem…it is the problem of all the IPA brewers and their families, friends, and pets, who I am going to destroy once I’m dictator.

            1. You guys don’t like shoving pine cones down your gullet? Why not?

              1. Because they’re not gay but in serious denial like you?

                Seriously, though, non-IPA beers usually are too weak for me. I likes me some hops.

      2. Not sure if Hubbard envisioned what Scientology would become, either.

        But the Objectivist Foundation (or whatever it’s called) is much like Scientology. Do a little googling.

        1. Make a real point with evidence or you’re full of shit.

      3. I put it down many times, then stomped on it, tried to tear it in half, but then eventually succumbed to it and tried to enjoy myself…sound familiar?

    2. I knew Ayn Rand was exactly like L. Ron Hubbard when the Ayn Rand Institute made me pay over $200,000 to reach Productive Hero 8 (PH8) in order to learn the secret of Galt’s Gulch.

      1. Operating Objectivist 26 let’s you fly I here.

        But only if you’re Clear.

    3. She is one of the largest proponents of individualism out there.

      Seems hard not to like that.

  6. I’m interested in this primarily because it necessarily does not include all the excess descriptive baggage Rand stuffed into the novel.

    1. Ayn Rand didn’t as a rule go in for “descriptive baggage.” Philosophical richness (or baggage, depending on your viewpoint), yes. Over the top dialog, yes. Heavy descriptive prose, not so much. In any case, the movie doesn’t convey one thousandth of the wealth of ideas in the book. And it would be unfair to expect it to. So if you are interested in the ideas, you have to read the book. The movie is like “dessert.”

    2. Legalize weed. FREEDOM. why is weed Schedule I; cocaine Sch. II ? ? what has happened to the Govt ?

    3. Legalize weed. FREEDOM. why is weed Schedule I; cocaine Sch. II ? ? what has happened to the Govt ?

      1. because cocaine is used in dentistry while weed has no approved use. Duh.

        1. IIRC, some eye surgery, too.

  7. They should do the full speeches as DVD extras, just for laughs.

    1. It’d be hard to top this guy’s reading of the Money Speech. Mid-century pitch perfect.

  8. The last I checked, the movie was playing at around 300 theaters. I’d be interested in knowing how many others have picked it up, if any, in light of it’s success.

    1. Supposedly, it’s soon coming to 1,000 theaters, but I don’t know when.

  9. I see Cathy Young’s review was an absolutely terrible reboot of every “pox on both their houses” column she has written for the past 10 years. Shocking.

    1. Like she would have ever gotten a job at Reason if she hadn’t mastered the detached ironic hipster pose.

  10. I am not an objectivist. But I will say this,

    1. If you have to be an atheists, you might as well be an Objectivist. At least it overs an answer to the questions of existential meaning as opposed to pretending they don’t exist.

    2. For all of the slamming on Rand’s prose (yeah she is not Tolstoy we got it), her prose is a thousand times better than most of the garbage that passes for serious literature now days. Have any of the jackasses name calling Rand about her prose ever tried to read DBC Pierre or David Foster Wallace or any of the other fucking MFA writers’ workshop crap that passes for fiction now? If they had and been paying attention, they would have to admit Rand’s prose reads like Thomas Mann or Elliot.

    1. compared to them.

      Sorry forgot those last three key words.

    2. The first thing that comes to mind when someone writes “the garbage that passes for serious literature nowadays” is Ulysses, and that’s supposed to be The Greatest Novel of the 20th Century.

      1. Ulysses is unreadable. That is until your ead Finnigan’s Wake. And then you realize what unreadable is. Joyce has his moments. There are excerts of his language where you are like “wow”. But as a novelist, I don’t get it. Never have.

      2. I’m too big of a wuss to take on Ulysses (or Infinite Jest for that matter) but I think The Sound and the Fury is probably the most brilliant work I’ve ever read and I even enjoyed Gravity’s Rainbow in a sadomasochistic brain-teaser sort of way, so as is the case with modern visual art, I’m not ready to throw out all modern literature just because some of it is unreadable.

        1. Hey. You beat me…by one minute. Damn.

        2. I like A Hundred Years of Solitude. That is a freaky book but very well written and entertaining. I also love Thomas Mann. Dr. Faustus and The Magic Mountain are great.

          1. Hundred Years is pretty good. Haven’t read the others.

            1. Dr. Faustus was written during World War II and is an alagory for Germany and Hitler. The Magic Moutain is about a guy who goes to Davos Switzerland to see a friend at a TB asylum planning to stay for a few months and winds up staying seven years.

        3. Joyce is fucking awful. Just ungodly terrible. Not because he was such a bad writer, but because he was a douchebag of incredible proportions.

          I really don’t care how conflicted you are about going to that prostitute, James. Get over it, you fucking idiot.

          1. YES!!YES!!YES Yeah, he was a douchebag.

          2. Joyce never did anything for me. I suppose I could try to read him again, since the last time I did was over twenty years ago, but I don’t really want to. I just don’t get him being ranked so high among authors.

      3. What about “Moby Dick” (not 20th century, but whatever). I hate that book. Its the only book I literally skipped chapters in its so bad.

        Yes, I did just see some hatin on books and wanted to get my pet peeve in.

        1. I liked Moby-Dick, but it’s one of the few great novels that is greatly improved by a well-edited abridgement. I simply didn’t need to know that much about the whaling profession.

          1. You mean you could actually stand the whiteness of the whale chapter? I wanted to find and burn a whale effigy slogging through that descriptive mess.

        2. You have to realize it was written in the mid-19th century, when it was trendy for writers to write like they were employed by National Geographic on an educational mission. It’s like Age of Exploration porn.

          1. Ahh! That explains why Verne’s Twenty Thousand Leagues Under The Sea reads like a travelogue documentary about sea flora and fauna.

            1. Though in fairness I much enjoyed his Journey to the Center of the Earth. A better book in my opinion.

        3. Melville’s short stories are actually quite brilliant, and often really funny and bawdy. Which has nothing to do with Moby Dick, but I figured I’d just chime in. Amazed at what he did in the nineteenth century. Melville, however, was quite the jerk, and his in-laws seriously considered kidnapping his wife to get her away from him.

      4. Having only browsed through parts of Ulysses, I got the feeling that Joyce was playing one huge inside joke on high-culture status seekers.

    3. You want a elitist literary mind-fuck that’s still good?

      Gravity’s Rainbow

      ‘Nuff said.

    4. John you’ve been providing the most interesting AR commentary I’ve yet to hear from a conservative, and probably from a libertarian too. On the subject of over-hating Rand, I find other people over-rated too. I read Crime and Punishment and while not bad I thought it dragged out a lot. Dostoyevsky gets way too much head. And for the love of all you hold dear do not read or even approach Fathers and Sons. When I and the rest of The Collective seize control, just before privatizing the libraries I am going to take all the F&S copies I can find, give them to my followers, and have an F&S book-burning festival. There will be brownies and it will fuckin’ A.

      1. Crime and Punishment is good; Brothers Karamazov is great.

        1. Hmmm…haven’t read that one. Got a lot of reading to do.

      2. You’re SHITTING me! I loved Fathers and Sons!

        As for Dostoyevsky, The Brothers Karamozov is longer, but much better than Crime and Punishment.

        1. No, you’re shitting me. I hated that book almost as much as I hated COD:MW2’s campaign.

    5. she is not Tolstoy

      To her credit.

    6. I think you really picked the wrong guy to make your more general point. David Foster Wallace can write circles around Ayn Rand, and I have no real problem with her. I’m a fan of his, and admittedly biased, but that claim seems way off-base when considering careful readers, other authors’ opinions, and critical consensus. He was revered by his modern contemporaries, sat on stodgy boards like the usage panel of the American Heritage Dictionary, the list goes on…

      He actually fought against the more hardcore MFA tendenices toward obscurantism and disdain for the reader. It really is fairly easy reading, Brief Interviews With Hideous Men aside.

    7. How do you know what Tolsoy’s prose is like? Do you read Russian?

  11. My brief review (saw it Saturday night with a friend):

    I went in with low expectations. The movie exceeded them.

    Aesthetically, it wasn’t a bad looking film at all. Despite what some feared, it did not look like it was shot on a cheap camcorder. The main characters were generally well cast, with the exception of James Taggart – Marsden is a decent actor, that wasn’t the problem. For my money Marsden’s James Taggart was too lean, fit, and good looking to be a proper Randian villain. There was nothing the slightest bit degenerate or puffy about him. (I think they should have approached Barney Frank for the role. I also would have loved to have seen Alan Alda as Orren Boyle or Wesley Mouch – he was excellent in a similar role in The Aviator.) I also didn’t like the D’Anconia, but that’s probably personal taste – he should have been leaner, taller, and more elegant. Hank Rearden was well done, Lillian somewhat less so. Hugh Akston was absurdly cast, in my view. He looked and spoke like a stocky Arizona hick. Those who claimed the movie was full of time wasting shots of Colorado panoramas were wildly exaggerating. Most of the scenes occurred indoors, in richly appointed rooms. The scenes which showed the laying of the Rearden metal tracks and the subsequent run of the John Galt Line were very effective.

    Philosophically, there isn’t much there. Granted, this is part one of the novel, and the philosophical main course is in part three. I think its fair to describe it as a “Fox News” version of the story – an understandable story, a clear point, and a few sound bite “zingers” to get the the audience riled up, but intellectually very light fare.

    Still, in all, I think it will help Ayn Rand’s message resonate in America and the world, and it will do no harm to either the reputation of the novel or to the objectivist and/or libertarian movements.

    1. I’m a big fan of the book and had a similar reaction.

      What annoyed me was how frequently there would be a really awkward choice in the scripting or cinematography that completely pulled me out of the film, usually in an attempt to throw in Objectivist-sounding statements or check off elements of the plot from the novel. That’s not a problem of the budget but the writing the directing. I’d rank the black-and-white MISSING snapshots and almost every scene with Dick Tracy/John Galt high on that list. Same with telling the audience that Wyatt’s going to host a dinner for Dagny and Hank by having it go out on a news broadcast. (What?)

      They would also occasionally have the heroes toss off Randian bon mots which made little sense in context, as if the point was to tell everyone the philosophical points the book makes instead of just showing it through the plot and more realistic dialog. I’m an Objectivist and it bugged me, so I kind of wince at the thought of your typical movie-goer’s reaction.

      I actually thought the CGI was basically fine.

      1. The casting choices were atrocious. I do believe the casting director (if they had one) never read a single word of the book. The Hugh Akston choice was idiotic and incomprehensible, as were Ellis Wyatt, James Taggart and, most damnably, Dagny herself, who was utterly clueless throughout the spectacle and had all the conviction and credibility of a sedated Barbie doll.

  12. I’m actually kind of glad the movie is getting horrible reviews. (8% of Rotten Tomatoes so far)

    If you’re any sort of fan of the book, you really don’t want it being eclipsed by a film adaptation. Unless it is a stunningly spectacularly good film adaptation that captures the spirit of the book precisely, like the LOTR films. (And even then, a lot of book fans weren’t happy).

    I would much rather have the uninitated feel compelled to read the original novel, than think that they’ll get a good summary by popping in a movie adaptation instead.

    +1 for preserving the mystery.

  13. Oh yeah, and I’d much rather see a film adaptation of ‘We the Living’, which actually has much more literary merit than it’s usually credited with.
    Rand’s most underrated book.

    1. It’s been done, if you can stand subtitles.

      I have no problems with B&W and subtitled films, and I thought they were very good.

      1. OK, but it would be nice to see a modern english language version.

    2. Netflix doesn’t have it, but Amazon does – although they’re out of stock now. (I wonder why…)

      Alida Valli – who starred in “The Third Man” plays Kira.

      1. Torrent maybe?

        1. Possibly – you’d know more about Torrent than me. I actually saw them (on VHS) through a University library.

  14. The movie can’t be very good. There’s no cam up on The Pirate Bay yet.

    1. Yikes, that’s pretty embarrassing! Maybe the production company’s PR department can quickly upload something…

    2. There was late Friday night / early Saturday morning. There was a link to it here at H&R, but the torrent has disappeared. No, I didn’t watch it – I’ll pay to see the film – if I see it at all.

  15. So I saw the movie last night. After mulling it over for about 24 hours I’ve come to the conclusion that it was just so-so.

    I thought the acting was pretty decent, actually impressive at times, given the budget. The same with the cinematography and score.

    My major problem with the movie was the screen-play. The plot would have been borderline incomprehensible if I hadn’t read the book. It definitely felt like they just cut out parts of the book and put it on screen.

    It really needed some rewriting to translate from book to movie. I feel like the message was kind of lost, which made me sad because I love how well the book makes you reconsider the standard liberal philosophy/morality many of us are indoctrinated with.

  16. Saw it over the weekend. It’s not a masterpiece, but it’s much better than the critics say. Essentially the writers chose to focus on the storyline, while pushing the novel’s long philosophical monologues and shrill tone into the background. So, the film is a very different experience from reading the book. But it was probably the right choice: a really faithful adaptation of the novel probably wouldn’t work at all as a movie.

  17. I read the book about 30 years ago and saw the movie Saturday night. I, too, had low expectations and they were not disappointed.

    I somewhat enjoyed the movie, but that only means I didn’t walk out midway to cut my losses.

    The film was indeed faithful to the novel, and that’s the problem. A story about the struggle of 1940’s steel, railroad, and oil tycoons with the 1940’s federal government set in 2016 is just too embarrassingly unrealistic to a critical viewer.

    – It’s hard to imagine shortages of iron ore being a problem. The original story should have adapted to make Rearden carbon nanotube technology threaten the entire ferrous metals industry, or something like that, to make it relevant.
    – Railroads? Really … railroads? Hey, I like trains, too, and I know they are important, but railroads? This whole storyline should have been adapted to incorporate some sort of conflict with the Left’s current love interest in high-speed rail. Absent that, it makes the whole story ridiculous.
    – Oil is transported in pipelines, not by rail.
    – The 20th Century Motors’ magic motor story is pretty well worn out and now sounds more like the unicorn and rainbow power schemes advocated by the Left. It, too, should have been adapted to 21st century.
    – A bank CEO goes Galt? You gotta be kidding! A BANK CEO? With the exception of a few regional and community banks, there are no mouchers and looters more obvious than too-big-to-fail bank CEOs. In fact, among 21st century corporations, I can’t imagine that many CEOs even faintly resemble a Randian hero. For every Koch or John Allison, there are at least hundred CEOs whose position was attained by political connections rather than hard work, ingenuity, and persistence.
    – Finally, and perhaps most significantly, the US Government is not nearly as toothless as depicted in the movie. When the USG determines to ruin a business, it moves in with armed federal agents, issues arrest warrants and subpeonas, seizes computers, shuts down Internet access, etc., etc. Look at what happened on Friday to the online poker industry for a recent example.

    Perhaps even more ironic: look at what the Feds did to Bernard von NotHaus. For the crime of facilitating the use of NotHaus metal (i.e., silver) as a transaction medium, Federal agents branded NotHaus as a “terrorist”, seized all his assets, and decided to lock him up for life. (If the name isn’t familiar, NotHaus minted the “liberty dollar” silver coin.)

  18. I was determined to see this movie for no other reason than to throw a couple of bucks worth of support for ANY attempt to make a movie that championed ideas supporting capitalism and freedom.

    Was it brilliant…nope…but it was watchable and reasonably entertaining. I’m definitely up for a part 2.

    If you haven’t seen it, look at it as an opportunity to cast an actual meaningful vote in favor of markets and freedom. Who cares if it is a poor, mediocre, good, or great blow against the ideas of socialism…at least they are attempting to put up a fight.

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