Atlas Shrugged Part I

Atlas Makers Defend Their Political Promotion Plans

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The Hollywood Reporter notes surprising-to-the-industry success for the launch of Atlas Shrugged Part One:

"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 Kaslowand John Aglialoro to expand from 299 theaters to 425 this weekend and to 1,000 by the end of the month, they toldThe Hollywood Reporter on Tuesday.

The two said they fielded 500 inquiries from theater bookers Monday but didn't have enough film prints to fill orders….

Kaslow and Aglialoro stood by their marketing campaign, which relied heavily on using the Internet to drum up support among members of the Tea Party, Libertarians and other Rand enthusiasts….

"We didn't take the needle-in-the-haystack approach by running a bunch of TV ads looking for the needles who might want to see the film," Kaslow said. "We turned that model on its head. When the needles looked for us, we advertised to them. We were getting 9 million online impressions a day from people looking for Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged and [the book's popular line] 'Who Is John Galt?'"….

Aglialoro said his "aspiration" is to make Parts 2 and 3, though he won't determine whether it makes economic sense for several weeks. He spent $10 million of his own money to make Part 1.

Merchandise, he said, is helping the cause. When Aglialoro obtained rights to the movie almost 19 years ago, he also got rights to sell such items as T-shirts, mugs, posters and even jewelry, though not dolls, video games and other "interesting exceptions."

On Tuesday, the Website atlasshruggedpart1.com was sold out of its most expensive item: a $159 bracelet made of "Rearden Metal," a replica of the one heroine Dagny Taggart (Taylor Schilling) wears in the film.

My Reason magazine feature from May on the making and promotion of the film.

Atlas makers talk to a Reason event with host Nick Gillespie: