Alas, it seems impossible now, at least, according to Rupert Murdoch's New York Post:
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.Remember when you -- yes, you, Mr. Lib-Soc -- remember when you scoffed at the very idea of this film, and sneered that you wouldn't see it even if the producers paid you? Well, I'm afraid the tensile strength of your moral fiber is about to be tested.
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 if you do succumb to the blandishments of their lucre, pause for a brief moment while salting your popcorn, and shake a few stinging grains into the open wounds of Society's (and more specifically, this movie's) Producers.
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.''Given the quality of liberal icon who's beating them, a little salt in the wounds hardly describes it. These tyro moviemakers are in serious danger of being jerkied, or turning into Lot's Wife.
Meanwhile, another Post movie critic prophesies that:
The movie looks like it’s going to have trouble topping $5 million in box office. The cost was somewhere in the $10 to $20 million range plus prints and advertising. Like I said, it’s not a hit. Whether the sequels get made is purely a matter of how much desire the producers have for losing money.Right now the characters seem less like powerful tycoons, innovators, visionaries, and natural leaders of men, whose very blood runs the mighty engines of business (although we probably should have switched to Unleaded years ago) and more like out-of-work TV actors being funded, bailed out, and pumped up by failed reality show TV stars from Congress and the world of Commerce. And like the banks during the end days of the Bush Administration, they are in desperate need of an infusion of cash, however charitable. This would seem to contradict the message of Objectivism, and I can no longer tell if Atlas Shrugged: Part 1 is supposed to be a genuine adaptation of Rand's book, or if it was actually intended as a meta commentary on the book's unfilmability and general suckiness, like The Orchid Thief sections in Charlie Kaufman's Adaptation, a film documenting his failure to adapt a book to a film.
But even though I probably won't pay to see the Atlas Shrugs, waiting till it makes its way to Netfix, I think it deserves to be seen -- or at least evaluated as possible fodder for the sequel to Better Living Through Bad Movies. Because the question is bigger than the weekly box office totals. Can Objectivist philosophy, embodied on page and screen, overturn the current social and political order, driven only by the power of one, small, unpleasant, somewhat kinky and nicotine-stained woman's ideas, and the inexhaustible energy of a static electricity-fueled perpetual moment machine that defies all known laws of physics, and which only requires followers who have enough faith to wear heavy woolen socks and scuff their feet on the shag carpet all day?
Maybe they can enter into a co-production with the guys who own the rights to Buckaroo Banzai, and finish that trilogy at the same time, perhaps by sharing sets, one show filming during the day and the other at night, the same way Universal made a Spanish language Dracula concurrent with the Lugosi version. I'm open to suggestions.
Update: As Jim informs us, the Producer (in every sense of the word) of Atlas Shrugged, has been leeched, looted, and mooched beyond superhuman endurance, and is now threatening to go Galt from his own franchise.