Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Galt's Gulch Repossesed by Bank

This is bad news for those of us who were hoping Atlas Shrugged: Part 1 would garner sufficiently robust box office that the producers would keep their series going until the promised Atlas Shrugged Part 3: The Musical, if only because the plan calls for Dagny Taggart to replace John Galt and his 70 page speech by putting on a slinky gold lamé gown and belting out Cab Calloway's "Minnie the Moocher."

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.

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. 
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.

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.


James Briggs Stratton "Doghouse" Riley said...

If you set out to combine every irritating trait of modern American political life--shallow, self-aggrandizing "analysis", the pretension of expertise where there is none, facile, undeserved elitism, hypocrisy, oversimplification, a smug and unearned moral superiority, the inability to discern trash from treasure, and the gleeful cheapening of any and all standards if there's a buck to be made--all you really need to give Ayn Rand is a belief in Jebus and a cellphone.

And, of course, her disciples have take care of that.

JoeBuddha said...

This is still my favorite comment on Atlas Shrugged:
‎"There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year old's life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves orcs." - John Rogers (AFAIK)

Anonymous said...

i would watch Atlas Shrugged parts 2 and 3, if they would double feature it with Buckaroo Banzai parts 2 and 3!

Except Peter Weller is a little long in the tooth for the role now. How about TOM Weller? Any other casting suggestions???

Jim Donahue said...

The latest--producer blames critics for failure:

Brian Schlosser said...

Double feature? No! They need to integrate the plots! Come on, what better role could Rand's band of sociopaths play than The World Crime League?

Jim Donahue said...

Oh, do check out Roy Edroso's latest update:

Aglialoro's business received state grant to stay in Mass. How could he take that tainted government cheese?

Chris Vosburg said...

Sure enough, the current Google Ads insert at the bottom of the page as I now comment, is an ad for Atlas Shrugged (now in theaters!).

heydave said...

perpetual moment machine...

Is that a typo, or is that the feeling one gets while watching the movie?

Scott said...

It was a typo, but now thanks to heydave I can leave it up and pretend it's a bon mot.

Scott said...

Click it, Chris! Add another 2 cents to their P&A budget.

Anonymous said...

"The Conspirator" is about a woman accused of conspiring to kill a Republican President. A clear example of liberal hatred.


Aimless in Florida said...

A writer, I receive emails from former House Speaker, Libertarian, and the inspiration of Tea Party Activists, Dick Armey and his south Florida poop mill FreedomWorks.

Recently his daily idiot wind (Thanks Bob Dylan) touched on the Galt movie:

"In the film, the productive members of society or "Atlases" who hold up the world, slowly disappear and thus "shrug" from under the weight of a government that undervalues, suppresses and demonizes individual achievement."

Odd review considering that Armey, who apparently considers himself one of the Atlases, spends his days teaching others to demonize and suppress individual opinions at town hall meetings and the like. Just sayin'.