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Great Job, Movie Critics: 'Atlas Shrugged' Producer Scrapping Plans For Pt. 2 & 3, Blames Reviews

by Oliver Lyttelton
April 27, 2011 1:32 AM
34 Comments
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God damn, we love writing about "Atlas Shrugged." Even more than "Twilight"-related stories, or the persistent commenter who insists that Scarlett Johansson is the product of stolen DNA, nothing brings out the frothing-at-the-mouth zealots like stories about the long-awaited, independently-produced adaptation of Ayn Rand's magnum opus. Self-financed and distributed by millionaire businessman John Aglialoro, the film was rushed into production to prevent the rights from lapsing, with a decidedly D-list cast and crew, but it did have relevance on its side: with the Tea Party movement, who are perhaps more in step with Rand's beliefs than any major political movement in decades sweeping the nation, could the film find itself becoming a runaway hit? Would we spend the next few years writing about the second and third installments of Aglialoro's dream project?

Not so much. Despite our commenters predicting that "This movie and this idea will grow and grow like a Tsunami" and that "This movie will break records... for years... remember "Star Wars"?," the film managed a decent enough limited opening a few weeks back picking up $1.7 million at around 300 locations, but this past weekend, it took a hefty 50% drop, despite adding more than 150 screens to its count suggesting that the rails had already run out on the film's commercial prospects.

And it's fair to say the film's hefty drop was down to the critics -- "Atlas Shrugged Pt. 1" managed only a 7% fresh rating at Rotten Tomatoes, with most critics happy to tear the film a new asshole. Even Jeff Otto, who reviewed the film for us, who took a far more impartial look at the film that this writer could have managed, gave it a rare 'F' grade, calling it "an aimless, amateurish and, more to the point, stone cold boring piece of drivel." All in all, it seems to mean that Aglialoro won't push ahead with his plans to film the rest of the book.

24 Frames talked to the producer, who told them "Critics, you won. I'm having deep second thoughts on why I should do Part 2... Why should I put up all of that money if the critics are coming like lemmings? 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." A strike? Now that's something that Rand would certainly have approved of. No one loved the labor movement more than she did.

As Aglialoro suggests, he won't lose money on it -- the film was produced far too cheaply for that -- but it seems that the effort involved, the low profit margins, and the critical brickbats slung at the film, have sapped his desire to get Rand's work on screens. So, a victory for our liberal media elite conspiracy! Oh, shit, uh, we mean, uh... Look over there, there's evidence of Barack Obama faking his birth certificate!

In reality, "Atlas Shrugged Pt. 1" was, ironically, crushed at the free market -- the film had every chance of being a crossover hit, but it was marketed exclusively at a niche audience of Tea Party types, who either didn't bother to show up, or don't exist in sizable enough numbers to sustain a film like this. Essentially, it's the "Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World" of Objectivist thinking.

Aglialoro isn't done with movies yet -- he's developing a gambling script called "Poker Room," and we wish him all the best with it. And maybe things will turn around, and healthy DVD sales will see a greenlight of "Atlas Shrugged Pt. 2" down the line. We hear Tommy Wiseau might be available to direct. For the moment, we'll leave the last word to commenter "Robert," who suggested that our negative view of the quality of the film's trailer was way off -- "As for the film, I think you’re predictions of its failure will prove about as accurate as two years of predictions of the failure and collapse of the Tea Party movement." Fingers crossed, then!

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34 Comments

  • Seeingthru | May 24, 2011 12:53 PMReply

    The film isn't available in Canada.
    It also doesn't sound like it got a ubiquitous country-wide release in the U.S.
    I think there is a desire by the establishment to shoot down this movie - when media puppets come out en masse to attack it (Colbert, Glenn Beck... the only fair coverage I found of Rand was a 1959 Mike Wallace interview) - and make it appear unpopular (bad critic reviews to sway the unthinking public); an economic sabotage.

    It does happen; just last week Esquire magazine (a Whitehouse Lackey) ran an attack on Corsi's book about Obama's birth certificate.

    Rand's work is, amongst other things; anti government control, anti big government, anti tax, anti oppression, anti tyranny, pro individual liberty, pro freedom, pro creativity, pro free market and fair competition... It's at complete odds on every point with what the current government-industrial complex is trying to accomplish. The last thing they want is a public waking up and questioning their "authorities"... or even realizing that the authorities are actually public servants employed by us.

    The good reviews will come from real people who see the film, not from mainstream media or government psy-ops operatives on message boards.

  • Cynthia Burris | May 9, 2011 9:53 AMReply

    The movie was excellent & true to the book and we are anticipating Part 2. These were not "D" actors, but well cast in their parts. We had to find a theatre...not enough advertising. TO MR. AGLIALORO...KEEP WITH YOUR PLANS FOR PART 2 & 3...WE WILL SUPPORT YOUR FILMS.

  • Nick | May 7, 2011 9:56 AMReply

    Well maybe Hollywood should give Tommy Wiseau job!

  • Mr. Wonderful | May 1, 2011 4:13 AMReply

    Readers who feel they should read Atlas Shrugged, if only to know what the discussions are about, or those who already have and are still waiting for some recompense for their suffering, are both advised to go here and dig this:

    http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/54707

  • Jack Mingo | April 30, 2011 5:58 AMReply

    An Ayn Rand biopic, though, I'd go to see if didn't whitewash what an over-the-top sociopath and hypocrite she was.

  • Aech | April 30, 2011 2:12 AMReply

    So...producer makes a movie from a story about a character who perseveres against anything that anyone can do against them and gets down by critics? F___ him. He obviously doesn't even know the material well.

  • Cheryl | April 29, 2011 6:59 AMReply

    I saw the movie and actually thought it was pretty good. Did he really think liberal Hollywood reviewers would do anything but trash it? But if this is true and he's throwing in the towel now, he can kiss any possibility of DVD sales boost later--who wants to buy 1/3 of a trilogy?

  • Tiffany | April 28, 2011 10:54 AMReply

    I think those who are defending the "strike" statement are a little too easy on Aglialoro. If he truly sees taking his ball and going home because critics didn't like some of his work as equivalent to John Galt's strike, that may explain why the movie did such a poor job of conveying...well...anything.

  • Jason Stokes | April 28, 2011 9:40 AMReply

    This Aglialoro character sure sounds like an objectivist - a pompous, self-important wanker who will pontificate about his own genius to whoever will listen, and insist the only thing holding him back is the hidebound philistinism of the collectivist liberal elite. But when called upon to put up or GTFO, Aglialoro can only make excuses and blame others for his total failure in the free market he claims to worship so much. Does anyone seriously believe his story that its just the critical reception that will lead to cancelling part II? Reportedly the film cost $30 million, and based on opening weekend it looks close to being a total loss for Mr. Aglialoro and financers.

    Something tells me that that Aglialoro is the kind of person who, when they get turned down for dates, invariably tells the woman she's an ugly bitch and he's busy anyway that night, with a supermodel, so there.

  • Oliver Lyttelton | April 28, 2011 9:39 AMReply

    Scarlett-Johansson-Stolen-DNA-Guy turns up!

    Jesus, it's like Candyman, you say his name and he appears.

  • E. Blair | April 28, 2011 8:21 AMReply

    By "retarded" what exactly do you mean? Do you mean to infer that the vast majority of the critics who viewed this film are mentally challenged? Or do you just mean to insult people who disagree with you? Can't people have differing opinions without resulting to silly insults?

  • guest | April 28, 2011 6:51 AMReply

    the critics are retarded. "Part 1" is exactly that; the first act of a 3 act story. There are valid criticisms to be made as far as acting and visuals, a couple of stray ADR moments, sure, but you'd have to be a retard with ADHD to honestly rank it THAT low compared to other first acts. It was at least slightly above average when looked at properly with head out of ass.

  • Oliver Lyttelton | April 28, 2011 6:27 AMReply

    I'm not going to update anything for someone who gets my gender wrong in caps lock.

  • scribe | April 28, 2011 6:16 AMReply

    NEED TO UPDATE OLIVIA! great article but THR just posted producers rebuttal :)

  • Christopher Bell | April 28, 2011 5:11 AMReply

    hey you asshole i can't believe you're not familiar with this shitty book enough to know that he was referencing it

    x0394509ff345994

    And again for the 0394509ff345994th time - that's a really, really awful book no matter how you spin it.

  • mudplanet | April 28, 2011 4:43 AMReply

    "If this was the way parts 2 and 3 were going to be handled, then I’m glad he’s not making them, let someone with a real budget take a stab at it."

    It really doesn't make any difference how much money you throw at a bad story, it'll still be a bad story. What are you going to do, throw in more car chases and explosions? Drek starring Mel Gibson and Rene Witherspoon is still drek.

    The problem with Atlas Shrugged is that it's not much of a story, it has two-dimensional characters who aren't sympathetic or, to sum it up, that Rand wasn't much of a writer OR a political theorist. All it really is is conservatives trying to morally justify "rank" selfishness.

  • Daniel | April 28, 2011 3:03 AMReply

    wait... isn't this how the free market works?

  • egoist | April 28, 2011 1:54 AMReply

    In my region, there was some excitement about the movie, but nobody seemed to know it was even showing in St. Louis. The news leading up to the 15th release was that the nearest city was Chicago. So, if that's typical, no wonder the turn out was low. Nevertheless, if the movie (a great production or mediocre) was to be widely embraced, the country would be in a far different place. A sizable portion of our culture hates capitalism & egoism; it's no surprise that androids jittering across the screen take the cake (or more likely get copied then sent to the home theaters).

  • Bill Cushing | April 27, 2011 10:07 AMReply

    More than the bad reviews, there was the lack of previews on a very conscious level. To see my defense of the movie in depth, go to moki.tv, a website dedicated to film and television.

  • george | April 27, 2011 10:01 AMReply

    At least you didn't let slip that Soros funded the attack... whoops.

  • PJ Doland | April 27, 2011 9:29 AMReply

    "The Strike" was actually the working title of Atlas Shrugged while it was being written.

  • GQB | April 27, 2011 9:05 AMReply

    Typical spoiled Randian.
    "If I can't have the whole pie, I'm going home."
    It is, after all, the plot of the book.

  • Sidi | April 27, 2011 8:54 AMReply

    http://www.thebadchemicals.com/comics/2011-04-20-atlas-shrugged-is-a-stupid-fantasy-for-assholes.jpg

  • Phil Buckley | April 27, 2011 8:21 AMReply

    I'm a fan of Atlas Shrugged and saw it the day it hit the theaters (tax day). I left feeling disappointed on so many levels, but I wasn't expecting much actually.

    The screenplay seemed rushed and jumpy. The character playing John Galt was made to be dark and sinister rather than mysterious.

    The Dagney Taggart and Reardon affair was rushed and made to seem totally pedestrian and wicked compared to the way it was handled in the book where it seemed logical and right.

    If this was the way parts 2 and 3 were going to be handled, then I'm glad he's not making them, let someone with a real budget take a stab at it.

  • Halley5th | April 27, 2011 8:00 AMReply

    Too bad you didn't bother learning anything about the plot of Atlas Shrugged, because his threat to "go on strike," equating himself with Rand's fictitious geniuses, is miles more arrogantly delusional than any of the other snark bait you were knocking around. Next time.

  • Callahan | April 27, 2011 8:00 AMReply

    "the “Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World” of Objectivist thinking."

    They should use that as a blurb on the DVD packaging.

  • Camphenn | April 27, 2011 7:48 AMReply

    What a terrible thing to say about "Scott Pilgrim." At least "Scott Pilgrim vs the World" was a good movie and under-appreciated by the masses due to marketing and whatnot. Not a bad one that was simply ignored.

  • Gabe Toro | April 27, 2011 7:47 AMReply

    HOW DELICIOUS. OUR PLAN HAS WORKED.

  • Dave | April 27, 2011 7:32 AMReply

    "I’ll make my money back and I’ll make a profit, but do I wanna go and do to?" What does this even mean?

  • David | April 27, 2011 7:29 AMReply

    Man, him threatening to go on strike is like...the entire core of the book you dufus. The movie still sucks probably, but that was dumb.

  • rks | April 27, 2011 7:11 AMReply

    For an out-of-the-box review of Rand and information on people using Libertarian tools see http://www.Libertarian-International.org

  • Joel | April 27, 2011 4:05 AMReply

    "A strike? Now that’s something that Rand would certainly have approved of. No one loved the labor movement more than she did."

    dude, have you read (or read anything about) this book? he was referencing the plot of the fucking book, where all the geniuses go on "strike" and disappear to show how much the world depends on them.

    somehow, though, i think hollywood will survive without this douche.

  • Prairiefired | April 27, 2011 2:54 AMReply

    So, let me see if I got this straight. Aglialoro has the rights for years, but waits until the last moment to slap together the movie with unknowns and amateurs. The movie is only marketed to a narrow niche - there is no mainstream advertisement at all. The movie flops - so of course its the liberal critics fault!

    You should consider going into business -- writing excuses for college students who don't have their term papers ready on time.

  • The WeirdArchives | April 27, 2011 2:19 AMReply

    And John Galt is laughing his ass off in the bowels of Hell. Don't those idiots know it's not the Elite that make the country great, it's the Workers? The Workers get screwed over, the Elite starve! Ayn Rand is as much a prophet as she is as a short story writer...which isn't much considering it took her about fifteen hundred pages to say what Marie Antoinette covered in just one sentence "Let them eat cake." and supposedly she didn't even say that!

    Hope they never ever make another film from Ayn Rand. We have enough garbage out there from incompetent writers as it is.

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