Atlas Shrugged Part 2 box office: One of the worst opening weekends ever
Atlas Shrugged: Part II, the story of free-enterprising heroine Dagny Taggart (Taylor Schilling in Part 1, Samantha Mathis in Part 2), suffered one of the worst domestic openings ever for a movie in wide release (600-2,000 theaters), according to data found at Box Office Mojo. This past weekend, the sequel to last year's box-office bomb Atlas Shrugged Part 1 debuted with a dismal $1.75 million at 1,012 locations, averaging a disastrous $1,731 per venue. (Photo: Esai Morales as Francisco d'Anconia, Samantha Mathis as Dagny Taggart, Jason Beghe as Henry Rearden, Atlas Shrugged Part 2.)
Adjusted for inflation, Atlas Shrugged Part 2 is no. 98 on the Worst Openings Ever chart, and despite a much wider release than its predecessor will quite possibly end its run with less than $4 million at the domestic box office — or rather, at the box office, period. Reportedly budgeted at $20m, Atlas Shrugged Part 2 will find no following internationally, as Ayn Rand's Tea Party-embraced views (minus Rand's derision of religion and the blindly religious) are a purely American phenomenon.
Atlas Shrugged Part 2 vs. Atlas Shrugged Part 1
For comparison's sake: Atlas Shrugged Part 1, the first part of a projected movie trilogy based on Ayn Rand's sprawling 1957 novel opened with $1.68 million in mid-April 2011. Oh, but wait! What's the problem with your math? Isn't Part 2's $1.75 million more than Part 1's $1.68m?
Well, of course it is. But another obvious fact is that Atlas Shrugged Part 1 opened at 299 locations vs. Atlas Shrugged Part 2's 1,012 venues. As a result, Atlas Shrugged Part 1's first-weekend per-theater average was a not unimpressive (for a little known small movie) $5,640 per site.
Atlas Shrugged Part 2's $1,731 per-theater average, on the other hand, leaves the film no room for any further expansions, unless multiplex owners are looking forward to screening the movie to mostly empty seats. For comparison's sake: Last year, Atlas Shrugged Part 1 distributor Rocky Mountain Pictures added 166 locations on weekend no. 2, but to no avail. Despite its decent opening, the Tea Party crowd favorite's per-theater average plummeted to $1,280. Atlas Shrugged Part 1 was gone after three more weekends, cuming at $4.62m.
In the last two days, Atlas Shrugged Part 2 added $253k at the North American box office. Its cume after five days stands at $2m.
Atlas Shrugged movies vs. the critics
Atlas Shrugged Part 1 was massacred by North American critics. The film has a putrid 6 percent approval rating and 3.2/10 average rating among Rotten Tomatoes' top critics. Fearing another such critical reception, Atlas Distribution opted to keep critics far away from their release.
Now, that approach may work well for some horror movies, whose moviegoers don't (or can't) read; but one key problem for a "small movie" such as Atlas Shrugged Part 2 is that no reviews often means no audience awareness. Admittedly, not that reviews would have helped much: the Dagny Taggart movie currently has a 0 percent approval rating and 2.2/10 average rating at Rotten Tomatoes. ("A disaster as a film," wrote the Philadelphia Enquirer's Tirdad Derakhshani, "Atlas also is laughable in its presentation of Rand's ideology.")
Atlas Shrugged Part 2 cast
The Atlas Shrugged Part 2 cast includes the aforementioned Samantha Mathis, in addition to Jason Beghe, Esai Morales, Kim Rhodes, Richard T. Jones, and Patrick Fabian. John Putch directed, from a screenplay credited to television writer Duke Sandefur and Atlas Shrugged Part 1 and Cemetery Gate's Brian Patrick O'Toole.
Esai Morales, Samantha Mathis, Jason Beghe Atlas Shrugged Part 2 photo: Atlas Distribution.