'Atlas Shrugged Part 2': Sequel is second Ayn Rand box office bomb
Atlas Shrugged Part 2, the sequel to 2011's box office bomb Atlas Shrugged Part 1 about free-enterprising heroine Dagny Taggart, opened to considerably worse numbers than its predecessor. At 1,012 locations, Atlas Shrugged Part 2 took in $692,000 according to studio estimates found at Box Office Mojo. That represents a disastrous $684 per site. (Image: Samantha Mathis as Dagny Taggart Atlas Shrugged Part 2.)
For comparison's sake: The first part of a projected movie trilogy based on Ayn Rand's mammoth 1957 novel, Atlas Shrugged Part 1 debuted with a better than expected – though still quite modest – $674,000 on Friday, April 15, 2011, going on to gross $1.68 million over the weekend. But wait! Isn't $674,000 less than $692,000? Well, yes. But bear in mind that Atlas Shrugged Part 1 opened at 299 theaters – that's about 30 percent of the number of theaters showing Atlas Shrugged Part 2.
Atlas Shrugged Part 2 box office: One of worst opening weekends ever?
With luck, the Atlas Distribution release Atlas Shrugged Part 2 will collect $2.2-2.5 million by Sunday evening. More likely, the John Putch-directed sociopolitical drama will finish the weekend with $1.8-2 million. If the latter possibility becomes a reality, Atlas Shrugged Part 2 will be included among the bottom 200 (adjusted for inflation): the movies with the worst opening-weekend grosses at the North American box office.
Even it reaches $2.5 million, Atlas Shrugged Part 2 will have a per-theater average below $2,500 – which means no chance of any further expansions unless movie-theater owners are eager for near-empty houses. For comparison's sake: on its first weekend out, Atlas Shrugged Part 1, a favorite among the then-thriving Tea Party crowd, averaged an acceptable (for a small movie at 299 locations) $5,640 per venue. The following weekend, however, the film's per-theater average plummeted to $1,280.
The $20m-budgeted Atlas Shrugged Part 1 lasted all of five weekends on North American screens, cuming at a dismal $4.62 million. And since Ayn Rand and the Tea Party philosophy are intrinsically American, Atlas Shrugged Part 1 found no distribution overseas.
Rocky Mountain Pictures, which usually handles movies with "conservative" and Christian themes – i.e., the anti-Barack Obama documentary 2016 Obama's America, the Christian drama End of the Spear – distributed the first Atlas Shrugged in North America. (Ironically, Ayn Rand was no fan of religion: "Blind belief, belief unsupported by, or contrary to, the facts of reality and the conclusions of reason," she told Playboy magazine. "Faith, as such, is extremely detrimental to human life: it is the negation of reason.")
Atlas Shrugged Part 2: No chance of recovering its budget
Much like its predecessor, Atlas Shrugged Part 2 cost a reported $20 million. Also like its predecessor, the Atlas Shrugged sequel will find zero interest overseas. In other words: Atlas Shrugged Part 2 is a box office disaster in the making.
The Atlas Shrugged Part 2 cast includes Samantha Mathis (replacing Part 1's Taylor Schilling, who has moved on to bigger things such as the Zac Efron romantic drama The Lucky One), Jason Beghe, and Esai Morales.
Samantha Mathis Atlas Shrugged Part 2 picture: Atlas Distribution.