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ATLAS SHRUGGED PART 2: Censorship-Induced Box-Office Bomb?

Atlas Shrugged Part 2 censorship box officeAtlas Shrugged Part 2 box office: Still (barely) there on weekend no. 4

Atlas Shrugged: Part II, the critically panned second installment in a planned movie trilogy based on Ayn Rand's novel, is still playing in North America. (Image: Atlas Shrugged Part 2 Samantha Mathis as Dagny Taggart.)

Last week, I'd predicted that after plunging 85 percent on its third weekend out the John Putch-directed sociopolitical melodrama would be completely gone by now. I was wrong. At 70 locations, Atlas Shrugged Part 2 added $35,200, down 62 percent after losing 77 theaters, according to studio estimates found at Box Office Mojo. But here's another prediction: Atlas Shrugged Part 2, which averaged a dismal (estimated) $500 per venue this weekend, will be irretrievably gone by next weekend.

Worshiped by Libertarians and the American Far Right (which blithely chooses to ignore Ayn Rand's dismissal of religion and blind religious faith), the two Atlas Shrugged movies have failed to catch on at the box office – and, in the case of Atlas Shrugged: Part I, in terms of DVD sales as well. Each movie was budgeted at a reported $20m.

Four weekends ago, Atlas Shrugged Part 2 had one of the worst domestic debuts ever for a movie in wide release (600-2,000 theaters). The following weekend, the anti-altruism, anti-government melodrama suffered the worst box office drop (65 percent) among the top 15 movies on Box Office Mojo's domestic weekend box office chart.

Atlas Shrugged Part 2 has to date collected a paltry $3.28 million at the North American box office. As I've mentioned before, the film's international prospects, much like those of its predecessor, are nonexistent. The critically massacred box office bomb Atlas Shrugged Part 1 finished its domestic (i.e., worldwide) five-weekend run with $4.62m.

Atlas Shrugged Part 2: Censorship-induced box office bomb?

Right-wingers should accept the fact that Atlas Shrugged Part 2 bombed in the "Free Market" of their nightmares – the one that doesn't behave according to (idealized) ideological thought. In fact, using the Free Marketers' own ideology, it's easy to explain the frigid reception for the Ayn Rand movie adaptation at the box office.

The market rejected Atlas Shrugged Part 2 because distributor Atlas Distribution failed to come up with the required capital, the marketing know-how, and the necessary "product quality" (in the eyes of the market) to stir up interest for its release. (Read the comments section in this site's other Atlas Shrugged articles; many fans of the book have been very disappointed with the movie adaptations.) It's pure insanity to blame Atlas Shrugged Part 2's disastrous box office performance on the Barack Obama administration or some conspiracy of silence by the (imaginary) "Liberal Media."

Remember Dinesh D'Souza and John Sullivan's 2016 Obama's America? Distributed by Rocky Mountain Pictures – the same company that released Atlas Shrugged Part 1the 2016 movie became a sleeper hit (for a political documentary) this past summer, cuming at $33.44 million at the domestic box office.

Poor marketing strategies, an apparent lack of cash flow to plug their film, and a widely derided product – not anti-right-wing censorship by the Obama White House or conglomerate-owned media entities – are the reasons for the abysmal commercial failure of both Atlas Shrugged movies.

Atlas Shrugged Part 2 cast

In Atlas Shrugged Part 2, Samantha Mathis plays the enterprising Dagny Taggart (incarnated by Zac Efron's The Lucky One leading lady Taylor Schilling in Part I). Other cast members in the second (and quite possibly last) Atlas Shrugged feature includes Jason Beghe as Henry Rearden and Esai Morales as Francisco d'Anconia, plus Richard T. Jones, Kim Rhodes, and Patrick Fabian. The screenplay is credited to Atlas Shrugged Part 1's Brian Patrick O'Toole and TV writer Duke Sandefur.

Samantha Mathis as Dagny Taggart Atlas Shrugged Part 2 photo: Atlas Distribution.

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