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Ayn Rand’s ATLAS SHRUGGED Box Office: Critically Lambasted Ideological Drama Does Middling Business

Taylor Schilling Atlas Shrugged Ayn Rand
Taylor Schilling in Paul Johansson’s film adaptation of Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged

Russell Brand-Helen Mirren’s ARTHUR Plummets on Friday: Box Office

Neither liberals nor libertarians (and the latter group’s far-right cohorts) fared very well at the North American box office on Friday, April 15, according to studio estimates found at Box Office Mojo.

As mentioned in my previous post, Robert Redford’s period political drama The Conspirator, which revolves around the trial of accused co-conspirator Mary Surratt (played by Robin Wright) following the assassination of Abraham Lincoln, opened modestly with $1.09 million at 707 locations, averaging a just passable $1,542 per site despite a number of positive reviews (62 percent approval rating among Rotten Tomatoes’ top critics), the fact that Oscar-winning legend Robert Redford directed it, and the presence of prestigious actors such as James McAvoy, Tom Wilkinson, Evan Rachel Wood, and Kevin Kline.

Opening at about the same level — despite a considerably higher per-theater average — was the Paul Johansson-directed, John Aglialoro-Brian Patrick O’Toole-scripted ode to anti-government ideology, Atlas Shrugged: Part I, based on Ayn Rand’s 1957 novel in which a railroad tycoon discovers the wonders of self-determination. Taylor Schilling plays the central character (once "attached" to Angelina Jolie), while director Johansson, Jsu Garcia, Grant Bowler, Michael Marsden, and Academy Award nominees Michael O’Keefe (The Great Santini) and Michael Lerner (Barton Fink) have other key roles.

Atlas Shrugged scored $683k at 300 theaters; its per-theater average was $2,277 — or about 50 percent more than that of The Conspirator, but at about 40 percent fewer theaters. Remember: all things being equal, the fewer the number of theaters the higher the per-theater average should be.

In other words, those variables considered, on opening day Atlas Shrugged performed just as modestly as The Conspirator. In a way, that’s actually quite a feat for Johansson’s film: the low-budgeted Atlas Shrugged, which cost a reported $10m, has a dismal 8 percent approval rating among Rotten Tomatoes’ top critics; compared to that, The Conspirator’s 62 percent rating comes across as overwhelmingly enthusiastic.

Atlas Shrugged’s middling (as opposed to dismal) box office performance is perhaps a result of the film’s strong popularity among its target audience: the far-right members of the Republican party, the Tea Party crowd aka "Teabaggers," who have a hate-love relationship with the US government (They hate it when it comes to taxes, environmental regulations, the separation of Christianity/the State, etc.; they love it when it comes to the military, the enforcement of “traditional family values,” etc.)

Continue Reading: ATLAS SHRUGGED Box Office Pt.2: Popular Among Tea Party Crowd

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10 Comments to Ayn Rand’s ATLAS SHRUGGED Box Office: Critically Lambasted Ideological Drama Does Middling Business

  1. abe4honesty

    Whose liberty, joe4liberty?
    And who do you think you’re kidding, joe4dishonesty? You may be self-deluded and probably a bigot as well, but you’re not fooling most of us.
    Know thy Tea Party friends:

    “So, first, it’s an overwhelmingly Christian group. 81% identify as Christian, and nearly half (47%) say they are part of the religious right or conservative Christian movement.

    “Secondly, it isn’t libertarian, it’s much more socially conservative, with 63% saying abortion should be illegal and only 18% in favor of gay marriage.

    “Third, it is fundamentally a Republican movement. 76 percent identify or lean towards the Republican party.”

    http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2010/10/05/130353765/new-poll-tea-party-overwhelmingly-christian-and-socially-conservative

  2. joe4liberty

    For the record, tea party members (whom you choose to label as tea-baggers) are NOT conservatives, they do not love the governments war on everything, and while they may stand for Family Values, unlike the right, they do not believe that the government should have ANY say in what a family is or does.
    As Sun Tsu said; “know thy enemy - know thy self”. Clearly the Tea party and the libertarian movement are your enemy, and clearly you know nothing of them… which gives me hope that bigots like the author will find themselves on the same scrap-heap of history as other great bigots of the early 20th century.

  3. TGIS

    You probably haven’t seen the movie and know nothing of Ayn Rand, but the movie certainly has nothing to do w/ “family values”; the main love affair is adultrous and none of the major characters have children.

    Ayn Rand was libertarian and not conservative. She was also an atheist.

  4. Adam

    Gee, aren’t we thin-skinned?

    “Tea-baggers” is as “offensive” as calling a Communist a “Red” or a “Commie” and the politically correct “p.c.,” or referring to liberals as “bleeding hearts.” How many Tea Party members would find those types of “name-calling” offensive? How many would consider themselves bigots if they talked about reds or bleeding-heart libs?

    Time for you guys to get rid of the tea bags and start drinking some strong coffee. And then learn how to spell the word HYPOCRISY.

  5. rk

    One thing to keep in mind was the modest advertising budget and that it was put on at the last moment in many theaters.

  6. Rick

    You will never get a honest opinion about the Tea Party aka Main St America from the liberal media. We expect this out of the idealogues that see no limits to the size and scope of government, taxes and assault on personal and religious freedoms. We don’t ask the government to enforce our view but rather uphold the constitution for which they including the current administration see as fundamentally flawed. Now more than ever people are feeling and seeing first hand the disastrous effects of government and state spending gone wild. We are living in a time where the average quality of life has taken a serious down turn. Politicizing and emotionalizing the argument will not dig us out of our current hole that has ballooned by as much as 13 percent in the last 3 months alone. Bottom line is government must retract regardless of who holds power and right now neither side seems to have the political will to do it. Raising the debt ceiling and increasing taxes even if on the affluent alone will not get us out critical trouble. The idea that we are not out of money or can just keep kicking the can down the road is irresponsible and incredibly dangerous. The likelihood of an openly pro union president cutting government at a time where we needed it yesterday is a pipe dream. This is the reason a film in limited release like Atlas Shrugged will have an audience.

  7. Mary Humphrys

    “the Tea Party crowd aka “Teabaggers,” who have a hate-love relationship with the US government (They hate it when it comes to taxes, environmental regulations, the separation of Christianity/the State, etc.; they love it when it comes to the military, the enforcement of “traditional family values,” etc.).” Would that be anything like how the liberals love the government when they redistribute income, but hate it when it doesn’t allow gay marriage? Okay, I get it!

  8. ragnar

    I find it intersting that this comments section does not allow name calling. I suppose the only name calling allowed at this
    web site is from the story authors (i.e. “tea-baggers”).
    I wonder if they will post this when I call them…
    (fill in the blank).

  9. Davie Jones

    You do realize that the term “teabagger” is a pejorative, right. You do realize you sound like a bigot, right?

    Right?

    This insensitivity reminds me of the way the “N” word used to be bandied about by rednecks who thought they were superior to another group of people.

  10. Spencer Stang

    If you’re going to take the time to slander somebody you could at least get some facts right. The only common element among all Tea Party supporters is that they want smaller government. I don’t know a single Tea Party supporter who supports the wars that Bush/Obama have delivered to us. Most Tea Party supporters (definitely not all) support medical marijuana, if not outright legalization of all drugs. Most support fewer laws against what consenting adults can do. Most support the shrinking of Govt period–get out of our wallets, get out of our bedrooms, stay away from our kids (i.e., stop spending their money!). . . just leave us alone. Why the left/right folks think that it’s okay for Govt to go beyond basic protection of individual liberty is beyond me but it certainly isn’t ethical.







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