For the record, I did not see Atlas Shrugged. No one did. In fact, there's probably a good chance you were unaware that they even adapted Atlas Shrugged to a film and it got released to theaters in the last two weeks...
There was zero marketing for it. I have not seen a single trailer, commercial, or even a measly internet ad for it. It currently holds a 6% on Rotten Tomatoes. 6%...! And what a shocker, it has made an ENORMOUS $3 million in it's two weeks of release. It has no star power, and everybody seems to hate it.
So my question is why was this terrible, unmarketed film playing in three of the four theaters around my place...? I see it more as if it was taking up a spot for a different movie. But I'm more or less just confused as to why Atlas Shrugged got so much play. They could have played critically acclaimed indies like Super or Stake Land. They could have played Morgan Spurlock's new documentary. I'm no theater owner, but it seems like a little bit of research and a mild foresight would have had me steer clear of something like Atlas Shrugged in my theater.
I guess I'm just pointlessly frustrated; look at the other two new wide releases from this past weekend:
Water for Elephants - Reese Witherspoon and the guy from Twilight who can't act (I know that could be several options) in a romance film about circus folk. Count. Me. Out.
Tyler Perry Presents Something or Other - You lost me at Tyler Perry.
In a holiday weekend where I would have loved to get away from my family for a couple hours, it would have been nice to have a single good new release to go to. But these options seemed possibly even less interesting than listening to my Aunt talk about her trip to Australia. One of the worst, most disappointing weekends for films in a long time...
Apparantly, this movie was only part one of a trilogy. And if casual audiences don't already know the entire book, this is likely to leave them disappointed. Remember the sturm and drang over making LOTR in three parts?
From things I've read, it may well have been one of those deals where the guy owning the rights had to exercise them and produce something by a date certain, or let them revert to the Rand estate, where they might be retained or re-sold for more money to someone else. A very similar situation happened on the property and development of The Fantastic Four, where a rushed, low-budget version of the movie was made and "released" by Roger Corman, just to fulfill a contractual "pay or play" requirement. Corman made the thing and "released" it for such an eyeblink of time, it remained basically a secret until the last few years. You cna now find pieces of it on youtube.
I'm not an Objectivist, or Randian, myself. Yet, I've always had a fascination for the movie version of "The Fountainhead". It is really a pretty badly written script, and yet there are elements in it that could still be made to work. It had awesome casting. And hey... architecture is cool. I think that, of any of Rand's work, "Fountainhead" would be a ripe candidate for a successful remake or reboot, set in contemporary times. A lot of the themes in it would make the transfer easily, perhaps more easily, in today's pop news media world.
If you could strip out a little bit of the more oddball parts of Rand's story ideas, and concentrate on the idea of the iconoclast artistic creator, with an unshakeable vision, who refuses to let the world compromise his designs, and goes to destructive lengths to fight it... you have something there. Guys like Wright, like Welles, were geniuses,... but also, royal A-holes, who were not always good people or good to the people close to them. There is a lot of story potential in complex characters that draw you in with talent and artistic gifts, as they simultaneously repel you with personal foibles. How may times did I really think I'd like an actor, just because I liked a character they played... only to find out that the real person behind the character is a shmuck? That's storytelling gold, there.
Here is an interesting article on the downfall of the movie:
It sounds as though it was made in a flash before the movie rights reverted back to Rand's estate and in an attempt to capitalize on the political climate. I remember Angelina Jolie was attached to the project years ago, sad a faithful adaptation was never followed through with.
In terms of why a movie theater would show it, the movie did a decent job in per screen average. You never know when the next surprising Paranormal or Big Fat Greek Wedding is going to hit too.
Yikes, I definitely don't like the idea of a film being rushed out for some sort of backhanded political reasons. I guess I'm happy it's not working out then. It did have a high intake per screen average the first week, but then it dropped 71% in that same average the next week (47% total drop).
It even has the producer questioning things:
It just seems like a messy situation, and probably a waste of time and a waste of movie theater space. But whatever keeps the rights in the studio's hands, I suppose...
You're right, that's sad. But I saw link on the page to a great article on Cowboys and Aliens. That cheered me up!