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April 30, 2011

Last Chance To See Atlas Shrugged!

Okay, it's probably not the last chance, but the movie is struggling, and will soon be exiting theaters.

I delayed seeing it myself -- I kept meaning to, but didn't -- but I'm seeing it tomorrow.

Find the nearest theater here.

The critics lashed the movie scornfully, but what did anyone expect?

“Critics, you won,” said John Aglialoro, the businessman who spent 18 years and more than $20 million of his own money to make, distribute and market “Atlas Shrugged: Part 1,” which covers the first third of Rand’s dystopian novel. “I’m having deep second thoughts on why I should do Part 2.”…

...

“Why should I put up all of that money if the critics are coming in like lemmings?” Aglialoro said. “I’ll make my money back and I’ll make a profit, but do I wanna go and do two? Maybe I just wanna see my grandkids and go on strike.”

Now, the producer has changed his mind since that peeved reaction to the critics' peevish reaction, and says he'll go ahead with Parts 2 and 3.

And he defended his film Wednesday by accusing professional film reviewers of political bias. How else, he asks, to explain their distaste for a film that is liked by the audience? At Rottentomatoes.com, 7,400 people gave it an average 85% score.

Peter Travers of Rolling Stone, though, gave the movie zero stars, and Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times gave it one. A dozen others were equally dismissive.

"It was a nihilistic craze," Aglialoro said. "Not in the history of Hollywood has 16 reviewers said the same low things about a movie.

"They're lemmings," he said. "What's their fear of Ayn Rand? They hate this woman. They hate individualism.

"I'm going to get a picture of Ebert and Travers and the rest of them so I can wake up in the morning and they'll be right there. They're revitalizing me with their outrageousness."

Aglialoro said he had to scale down his ambition for the film to be in 1,000 theaters this weekend, so it will likely be closer to 400. During its opening weekend, the movie took in $5,640 per screen but then only $1,890 in its second. Through Wednesday, the film had grossed $3.3 million since opening April 15.

This whole situation frustrates the hell out of conservative filmmaker Ladd Ehlinger, Jr.

Before I say this, please don't take this as carping at you -- it's carping at myself. Well, it's carping at all of us, including myself. I could have seen this April 15th and should have but I didn't. Because, in the end, I just said, "Eh, I'll wait."

On the one hand, Ladd wants to make conservatively-themed movies.

On the other hand, conservatives say they want to see conservatively-themed movies.

But on the other other hand, conservatives tend to not actually see the movies they say they want to see, and wind up instead only weakly supporting video rebuttals to Michael Moore -- that is, conservatives aren't seizing the initiative and supporting movies which can actually positively, proactively inject ideas into the public market, but tend instead to watch attack-videos on the liberal media, which is well and good -- but that's a negative, reactive posture. A pushback against a meme that's already been positively established by the media, not an actual pushing forward of the conservative idea in the first instance.

Over the course of many years I have tried to explain to you that you need to stop feeding Michael Moore.

I understand the need to drive up hits. And writing a blog about the Fat One's latest outrageously stupid comments or shenanigans is always a sure-fire way to get the faithful whipped up into a frothy frenzy.

But this is a short-sighted and harmful strategy in the cause of Liberty. It's even counter productive. Sort of like tinkering with the books to make your stock look better to investors.

When you feed the Fat One, you only make him stronger.

Meanwhile, filmmakers who are concerned with Liberty are left to die on the vine. Take, for instance, Andy Garcia.

He made a wonderful indie film called The Lost City back in 2005. Ever hear of it? No, because you were too busy carping about Michael Moore.

Congratulations, you screwed the cause of Liberty.

The Lost City was about the Cuban revolution, and more specifically, its effects on the musicians, dancers, and other artists in Havana. It deserved far more press than it got, and deserved far more air than Michael Moore's jockstrap got that year.

Ayn Rand is not, of course, what most of us would recognize as some sort of mainstream conservative. She's not.

But her main message of individualism, achievement, drive, and the natural rewards for such accruing to those who actually create things -- and her dire warning about the well-meaning slavery imposed by a state determined to coerce people into its conception of perfection -- is as conservative as it gets.

The dystopia depicted is claimed to be in 2016, after a hypothetical second term of Barack Obama, for crying out loud. It is essentially blaming Obama's policies for the dystopia.

And we're gonna pass on that?

Ultimately, Hollywood is, as John Landis said in an excellent documentary on grindhouse/exploitation movies called American Grindhouse, pretty reactionary. If something is proven to stoke audience interest and make money, there will be movies about that, whether it's nudie cutie exploitation films, or excessively gory exploitation films, or black-power pimp exploitation films, subversive/punk/biker exploitation films, or... or even conservative-ideology promoting films.

On the other hand, if topic is proven to be a box office loser, they won't make such movies.

Yes, I know, this is not an iron-clad rule because Landis didn't seem to know (or want to admit) that Hollywood has a strong liberal bias and will tend to make movies it knows (or should know) will lose money, as long as they can be proud of the message (Stop Loss, Lions for Lambs, and on and on and on), and will not make movies they know (or should know) will make money, if they disagree with the message (Passion of the Christ, which everyone passed on, and wouldn't even agree to exhibit in theaters).

Still, the bottom line is always important. There are in fact film-makers who want to make conservative movies. Furthermore, there are plenty of wealthy conservatives who would love to invest in a conservative movie... as long as they think there's a reasonable chance of getting at least most of their money back, and, who knows, maybe even turning a profit.

Like I said, I'm not scolding you. I'm writing this mostly to myself, because I've had the opportunity now two weekends running to support a conservative film and I just haven't. I've put up links and stuff but a link isn't a review. A link is just a Do as I say, not as I do.

I think many conservatives have just tuned out of a hostile culture to such an extent that they've fallen out of the simple habit of supporting arts and entertainment, the habit of just going to a theater to see a movie. If almost everything in the theaters is either politically hostile, or simply stupid and made for 14 year olds, why not just drop that habit entirely?

But there's a drawback to that, as is the case here, when a smart, well-intentioned conservative movie comes along, but still no one's really animated to go to the theaters and support it. Sure, we support it with good feelings, but good feelings don't pay production and distribution costs. Cash-money, which does.

Actually, the arrangement the producers of the film currently have with most exhibitors is that the producers are paying them a flat fee to show it, and then collecting the ticket receipts for it. Which means if each screening isn't reasonably well-attended, they're losing money, and not just on the film itself, but each time they show it to a mostly-empty theater.

Anyway, I really should have seen this two weeks ago. I'll see it tomorrow, promise. And I'll probably write an overly-long review that spills out into irrelevant tangents.

Still in theaters, for now.

Reviews From the Comments: Andrew Breitbart has probably read these.


rickl--

Condensed version: Everybody go see it!

Ayn Rand had a few things to say about critics in her earlier novel The Fountainhead and they were not complimentary. It doesn't surprise me in the least that left-leaning critics would have an axe to grind. Zero stars? Seriously? I mean, come on.

I read the book years ago and I think the producers made the right decision by ruthlessly stripping out the subplots, minor characters, and speeches and concentrating on the main plot, which is fast-moving and quite entertaining. It's more important that the movie be seen by people who have never read the book than be loved by Rand fans.

Yes, it's a low-budget movie. There are no awe-inspiring sets or special effects. I'm glad there are no major stars. They would have drawn attention away from the story, and most of them are moonbats anyway.

It actually doesn't surprise me that the movie had a good opening weekend, then fell off sharply in the second week. Rand fans had been looking forward to it for over 50 years, so they all went to see it as soon as it opened. I guess the filmmakers are counting on word of mouth to bring in the non-Rand fans. I've been doing my part to recommend it. I don't know how influential my opinions are, though.

Mike the Moose:

I couldn't get to see it the weekend it opened. But come Thursday, I drug my 8.5 mo pregnant wife to a Theater miles away from home. I was not disappointed. Not in the least; the movie makes no apologies for conservatism and the success which is the lifeblood of industrialized society, nor affords any quarter for the destructiveness of liberalism. And being an industry (Engineer) man myself, it felt like a shout-out to the real work that goes on that keeps this country moving. It is so going in my DVD collection. I'm trying to figure out how to drag other members of my family to it before it disappears.

If y'all are looking for other conservative titles to support. I suggest you purchase 2081 the short movie. Despite being only 25 min it is spectacular. The most moving 25 minutes of film I can remember watching. You can rent it from youtube too.

Re: the special effects, I was actually surprised that the futuristic train shot looked pretty good in the trailer. It's not cutting edge at this point or anything, but it looked good.

digg this
posted by Ace at 11:45 AM

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