On October 12, the second instalment in the movie trilogy based on Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged tanked on opening night.
Atlas Shrugged Part II made $692,000 averaging only $684 per screen, according to Box Office Mojo. Part two was made on a reported budget of $20 million.
The first installment made less than $5 million while in theaters, which also filmed on a $20 million budget. On opening night, part one made only $674,000, but was showing on roughly one-third as many screens as part two.
despite a net loss of $15 million in Atlas Shrugged Part I, the latest version managed to have a $20 million budget again. It remains to be seen if part two can turn a profit.
Atlas Shrugged was intentionally kept away from critics because of bad reviews received on the previous film.
“It’s sometimes a fear due to the general conception that most of the press leans to the left, and this film obviously leans very far to the other side,” Editor-in-Chief Matt Atchity told Fox News. “It is rare that you will get reviews of overtly political movies without reviewers’ personal politics coming into it. So if critics want to review it, they’ll have to pay and see it at the same time as everyone else.”
Rotten Tomatoes described Atlas Shrugged as “Poorly written, clumsily filmed and edited, and hampered by amateurish acting, Atlas Shrugged: Part II does no favors to the ideology it so fervently champions.”
The characters in the original novel were widely criticized for being one-dimensional.
“They’re not real people,” describes Jeff Kantor, an Avalon parent who read Atlas Shrugged many years ago. “All her heroes [in the book] are totally heroic, and all of her bad guys are totally disgusting.”
However, Avalon parent Chris smith, who reads the novel once every five years, said the characters in the movie were more real than the characters in the book. Mostly because the cast, which was entirely changed from part one, gave far more convincing performances. Smith has seen both movies in theaters.
Still, Avalon parent Chris Bonatti, who has read the book and seen the movies, thinks Atlas Shrugged has developed a cult following because it honors the view that many people hold, but is not represented in common media, such as “rugged individualism”.
Rand, an athiest, wrote the original novel based on her own philosophy, Objectivism, which also contains the message of rugged individualism that many fans latch onto. It states reality is objective rather than subjective.
Interestingly, according to Kantor, Objectivism is unique because most people with an atheist view point see reality as something that is subjective.
Knowledge about Atlas Shrugged is not abundant at Avalon and most students have not only never heard of Atlas Shrugged but the few who saw the movie were not thrilled.
“It was part one of a giant book, so all it does is build up a bunch of questions, and then end it,” described senior Stefano Contini, who watched the movie because his sister had read Atlas Shrugged and wanted to see the movie. Contini had not read Atlas Shrugged.
But Avalonians who’ve read the novel feel it’s worth diving into and perhaps the movie can inspire others to read the book.
“Most of the criticism I have ever heard of her novels has been criticism of her as a literary figure, or of her philosophies, not criticism of the novels themselves.” explains Bonatti, “It’s rather like shooting the message because you don’t like the messenger.”
Kantor says, “It’s easy to sneer at because, as I said, the characters are wooden, and in some very important ways, defective, but it remains a very powerful force for changing people’s lives for the good.”