John Fund of Political Diary notes today that the libertarian/free market crowd’s bible, Atlas Shrugged, is doing quite well at the box office despite its low budget and hostility from the typical Hollywood elite.
People have been waiting so long for Ayn Rand’s 1957 novel “Atlas Shrugged” to be made into a movie that the original treatment back in the 1970s speculated on Clint Eastwood and Faye Dunaway in the starring roles.
But the 1,200-page tale of how the world’s productive people launch a strike against collectivism has faced many obstacles in reaching the big screen, not least of which is its political message, which is not exactly in tune with the It-Takes-a-Village crowd that predominates in Hollywood.
That’s why producer John Aglialoro feels like he’s crossed a long-awaited finish line. The owner of Cybex, a gym-equipment manufacturer, he bought the rights to make the movie back in 1992 but could never put a studio deal together. With recent headlines featuring government bailouts and takeovers of companies, however, Mr. Aglialoro knew he had a vehicle that spoke to the cultural zeitgeist.
Last summer, with his rights about to expire, he assembled a largely unknown cast and a small budget of $10 million of his own money and shot the film in only 26 days. The film’s TV-movie production values and the fact that it’s only the first part of a planned trilogy has drawn hoots from movie critics, but Mr. Aglialoro’s guerrilla marketing to tea party groups and “Atlas” fans is paying off with solid receipts at the box office. Released April 15 on only 299 screens, it was in 428 theaters this past weekend and will be in 1,000 at the end of the month.
Bring on Part II…just before the 2012 election!