Producer John Aglialoro spent 18 years trying to get a feature film of Atlas Shrugged off the ground, and ultimately rushed a low-budget version into production at the last minute in order to secure the rights. The resulting movie, Atlas Shrugged: Part One, was released this month to intensely negative reviews (including our own, and our follow-up editorial) and strong support from its installed fan base, which garnered the film a hefty $5,000+ per screen average in its first week of release. That installed fan base didn't stay the course, however, and the movie's box office returns plummeted to 47% in its second week of release despite an increased number of screens. What's Aglialoro going to do?
Give up on April 26th, and change his mind on April 27th.
In an interview with The Los Angeles Times this past Tuesday, the producer indicated that he was 'going on strike.' He also told the publication, "Why should I put up all of that money if the critics are coming in like lemmings? …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."
Then on April 27th he told Hollywood Reporter the opposite: that the critics' disdain for the film has instead motivated him to make the films despite the initial wave of scrutiny. That interview seems to imply that the almost unanimous appraisal of the film's quality (or rather, the lack thereof) by people who know a lot about good movies is actually some kind of conspiracy: ""Not in the history of Hollywood has (sic) 16 reviewers said the same low things about a movie. They're lemmings. 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."
Under normal circumstances, 16 prominent reviewers agreeing with each other about the quality of the film would indicate something other than that they're all wrong. But whatever.
Aglialoro confesses that he did not spend enough money to promote the film on television, since the grass roots campaign did not prove effective after the initial opening run. He plans to partner with a major studio for the next to installments (no word yet on which one), and to release Atlas Shrugged: Part 2 on April 15th, 2011 and Atlas Shrugged: Part 3 on April 15th, 2012. A release schedule we can't help but be very amused by.
Crave Online will return with more Atlas Shrugged news unless Aglialoro changes his mind again.