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'Atlas Shrugged' producer: 'Critics, you won.' He's going 'on strike.'

April 26, 2011 |  5:16 pm

EXCLUSIVE: Twelve days after opening "Atlas Shrugged: Part 1," the producer of the Ayn Rand adaptation said Tuesday that he is reconsidering his plans to make Parts 2 and 3 because of scathing reviews and flagging box office returns for the film.

"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."

"Atlas Shrugged" was the top-grossing limited release in its opening weekend, generating $1.7 million on 299 screens and earning a respectable $5,640 per screen. But the the box office dropped off 47% in the film's second week in release even as "Atlas Shrugged" expanded to 425 screens, and the movie seemed to hold little appeal for audiences beyond the core group of Rand fans to whom it was marketed.

Aglialoro attributed the box office drop-off to "Atlas Shrugged's" poor reviews. Only one major critic -- Kyle Smith of the New York Post -- gave "Atlas" a mixed-to-positive review, calling the film "more compelling than the average mass-produced studio item." The movie has a dismal 7% fresh rating on review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes thanks to critics like the Chicago Tribune's Michael Phillips, who said "Atlas" is "crushingly ordinary in every way." Roger Ebert called the film "the most anticlimactic non-event since Geraldo Rivera broke into Al Capone’s vault," while Rolling Stone's Peter Travers said the movie "sits there flapping on screen like a bludgeoned seal."

"The New York Times gave us the most hateful review of all," said Aglialoro, who also has a writing credit on the movie. "They didn’t cover it."

The novel, a sacred text among many conservatives for Rand's passionate defense of capitalism, takes place at an unspecified future time in which the U.S. is mired in a deep depression and a mysterious phenomenon is causing the nation's leading industrialists to disappear or "strike."

Aglialoro's 97-minute adaptation is directed by first-timer Paul Johansson and stars little-known TV actors Taylor Schilling (as railroad executive Dagny Taggart) and Grant Bowler (as steel magnate Hank Rearden).

Though the film has made only $3.1 million so far, Aglialoro said he believes he'll recoup his investment after TV, DVD and other ancillary rights are sold. But he is backing off an earlier strategy to expand "Atlas" to 1,000 screens and reconsidering his plans to start production on a second film this fall.

"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."

Aglialoro, who is chief executive of the exercise equipment manufacturer Cybex, said he is not completely finished with Hollywood, however. An avid poker player who won the U.S. Poker Championship in 2004, he has a dramatic script called "Poker Room" in development. "Maybe the critics will be kinder to that one," he said.


Atlas Shrugged finally comes to the screen, albeit in chunks

-- Rebecca Keegan


Photo: Taylor Schilling plays heroine Dagny Taggart in "Atlas Shrugged Part 1." Credit: Rocky Mountain Pictures


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if you learn anything from Rand’s work is to do what you do well. apparently that was not clear to you, Mr. producer.

I was planning on seeing the movie at least twice but the movie was horrible, the acting, the directing, and script so bad and rushed it angered me. so angry I felt the helpless screem bursting out of my brain only more convicing than the screem at the end of the movie. what on earth was that for???

if you can not do the work well, please don't do it at all. Atlas Shrugged is such a great work of art and such iconic work.

I loved the book. I read dozens of reviews prior to viewing the movie, so my expectations were very low. I left the theater stunned because the movie was nothing like that described like the critics. It's great entertainment and true to the book. And the acting is good, too. It's noteworthy that the "critics" pan the movie (13% favorable on Rotten Tomatoes), while the public gave it 82% approval.

Saw the movie and enjoyed it very much. The "critics" are the mouth piece of the looney left so their panning of the movie is no big suprise.

Fallacy of AYN Rand Individual­ism vs American Dream

If there are any solid contributi­ons of Ayn Rand to the World these can be seen by the abuse of Free Market Captialism­, the IDOL OF PROFIT AND IDOLATRY OF SELF reigning supreme leading to where only THE STRONGEST survives i.e., DESTRUCTIO­N OF SOCIETY.

The idea that the INDIVIDUAL IS SUPREME AND THE CENTER OF THE UNIVERSE, the idea that ABSOLUTE INDIVIDUAL FREEDOM is the goal and purpose of the American Dream...is a stretch which is the foundation of all single dictators. The individual SELF and its promotion thereof as the basis for the American concept of Freedom IS TOTALLY FALSE!

The FOUNDING FATHERS OF THE AMERICAN CONSTITUTI­ON OPPOSED EXTREMES and loved BALANCE. The constituti­on = THE SHRINE of BALANCED THINKING focuses on the Balance of Power as well as the Balance between Individual Freedom and the Enhancemen­t of the Common Welfare. TRUE INDIVIDUAL FREEDOM in the form of THE BILL OF RIGHTS can only be assured by Government protecting­/refereein­g the success of the ONE & the success of the MANY. AYN RAND's SUPREMACY OF SELF only leads to the creation of A SOCIETY OF SMALL LITTLE HITLERS going around.thi­s cannot be sustained and society cannot be formed and built on the basis of LITTLE HITLERS GOING AROUND.her values will never triumph anywhere and her ideas were not only fallacious but totally wrong and nearly idiotic...

More about Ms. Ayn Rand http://thi­nkprogress­.org/?p=15­9391

My husband and I saw the movie this week and we loved it. Everyone knows the liberal reviewrs agenda. The South Carolina thing gives me shivers....remember the last scene!!!

Hahaha, I guess the free market has spoken Mr. Aglialoro.

It was not a "sell out", to make the movie "in the year" 2016. If you READ the book, there is NO indication of what decade/century it is in. It was just as relevant in 1920 as it is in 2016 - THAT was one of the beautiful things about the book. The decision to make it in 2016 was brilliant in that we are WELL on our way there.
As to the movie itself, there was NO advertising; no one (except Rand fans) knew the movie was even coming out. You HAD to know that the ultra-liberal movie ppl would pan it - they HAD to ...first, because they didnt understand it; second, because they are afraid of it.
If parts 2&3 are not made, I will feel that I was "suckered" into spending money on Part 1.

Atlas Shrugged is a very good movie. The problem is finding a movie theatre to see it in and knowing when it will be playing. In Flagstaff we had a special showing by the Flagstaff Tea Party and there was a full house - every seat was sold. I was in another state recently and looked in the newspaper - I did not see one showing of Atlas Shrugged and Los Angeles should have had it playing somewhere.

You can't see what you can't find

This was a good movie and any one who read the book can see how well it applies to what is happening in the USA right now. What I find amazing is how little press it received period as far as coming attractions TV adds etc, obviously the liberal press and media are very afraid of the movie and doesn't want to get people interested in reading the book and learning something and recognize the decline of America is happening from within. I hope he makes part 2 and follows the book as close as possible. What critics really know could not fill a thimble, because most of them have never done what they criticize and if so they failed at so in most cases all they know to do is HATE.

Show you have a pair and make Part 2 the reason the country is in decline is because people give up, you ar3 either hanging on the cross or banging in the nails

John, don't give up! Remember the wise words of Teddy Roosevelt"

"It is not the critic who counts: not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes up short again and again, because there is no effort without error or shortcoming, but who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, who spends himself for a worthy cause; who, at the best, knows, in the end, the triumph of high achievement, and who, at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who knew neither victory nor defeat."

How is it that a conspiracy of liberal film reviewers caused only 0.19% of the population to watch this movie?

Or was it just that uninteresting?

Atlas Shrugged has been my favorite book for 45 years. I even drove around with a bumpersticker on my car that said "Who's John Galt" No matter what the critics say, I liked the movie very much and am truly bummed that there will be no more part 2 and 3, but maybe.... After all there seem to be a LOT of us that liked the movie...critics critique too much with their personal views in mind...Thank goodness that I go see films on my own instincts, otherwise I would have missed a lot of good ones..

A must see for all who have an interest in history, American politics
and the general trend of the past 10 - 50 years

Maybe the movie just sucked?

Nobody will be able to keep a horrible, stupid, and ideologically misguided work from public ridicule and rightful dismissal. It won't take much time at all though, because like the book, it will attract a small number of gullible idiots and budding sociopaths who will go on and on about it on internet message boards, trying (and mostly failing) to make decent people sick just thinking that there might actually be people who unashamedly enjoy this garbage.

This movie is fantastic. An educated mind that leans towards conservatism will have a field day analyzing this film. It really makes the wheels in your mind turn.
The liberals will not like it because it makes them the bad guys (the looters) that they are.
I will be very disappointed if he doesn't do Part 2 and Part 3.
But I am reading the novel. I've already devoured Parts 1 and 2 and I'm into chapter 2 of Part 3. I know who John Galt is and I've been to Atlantis.

Do it for our sake, or we'll demonize you for doing it for profit.

go ahead w/ parts 2 & 3, please

by no means am i an ayn rand fan but i really dug part 1

All the good stuff happens in part 2!!! If you make it epic, you can justify part one as a prequel and redeem yourself with the critics!

The critics gave it scathingly negative reviews on rotten tomatoes.. but the average viewers reviews were overwhelmingly POSITIVE.

This producer was just looking for an artistic pat on the back from film critics. Clearly not interested in sending a message to the people who get something out of the film as a commentary on modern America and where she is headed!

EPIC FAIL! ; Both for giving up on your dream of seeing this project through to completion and for letting the critics be the excuse that brought you to that decision.

How soon we forget! Rand was turned down by numerous publishers and then after the book was finally published, received mostly scathing and disrespectful reviews. But the book went on to become the second best seller in the history of literature. And, continues to sell well. I have read Atlas Shrugged a number of times. I have given copies of the book to many, some understood it and others did not. But, much to the angst of the left, liberty is being pursued and enjoyed by more and more people everyday, in great part to the Objectivist philosophy. Please go on and produce parts two and three. I assure you, you will be well rewarded. Once the movie is on DVD its audience will grow and grow. By the way, I enjoyed the movie immensely and more the second time I saw it. It was true to the book, but more importantly to the philosophy, which is exactly why the critics panned it. This is not a story the left wants concretized in movie form. It hits them right in their soul, but it will capture the souls and minds of those who still know how to think and feel.

Imagine that. The ultra liberal New York Slimes didn't cover it and other liberal clowns in hollywood didn't like it because it is too much like what is going on today.

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