Ayn Rand isn’t Dead, Movie Theaters Are!
Amid the leftist celebrations over the performance of the “Atlas Shrugged” movie at the box office, well-known facts have been overlooked. While it’s true that “Atlas Shrugged: Part 1″ isn’t doing well in the theaters, the fact is that few movies do. The movie “The Conspirator,” which came out the same weekend that “Atlas Shrugged: Part 1″ did, has comparable box office performance. The two movies are very similar in cost and target audience.
“The Conspirator” has taken in about twice as much as “Atlas Shrugged: Part 1.” However, it also had a larger production budget (25 million versus 20 million), a much larger advertising budget, and a much wider distribution. So, the box office results for these movies is very similar. Many people are blaming the producers of “Atlas Shrugged: Part 1″ for poor marketing, but it looks like the marketing didn’t matter much. Neither movie will do well in the theaters and that’s more an indication of the state of movie theaters than the movies themselves. Movie theaters are losing out to DVDs and rentals, and the few movies that do well are largely geared toward children or adolescents. In short, no one should expect these movies to do well in the theaters.
However, “Atlas Shrugged: Part 1″ will probably make back its investment and a good deal more. When the DVD comes out, many people will buy it, and we can expect that the sales will continue for years to come (Ayn Rand’s 1957 novel just sold half a million copies in 2009). Moreover, the movie producers are selling merchandise, which will further add to the revenue generation. In fact, the “Official Rearden Metal Bracelet” that they are selling is currently sold out; at $160 each, that’s a good bit more cash than a $9 movie ticket. The novel “Atlas Shrugged” is a classic, and we can expect a following for years to come. “The Conspirator,” by contrast, will simply lose money.
So, I expect that the producers will continue to make Parts 2 and 3, and they will make a ton of money in the long run. The actors and actresses will stay on as well, if they have any sense. After all, this is a classic that will live on for the rest of their lives and beyond. Who wouldn’t want to be a part of that?
Atlas Shrugged will live on in movie as well as book form, but the interesting thing to see is the reactions of people to the movie. The leftists, predictably, hate the movie as much as they hate Ayn Rand and her philosophy. Less understandable are those on the right, who have criticized the Atlas Shrugged movie. While some conservatives are fond of saying that they don’t care who gets the credit as long as the right thing gets done, that is clearly not the feeling of those on the right like P. J. O’Rourke.
Hey Conservative Authors, Why So Bitter?
Mr. O’Rourke’s review, which you can read in the Wall Street Journal here, pretends to have respect for Rand while simultaneously delivering backhanded compliments to her and anyone who admires her work. To him, we aren’t just readers who love her writing, we’re part of a cult, like scientology.
So, what drives such a man to say nasty things about the people that he claims to agree with? Is he a closet liberal? No, it’s much worse than that. He’s a failed conservative writer. Mr. O’Rourke writes books and, as such, he’s bitter that Ayn Rand has been such a success, while he is not.
To illustrate that point, he goes to great lengths to tell us just how bad her writing is. He even goes into detail about how phony the technologies in the book are (note to Mr. O’Rourke: that’s why it’s called science fiction). Yes Mr. O’Rourke, it’s not that your writing is bad, it’s that “Randians,” like me, are too stupid to understand your brilliance. Keep telling yourself that; I hope it makes you feel better.