‘Atlas Shrugged’ movies bomb, so we need more of them

Atlas Distribution

Because that’s how capitalism works, right? If it fails on the market that means it’s good. One of my favorite things about the movie industry is how they doggedly pursue even the most idiotic ideas even as they lose money by the bucketload. A perfect microcosm of this is the strange fate of the Atlas Shrugged movies.

The book is a Tea Party favorite, a paean to the philosophy of “objectivism” that paints the world in two stripes: people with “purpose” and disgusting collectivist sponges. Weighing in at 1,088 pages long, it’s a grinding slog with paper-thin characterization and unlikely plot coincidences. If you haven’t read it, don’t bother.

Atlas Shrugged is very popular with a certain section of Americans, so naturally a movie adaptation has been floating around for some time. It finally got off the ground with the 2011 release of Atlas Shrugged: Part I. The flick cost an estimated $20 million to make but looked like a SyFy original movie. They promoted it through Tea Party websites and media, but it wasn’t enough to actually get people into theaters, and it didn’t even bring in $5 million in ticket sales.

Atlas Shrugged: Part II, released before the 2012 Presidential elections, didn’t fare much better. Again, a $20 million budget. Hilariously, the movie had a completely new cast, with none of the actors from the first willing to return. That didn’t help much, as the sequel also tanked hard in theaters, pulling in less than $4 million. Critical response was even worse to this one as well, with a dismal 5% fresh on Rotten Tomatoes.

So, if you believe in capitalism, what does public rejection of two products at a tremendous loss of capital tell you? If you said “make another movie,” congratulations, you’re dumb enough for Atlas Shrugged: Part III. The Hollywood Reporter has the details, which state that the third film will hit theaters in time for the midterm elections in 2014. The third part of the novel, of course, is the part with John Galt’s 70 page monologue about how he’s right and the rest of the world is wrong, a monologue that is absolutely treasured by Ayn Rand fans.

How do you think they’re going to film that and make it watchable? Hey, guys – here’s an idea you can have for free: spend the entire production budget casting Chris Rock as John Galt and have him do it. Bang. Day one ticket purchase.