Lately, there have been duelling stories in the entertainment press about the future of ”Atlas Shrugged.” With disappointing box office returns, the producers have been asked if they will go ahead and complete the franchise and in one interview we’re being told there will be no trilogy and in another we’re being told that there will. To clear the air, I reached out via email and “Atlas” producers John Aglialoro and Harmon Kaslow were both good enough to respond with exclusive quotes that should help to calm fears of “Atlas” fans everywhere.
Most surprising, though, was the revelation that CNN, CNBC, and MSNBC are refusing to broadcast 15-second “Atlas” spots. What’s that about?
“I’m going to get a picture of Roger Ebert and Peter Travers and the rest of them so I can wake up in the morning and be reminded what we’re up against,” Aglialoro wrote in an email. “They’re revitalizing me with their outrageousness.” Aglialoro then went on to state that he had been “misunderstood” when he said that the critical drubbing the film took “influenced him to abandon the second and third films in the Atlas Shrugged franchise.” He confirmed that he has ”no intention to go on strike.”
That should come as very good news to the many, many people who obviously enjoyed the film and found it to be something special. Personally, I’ve never seen such polarized reviews before. The critics savaged it and yet everyone who sent a revew into us loved it. The most interesting thing I’ve noticed is that no one was on-the-fence about the film. No one said, “Yeah, it was okay.” People either passionately embraced Part 1 or passionately didn’t. You don’t see a lot of movies like that. So, for those of you who loved it…
“Make no mistake, we want to make Part 2 and Part 3 and we’re committed to finding a way to make it work,” Aglialoro wrote. “There’s a temptation to make the movies expecting to lose money, to say to heck with the critics and invest another $10 million and hope to make some of it back. But to do so would betray Ayn Rand’s principles. This has to be a profitable venture. The challenge is in finding a way to overcome the critics and the rest of the establishment, who are united against us. The most frustrating thing is knowing that there are people who are missing out on an opportunity to enjoy the experience of Atlas Shrugged on the big screen either because of what critics have said or because they just don’t know it’s in theaters because they haven’t heard about it.”
The producers also told me they are “moving ahead with the theatrical release because demand is still high in several markets – [we have the] highest per-theatre gross of movies currently playing in Nashville and Atlanta. We are also continuing with the word of mouth campaign because, as expected, the mainstream media have largely either ignored or attacked it.”
The most interesting development, however, is that in their effort to expand television advertising, MSNBC, CNN and CNBC “have all rejected a 15-second ad for ‘editorial’ reasons [with] no further explanation provided.”
“This unforeseen censorship effectively puts the brakes on our follow-up marketing efforts where we were trying to reach millions of people unaware of the movie being in theaters now,” Kaslow wrote. “We are continuing with the theatrical release because we have great word of mouth and awareness for the movie increases daily.”