Chicago Sun-Times

Box-office power of Ayn Rand’s ‘Atlas Shrugged’ baffles insiders
Chicago Sun-Times

The power of Ayn Rand devotees has impressed some Hollywood distribution executives, who took note of the hefty $5,640 per-theater average scored by “Atlas Shrugged: Part 1” during its opening weekend.

“Shocking,” one executive said about the healthy business the low-budget film has been doing, considering its “awful” marketing plan.

Awful or not, business has been brisk enough for producers Harmon Kaslow and John Aglialoro to expand from 299 theaters to 425 this weekend and to 1,000 by the end of the month. They don’t have enough film prints to fill all the orders. The producers stand by their marketing campaign, which relied heavily on the Internet to drum up support among members of the Tea Party, libertarians and other Rand enthusiasts. “Now, we can pretty much go into as many theaters as we want. It’s just a matter of logistics,” Kaslow said.

“People are hungry for what these characters are saying,” he said. “They’re telling the government, ‘Don’t entitle me with your gifts and your involvement in my life, because there’s a price I’ll pay for that. Just leave me alone. Let me hang onto my life and pursue my passions and rational self-interest. That’s what will benefit society.’ ”