Ayn Rand’s great novel espousing free markets and individualism finally comes to the silver screen in a potential three-part film franchise. Film distributor Rocky Mountain Pictures and co-producer Harmon Kaslow have tapped certain current political demographics to rev up excitement for the limited theatrical release of Atlas Shrugged: Part 1 on April 15th.
According to Hollywood Reporter, filmmakers are utilizing the proven word-of-mouth power of the nine million active members of the Tea Party to get people into theatres to see the movie. The more support they can garner nationwide, the more theatres will end up playing Atlas Shrugged: Part 1. And the success of this first installment will determine if the next two films are made
Kaslow is utilizing the Tea Party as a marketing tool, as Rand’s classic novel (and thus film) extol principles and values shared by the Tea Party; things like a call for free market economies and self-responsibility. The novel also condemns socialistic tendencies in the government, labor unions, and over-taxation. Filmmaker have launched an email campaign, capitalizing on the Tea Party’s excellent email tree. Kaslow said, “They have a very efficient means of communicating via e-mail, and it seems to be working well for us.”
As the film was made for under $10 million, this ground roots marketing seems to be a good choice to get the word out. Apparently, it has already increased buzz and even TV and radio commentators are starting to spread awareness. If the campaign is as successful as filmmakers hope, the 200 theatres screening the movie in April will dramatically increase.
According to the Hollywood Reporter, ever since Atlas Shrugged was published in 1957, film and TV makers have been trying to adapt it. Beset by casting issues, Rand’s own desire to stay involved in the editing process, and economic troubles, this influential nouveau classic has not (until now) made it to either the big or little screen.
Co-producer and screenwriter John Aglialoro bought the rights to Atlas Shrugged from Rand’s heir in 1992 for $1.1 million. The film adaptation was directed by Paul Johansson and stars Taylor Schilling as powerful business woman Dagny Taggart. The story centers around a bleak future in which all the great minds and innovators begin to mysteriously disappear. They effectively go on strike, leaving the government-centric world on the verge of collapse; they’re withdrawal is “stopping the motor of the world.” The main themes of the book underscore the necessity of individual freedom to create. A world where man is shackled by society or government is doomed; without incentive to create or spend, stagnation and eventual collapse is inevitable.
For a list of theatres playing Atlas Shrugged: Part 1 check out the official website. The trailer is below, judge for yourself if this looks like it will stay true to Rand’s philosophic and social vision.