Wednesday, April 27, 2011

GALTIAN SUPERMAN SPEAKS. (UPDATED.) The producer of the Atlas Shrugged movie, business for which has fallen off, tells the Los Angeles Times that he will fight to the last to bring Ayn Rand's vision to the promised 1,000 screens and follow up with the final two parts of the trilogy.

Just kidding:
"Critics, you won," said John Aglialoro, the businessman who spent 18 years and more than $20 million of his own money to make, distribute and market "Atlas Shrugged: Part 1," which covers the first third of Rand's dystopian novel. "I’m having deep second thoughts on why I should do Part 2"...

Though the film has made only $3.1 million so far, Aglialoro said he believes he'll recoup his investment after TV, DVD and other ancillary rights are sold. But he is backing off an earlier strategy to expand "Atlas" to 1,000 screens and reconsidering his plans to start production on a second film this fall.

"Why should I put up all of that money if the critics are coming in like lemmings?" Aglialoro said. "I’ll make my money back and I'll make a profit, but do I wanna go and do two? Maybe I just wanna see my grandkids and go on strike."
On strike! That'll show 'em.

It seems the perpetual motion machine runs on whine.

Here's a video of Aglialoro and other members of the creative team talking about the film last week ("This book, this movie… it's a liberation of the human spirit," Aglialoro says). The discussion is hosted by Nick Gillespie, who reacts eagerly to the filmmakers' sunny assessment of the movie's fortunes: "Does it seem somehow in keeping that the critical reception might be mixed but the audience response is huge? Because this seems totally in keeping with Rand's reception, which is there's something about her work that an audience gets that escapes the gatekeepers and the Wesley Mouches of the world."

UPDATE. Comments are choice. "Randianism: the sound of one teenager slamming a door in your face--forever" quoth aimai, who also collaborates with wiseguy cleter on a Galt-speech film starring Wallace Shawn, to be called My Dinner with Atlas. lacp posits Plan 9 from Galt's Gulch.

BigHank53 asks the relevant question, though: "Remember how the critics slagged Sucker Punch, 300, and The Phantom Menace, and those movies sank without a trace? Do Objectivists ever take responsibility for anything?" Just so. Rand's characters never bitched so much about their reversals, even when they were caused directly by hostile moochers, looters, scalawags etc. This guy gets bad reviews for his lousy movie and suddenly he's Josef K.

UPDATE 2. Almost forgot: There's a "Support the Atlas Shrugged Movie(s)!" Facebook page. I'm not sure it's not a parody. One of the members suggests: "What about a fundraiser all of us could contribute to, for marketing funds for the movie, so the word gets out to other people?" Boy, is she unclear on the concept.

UPDATE 3. I'm beginning to rethink this Aglialoro thing, thanks to commenter Brian H, who has discovered a 2007 Milford (MA) Daily News report on a Massachusetts Opportunity Relocation and Expansion grant bestowed upon Aglialoro's company, Cybex:
Several officials noted the long process of the Medway Industrial Park project, which began in the 1970s. The town nearly lost Cybex, which recently opened a new $15 million facility in Minnesota.

"Cybex had been looking to state government for several years, or frankly, it had to leave,'' said John Aglialoro, Cybex's chairman and chief executive officer.

But within months of taking office, the [Derval] Patrick administration awarded Cybex one of the MORE grants, Aglialoro said.

"Our global competition would certainly maintain a dry eye if they learned the Medway facility was shut down,'' he said. "For America to compete effectively, businesses must work with local, state and federal entities.''
Doesn't sound lke the Rearden way to me. But I don't blame Aglialoro -- in fact, the more I think about it, the more I admire his nerve.

Like I always say, if you can swindle zealots into paying for your art, then swindle, comrades, and God go with you. And now that I know Aglialoro was full of shit coming in the door, even his ridiculous pretense of moral high ground is less offensive to me, and in fact has something glorious about it. I confess that when Oliver Stone was passing out "Open the Files" buttons during his talk-show publicity appearances for JFK, I was thinking: Greater love hath no man than this, that he would pretend to be an idealist for the sake of his project! That a drug-addled monster of ambition like Stone would play so well the reformer struck me as a miracle of artistic devotion. If Orson Welles had learned that trick, we might have been blessed with five or six more masterpieces.

Maybe, in the service of his mission, Aglialoro has a similar plan to shake down the dummies who pony up for National Review cruises and crap like that. You can imagine it: Liberal film critics have tried to silence Ayn Rand. But they won't get away with it -- if you give generously. I would prefer to think of him as a modern-day Fran├žois Villon than as someone dumb enough to actually believe this Objectivist horseshit.

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