How Atlas Shrugged movies did

Posted by IndianaGary 6 years, 6 months ago to Movies
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I was curious how the Atlas Shrugged (AS) did overall and which of the movies did better than the others, so I used Box Office Mojo (BOM) statistics to analyze them. Note that all of the following assumes that BOM statistics are accurate.

Movie Gross Theaters* Lifespan

ASP1 $4,627,375 465 35 days / 5 weeks

ASP2 $3,336,053 1,012 49 days / 7 weeks

ASP3 $846,704 242 21 days / 3 weeks

*Largest number of theaters during release

The main thing I took from the above is that the ASP3 was in far fewer theaters than either of the other two and that it fared far worse than the other two. I don't know if there is a correlation or not.

If you are interested in digging even more deeply into the weekly or daily statistics, please go to and type in "atlas shrugged" into the search box. This will bring up all three movies and you can navigate around to view the details.

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  • Posted by j_IR1776wg 6 years, 6 months ago
    By my lights, ASP3 was the best of the trilogy. John, Dagny, James, and Cuffy played their parts to perfection. The script got in all of Rand's ideas and Galt's speech could not have been done better given the time limits imposed. Plus Cmiral's music was fantastic.
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    • Posted by Robbie53024 6 years, 6 months ago
      It was clear that AS3 was meant to be a stand alone movie, not relying on the first 2 to be viewed to put things in context. This is a benefit and a drawback to the film. More of the 3rd installment of the book could have been included, but it would have been required to see all 3 films to have full context. If I were to point a person not familiar to the book, and recommend one film to view, it would definitely be AS3. They could go back and view the first 2 to get the grandeur of the building of the John Galt Line and the back story of the wedding of Jim Taggart to Cherryl Brooks, and the importance of the energy machine. But other than this, the basic concepts are all included in AS3.
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  • Posted by $ winterwind 6 years, 6 months ago
    I wish that when someone is going to talk about how the movies "did", they would [as my first philosophy teacher - a little Russian lady - taught me] DEFINE THE TERMS.
    How much money did they bring in? What did they cost? How much will the video market bring in?
    How many people saw them who were talked in to it by a person from the Gulch? [I was responsible for 5; of those, two had never heard of it, one read it 40 years ago, one lives it and one said "3?!? Where are 1 and 2? When are we going?]
    How many saw it after a conversation with someone from the Gulch? [I think I did 2.}
    How many people were energized, re-charged, thrilled and re-ignited with the desire to make the world they want? Who knows?
    As for me, I walked out of the movie the first time in tears; it had hit me like a load of bricks. And it was beautiful, the music was shockingly gorgeous, the sex scene couldn't have been better, and the speech was captured beautifully
    Yes, it had weaknesses that faded in importance after a couple of days of thinking. So what.
    Ask a wide and sloppy question, you're not going to get a precise and pointed answer.
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    • Posted by 6 years, 6 months ago
      The success of a movie is generally accepted to be determined by how well it does at the box office. The gross income of a movie is dictated by how many people are willing to put up their cold, hard cash to see it. I had thought that my use of Box Office Mojo statistics at least implied that this was what I was getting at.

      Of course, the overall success of ASP3 won't be clear until after release of the DVD and Blu-Ray. The gross for ASP1 and ASP2 DVD sales has not been made public to my knowledge. If the financials have been made public, I would be interested in knowing what the numbers are, although they are still being sold and the numbers will only improve over time, much like the continuing phenomenal sales of the Atlas Shrugged book.

      None of the above is intended to denigrate the quality of these movies in any way. I agree that ASP3 was, despite flaws already discussed elsewhere, the best of the three for many of the reasons you described.

      I am, therefore, somewhat puzzled that ASP3 did not fare better in theaters. Had it done well in the initial 242 theaters, I am sure that the producers would have been more than happy to expand its distribution. I can only hope that the DVD and Blu-Ray sales will be vigorous; I'll order mine as soon as it becomes available.

      If any one of the three movies encourages increased readership of the novel, the money to make them will have been well spent.
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      • Posted by Esda 6 years, 6 months ago
        The constraint on the distribution of Part 3 wasn't the producers but the theaters. Looking at the performance of the first two parts, theater owners generally felt that the series had demonstrated not once but twice that it couldn't find its audience. Harmon Kaslow even mentioned this here, albeit indirectly: the distribution company had in many cases to offer financial guarantees to the theaters, and the purpose of the "tell your theater to show the film" campaign was to show that the film would actually have an audience, thereby reducing the level of guarantee needed. He said "it's expensive" to show the film in a theater which no one will go to -- meaning that they would in such cases have to pay up their guarantee to the theater. That probably happened more than a few times for Part 3. You'll remember the many "I couldn't believe how empty the theater was" posts here the first week, which far outweighed "the place was packed" posts.

        In terms of the future income of the film, it may continue to sell, but it's very hard to see it selling to the degree necessary to cover the $20M or so the project ended up in the hole for. As I've said before, you as a consumer may pay roughly the same ticket price to stream a film or buy a DVD as you did in the theater, but a much smaller slice of your dollar actually goes to the film producers compared to the theatrical release. The "let DVD save it" model works best for much smaller productions -- the grindhouse horror films, that sort of thing -- that don't have nearly the same investment to recoup, or have been designed for home release from the start.

        I should also note that it's an assumption that the numbers for later sales will improve with time. Not saying that it couldn't happen, just that it's not very likely to happen in sufficient scale to pull the trilogy out of the red. The real benefit would be if the trilogy were subject to the same sort of industrial-scale bulk sales -- the "think tank buys em and gives em away" model -- which accounts for most of the novel's annual sales over the past couple decades (the Ayn Rand Institute alone is responsible for handing out about 400,000 copies a year, if I remember right).
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        • Posted by Esda 6 years, 6 months ago
          I found this an interesting discussion of the economics of home video.


          3.4 Home Video: The Great Chimera. Why then would any distributor bother with theatrical distribution? Because they hope the exposure resulting from it will generate enough home DVD and digital sales to recoup their theatrical losses and eventually turn a profit. In retail terms, theatrical release is a "loss leader." A Hollywood blockbuster opening with a 2000 screen break will generate more than enough sales in the after-market to pay for its production and theatrical losses, if any. That's why the industry spends more than a third of a film's production costs on promotion. In fact, Hollywood counts on the "after-market" of international sales, DVD sales, television and digital distribution, along with related action figures, tee-shirts, product placement, promotional tie-ins, etc for the majority of its profits. An independent production will be swamped by the tidal wave of advertising inundating the increasingly deficient American attention span. Producers should remember that only one in ten films actually makes money for its distributor or producer – these are the so-called "tent pole" or "evergreen" titles which keep a distributor in business. You could decide that your film will be the next "Blair Witch Project" or "Paranormal Activity," in which case, Newsreel has a large red bridge to sell to you, cheap.

          Distribution has been compared to a pyramid with theatrical exhibition at the apex and DVD and digital sales constituting its base; the larger the size of this apex, the larger the size of the base. Hence, your home video market will be directly proportional to your theatrical market. Volume is everything in the home/ consumer video market because unit margins are paper thin. A home video distributor characteristically gives producers a 25% royalty on its gross revenues (and sometimes, only its net after recovering up-front expenses.). But home video distributors, in contrast to institutional distributors, don't usually sell directly to the end-users; rather they act as wholesalers or middlemen for on- and off-line retailers ("storefronts") such as Blockbuster, Red Box, Netflix, Amazon or iTunes. These retailers take on average a 50% cut of the list price (which they have often the right to set') if the list price of your DVD is $19.99 (supposedly, the upper limit of "discretionary expenditures"), your home video distributor will receive only $10.00 from Amazon and you will receive only 25% of that or just $2.50 of each $19.99 DVD sale. Thus you need to sell 400 DVDs to earn a royalty of only $1000. Since, as mentioned above, 5,000 units is regarded as successful for an independent production, the upper limit of your home video revenues would equal a pathetic $12,500.
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  • Posted by redison 6 years, 5 months ago
    I would have gone to see the movie but it was only showing in one location in the entire state of Minnesota. I planned to go but when I finally got the time, it was gone. I will have to wait for the DVD to come out to complete my collection of the series. Any idea when it will be released?
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