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Producer's 2nd Thoughts on AS Part2

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The critcs reviews are really making the producer consider going on strike.

Take a look:

From the LA Times (http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/movies/2011/04/atlas-shrugged-producer-critics-you-won-hes-going-on-strike.html)

Twelve days after opening "Atlas Shrugged: Part 1," the producer of the Ayn Rand adaptation said Tuesday that he is reconsidering his plans to make Parts 2 and 3 because of scathing reviews and flagging box office returns for the film.

"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."

"Atlas Shrugged" was the top-grossing limited release in its opening weekend, generating $1.7 million on 299 screens and earning a respectable $5,640 per screen. But the the box office dropped off 47% in the film's second week in release even as "Atlas Shrugged" expanded to 425 screens, and the movie seemed to hold little appeal for audiences beyond the core group of Rand fans to whom it was marketed.

Aglialoro attributed the box office drop-off to "Atlas Shrugged's" poor reviews.

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."

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This is...surprising. The horrible response of critics to the original novel is well-documented. Did he expect movie critics to be a completely different type of person?

If the film is not creating the public discussion he wants, or doesn't break even with his investment, making the rest of the trilogy doesn't make sense. I agree with him there. But to be surprised that the film gets bad reviews...hmm.

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Well certainly a lot of hostility towards the movie from Objecticists cannot have helped. I've been witness to people coming back from the movie and spewing vitriol about the movie and calling it absolutely terrible because (oh the humanity!!!) it used "news stories" to tell a lot of the back story. Or other purely academic complaints from people who apparently took a course somewhere on the sins of movie making. That's a slightly more cogent criticism than those whose main complaint seems to be that Character X doesn't look like they are supposed to. We have one person on this board who has pre-emptively judged it to be bad (on the basis of reviewer comments that have been pointed out to be lies) and refuses to see it at all.

With these kinds of friends, this movie does not need enemies.

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We have one person on this board who has pre-emptively judged it to be bad (on the basis of reviewer comments that have been pointed out to be lies) and refuses to see it at all.

I myself have not preemptively judged it to be bad - just that it can wait until DVD, based on specifically Grames's and Diana Hsieh's reviews, which I didn't find as simple to disregard as the criticisms you cite. I have also been hesitant to see it, knowing that the next time I read the book, I might end up picturing those actors in my head, rather than the characters I had previously imagined.

Edited by brian0918
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"The New York Times gave us the most hateful review of all," said Aglialoro, who also has a writing credit on the movie. "They didn’t cover it."

Someone sounds like he cares way too much about the opinions of others. The box office drop-off was probably due to the fact that everyone who wanted to see it saw it the day it came out. Anyone else probably doesn't even know a movie of Atlas Shrugged was released, or is not playing at a convenient location.

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One question I have is, since the subject of marketing was brought up to me elsewhere:

Does anyone know if they in fact marketed the film at all? If so, how? Was it more a "make it and they will come" approach?

Criticism has been raised to me on the supposed marketing of the film by the film makers, and lack of countering the critcs, and that the "failure is ultimately on the film makers".

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Does anyone know if they in fact marketed the film at all? If so, how? Was it more a "make it and they will come" approach?

I attended an April 15th showing at the Empire 25 on 42nd Street near 8th Avenue in Manhattan. I saw no Atlas Shrugged posters in the theater either the night I attended the movie or a few days earlier when I bought my tickets. There was a YouTube campaign, but I found the phone messages from the characters in the film to be rather silly, and expect that they would be ineffective in attracting any audience except for those who had already read the book and loved it.

John Link

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Does anyone know if they in fact marketed the film at all? If so, how? Was it more a "make it and they will come" approach?

The film makers did a horrible job of promoting their film.

Many people make spur-of-the-moment decisions about what movie to see. They have some free time, they decide to see a flick and they pick up a newspaper to see what's on. That's why studios spend so much money on week-end newspaper ads designed to grab your attention. So what was Aglialoro's strategy for getting folks to choose his film over the so-called 'major releases'? Here's what he did in Los Angeles: Forego any newspaper ad whatsoever in the LA Times last week-end. And then he complains that attendance fell off from the first week-end. What a shock.

There was a small ad for the film in the LA Times on opening week-end. Nothing on the second week-end. Zero. Not a peep.

How were people supposed to know the film was out there? As far as I can tell, there was almost zero promotion after week one. Online movie info sites like Yahoo didn't even mention Atlas Part One on their 'Also in theatres' list. All the responsibility for getting the word out fell to the people who made the film. The producers needed to do whatever they could to keep the movie in the public eye--and they did a miserable, pathetic job.

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This tiny underdog film has made $3mil so far. He's just being ridiculous and making himself look silly.

Critics don't like my movie so I won't make more of them, that will show them!

Most likely in my opinion he's just being whiny or as suspected his only goal was to keep the film rights. Which he has done, so why make more?

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I myself have not preemptively judged it to be bad - just that it can wait until DVD, based on specifically Grames's and Diana Hsieh's reviews, which I didn't find as simple to disregard as the criticisms you cite. I have also been hesitant to see it, knowing that the next time I read the book, I might end up picturing those actors in my head, rather than the characters I had previously imagined.

I didn't say that you had preemptively judged it, Brian--though I urge you to reconsider. I don't know what matinee prices are like where you are (or if you can work a matinee into your schedule).

I actually found Diana's comments cogent, and told her so. I even wrote a laundry list of easy improvements that would have blunted her criticisms that she liked. She didn't outright condemn the film (like many have), giving it a C+. I gave it four out of five stars, personally, due primarily to its emotional effect on me--that of course being one important test of a piece of art.

I know I am not alone in this--both showings I went to on opening day led to applause; there was also _cheering_ at the evening show. Yet in spite of this emotional impact it's somehow a crappy piece of art?

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The film makers did a horrible job of promoting their film.

I'd have to agree. They were hoping it would go viral with an entirely internet-based campaign. It did, but within a very small Petrie dish of Objectivists and hard core Tea Party, not the general population.

I found myself talking to my sister's boyfriend before it opened, and he said a bunch of his coworkers were planning to drive to Denver, if necessary, to see it. (Turned out not to be since a local theater carried it.) I don't know if these folks were Objectivists or not (I should find out), if they weren't, then that's really the only case I've heard of word spreading outside the Petrie dish.

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I'd have to agree. They were hoping it would go viral with an entirely internet-based campaign. It did, but within a very small Petrie dish of Objectivists and hard core Tea Party, not the general population.

When the main indie films competing against it have regular tv commercial advertisements for their movie (The Conspirator, et al) that is most certainly not a good sign. While I am not well aware of the costs associated, I am obliged to feel that if they had put in the expense to do that the potential increase in the number of those seeing the movie may have made up for that marketing investment.

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I'd have to agree. They were hoping it would go viral with an entirely internet-based campaign. It did, but within a very small Petrie dish of Objectivists and hard core Tea Party, not the general population.

Can you, or anyone, explain to me more about that campaign? Any quotes from them about marketing, or anything, let me know anyone.

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I don't know that there are quotes about the marketing strategy out there but you can go to the movie website and see the stuff under "gallery". Pretty much, what happened was they'd rely on word of mouth (or word of keyboard) to get people to watch the trailers, excerpts, etc..

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I don't know that there are quotes about the marketing strategy out there but you can go to the movie website and see the stuff under "gallery". Pretty much, what happened was they'd rely on word of mouth (or word of keyboard) to get people to watch the trailers, excerpts, etc..

Thank you, Steve. This is what I have been gathering so far, it looks like that did in fact not market it as it pretty much was a word of mouth thing, where even the main distribution of the movie in theatres was done by saying for people to demand it in their theatre, you can see that on their site, they even have counts up for the number of demans for the movies in certain states, my state is the top one for demanding it. The word of mouth directed people to their site, youtubes, etc. I guess that's how it got started.

I think this is interesting and glad I am looking into it, as I suspect a reason behind it. I see nothing to counter the critics, nothing to promote the film directly, or anything. Not sure if an ad in the paper is their advertising, or the theatres advertising, as I would think they would have a selfish stake in promoting it, or advertising for it themselves. The "make it and they will come" approach I think is basically how it went, is what I gather so far.

Anyone know why, or want to speculate as to why?

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. . . I see nothing to counter the critics, nothing to promote the film directly, or anything. Not sure if an ad in the paper is their advertising, or the theatres advertising, as I would think they would have a selfish stake in promoting it, or advertising for it themselves. The "make it and they will come" approach I think is basically how it went, is what I gather so far.

Anyone know why, or want to speculate as to why?

Whatever their initial strategy was, it appears the producers have seen the light--but not soon enough to keep the film in theatres.

I got this e-mail message from the film's promoters yeterday:

NOT. DONE. YET.

TV... here we come. Not that kind of TV. Commercials. Yep. This fight isn't over by a long shot.

Whether the mainstream media networks like it or not, we're on TV. I bet you can guess which networks are approving our spots and which aren't.

Now THAT'S the free market. Well done. Of course, we support their right to say "no" to our ads, or any ads for that matter, for whatever reason they see fit but... you be the judge... would you disapprove our ad?

The TV ad, which has appeared several times on FOX News, simply displays the title of the film with people talking about how much they like it in the background.

They also announced a promotional event featuring the appearance of the actor who played Dr. Stadler at a local showing of the movie:

Special Events this weekend

How would you like to attend an Ellis Wyatt press conference? Francisco d'Anconia Party maybe? How about a State Sponsored social experiment led by Dr. Robert Stadler himself.

If you live in or around L.A., IT'S ON. Check out our upcoming events for tonight and tomorrow night.

And there was a decent ad in the movie section of the Los Angeles Times yesterday.

The bad news is that the film is no longer playing at the theatre where I saw it five times. And the ad for the other major Los Angeles theatre showing the film makes clear that this is the final week-end.

You can't help but wonder why the producers waited so long to promote their product. It is probably wasted money at this point. The time to do this was two weeks ago.

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I thank you kindly for your entire response.

Whatever their initial strategy was, it appears the producers have seen the light--but not soon enough to keep the film in theatres.

[...]

You can't help but wonder why the producers waited so long to promote their product. It is probably wasted money at this point. The time to do this was two weeks ago.

Yep, I've been wondering as to what if any marketing they had, and now I see them going to seemingly really start it now.

You can see on this site how much the movie is making day by day, it's tracked here:

http://www.boxoffice...lasshrugged.htm

Maybe they thought the word of mouth would have been enough or for some other reason initially? But regardless, it's on now.

And it's getting interesting according to what I just found here:

http://bighollywood....refuses-to-air/

Commercial is in it, and it appears to me that it all relies on WORD OF MOUTH! And due to the rejection accorrding to that site, maybe that's why it was not really marketed if at all.

Theatre counts went DOWN, too. Now only 370 showing it as of right now.

Edited by intellectualammo
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