I’ve Run Out of Invisible Hand Jokes

But not schadenfreude:

My esteemed colleague Kyle Smith may not qualify as a box-office Nostradamus (“I smell a hit,” he once wrote of “An American Carol”) but he was certainly on the mark in predicting that “Atlas Shrugged — Part One” would flop in his Sunday column a couple of weeks ago.

After a middling performance during its opening weekend that was hyped in some quarters (i.e., The Hollywood Reporter), the per-screen average for this amateurish Ayn Rand adaptation (even Kyle could only muster 2.5 stars’ worth of enthusiam for the movie, though he liked its message) plunged to an alarming $1,890 from $5,640 during its opening frame. Overall, the weekend’s take was a scant $879,000 — a whopping 48 percent drop despite adding 166 locations. Which certainly suggest they’re running out of audience quick.

That means that at some locations, distributor Rocky Mountain Pictures will be writing checks to theaters to cover the difference between receipts and operating expenses. The only way they’re likely to get the 1,000 screens the producers say they want next weekend is to rent them. And, as Kyle put it at his personal blog, “Whether the sequels get made is purely a matter of how much desire the producers have for losing money.”

I’m dying.

90 replies
  1. 1
    Cat Lady says:

    Atlas Sucked

  2. 2
    gex says:

    It is a gray, rainy day. I’m so bummed by the usual political bullshit and the rampant anti-gay sentiment that is required to be on one side of the aisle and often is helpful on the other side as well. Got money problem. And I’m kinda sick to.

    But this, this has brightened my day.

  3. 3
    lacp says:

    If you want my Atlas Shrugged, you’ll have to pry it out of my cold, dead invisible hands?

  4. 4
    JonF says:

    How much does anyone want to bet that the Randtards will get some plutocrat to buy up tickets to make it look like a sleeper hit now?

  5. 5
    cathyx says:

    But the book was so good!

  6. 6
    Mark S. says:

    That means that at some locations, distributor Rocky Mountain Pictures will be writing checks to theaters to cover the difference between receipts and operating expenses.

    Huh, I didn’t know studios had to do that. Wouldn’t it be funny if this stupid movie ended up bankrupting the studio?

  7. 7
    Jay in Oregon says:

    I think the invisible hand has spoken.

    And it only required one finger to do so.

  8. 8
    Martin says:

    Does this mean the free market has declared libertarianism to be a complete failure?

  9. 9
    Jay in Oregon says:


    But if the plutocrat is a follower of Rand’s philosophy, there will have to be something in it for him. Charity is for looters…

  10. 10
    Fred says:

    I’m sure the Koch brothers are paying for it all one way or another anyways.

  11. 11
    Bobby Thomson says:

    The invisible middle finger.

  12. 12
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    I’ve Run Out of Invisible Hand Jokes

    And none to soon.

  13. 13
    lacp says:

    @JonF: If Jay Gould were alive, he’d hire half the working class to sit through AS.

  14. 14
    Mark S. says:

    Oh, and Kyle Smith is the shittiest movie critic in the universe. Michael Medved is better at keeping his politics out of his reviews.

  15. 15
    Bob L says:

    This is only because the production company foolishly chose to show the movie in liberal enclaves like Oklahoma.

  16. 16
    joeyess says:

    That means that at some locations, distributor Rocky Mountain Pictures will be writing checks to theaters to cover the difference between receipts and operating expenses.

    Wait a minute………. That’s socialism!

  17. 17
    Fred says:

    @Jay in Oregon: News flash, the looting is complete. They are just trying to hang on to as much of it as possible now.

    And then there is Wall Street. After being bailed out by the same gov’t they now rage against, they are back to record profits.

  18. 18
    joeyess says:

    I’m still confused about this “Your comment is awaiting moderation” business.

  19. 19
    aimai says:


    Yeah. I practically need a cigarette after reading that, and I don’t smoke.


  20. 20
    Ed in NJ says:

    Maybe the Heritage Foundation can buy up the DVDs in bulk for giveaways so they can declare breakeven down the road. I’m sure the typical conservative outlets will report it that way anyway.

  21. 21
    Maude says:

    @Mark S.:
    Rocky mountain Pictures is in trouble. They have a real problem and if someone is smart there, they will cancel sending the film to theaters as quickly as possible. They can go down the tubes on this.
    The first two weekends show the trend the movie is going to take. This movie has the same chance of sticking around as a snowball in hell.

  22. 22
    JonF says:

    @Jay in Oregon: Pushing Rand’s nonsense is considered a positive objectivist goal I’m sure.

  23. 23
    MizB says:

    The free market has spoken. BWAHAHAHA.

  24. 24
    piratedan says:

    @Ed in NJ: well they can bundle them with all of those George Bush memoirs and Sarah Palin tell-alls they have laying around.

  25. 25
    RandyH says:

    I just checked and it’s being dropped at the one theater near me where it was playing. That was quick.

  26. 26
    Svensker says:


    You used the so-cial-i-sm word which contains the not-necessarily-salted-but-get-yer-hardon-here-drug word. Since you complained about going into mod hell, one of the FPers rescued your lost post.

  27. 27
    slag says:

    “Has anyone else been wondering why The Times- which never lets a new movie go unreviewed (even when no critics’ screenings have been arranged)- has decided to break precedent with this one? My understanding is that the film’s producers actually did hold a press screening but decided not to issue an invite to this paper. If so, the failure to publish a review here is a matter of pure pique and comes across as a disservice to the paper’s readers…

    Haha! Maybe they were hoping to force AO Scott to buy a ticket, thereby doubling the opening day box office returns in NYC.

  28. 28
    ppcli says:

    @joeyess: You used the word “soc_ialism” without the underscore. If you omit the prefix “so” and the concluding “m” you get the name of a substance that is commonly sold in spam emails. That triggers the WordPress filter. Nothing any of the mods can do about that. It’s WordPress’ world, we just post in it.

  29. 29
    Joel says:

    @Maude: You could say that the… pinkie to mouth… con is up?

  30. 30
    Maude says:

    It’s DOA.
    I’ll see if they pull it from theaters. The more, the merrier.
    What a stupid movie to back.
    The only invisible hand here is the one at the box office. No ticket sales.
    The other thing is that when a movie starts to fail, it has an effect that helps it slide down into oblivion.

  31. 31
    MikeBoyScout says:

    Let’s not go crazy here folks.
    Maybe there are alternatives we have not yet considered.

    What if we cut off all disability benefits for Veterans who fought in Iraq and Afghanistan and gave the proceeds to the studio? Maybe then the movie could be placed in to more theaters for nobody to watch and Parts II & III could be produced and distributed.

    We have to be Objectivist about this, and taking money from Vets to pay stupid movie investors seems like the most objectionable thing we could do. In any event, Alisa Rosenbaum would approve.

  32. 32
    Bokonon says:

    Maybe the leaders of corporate America can be convinced to step up to the plate, and pay for company-wide screenings?

    Sort of an assist from the invisible hand of the market. You know … create a new market!

    Just don’t call it right-wing welfare from ideological fellow travelers.

  33. 33
    Frank W. says:

    Quite amusing… this disappointing showing is a bit of a poop sandwich for the Randians. Their beloved objectivism just ain’t selling.

  34. 34
    Xecky Gilchrist says:

    There’s STILL HOPE! All the fanbois have to do is go out and pay to see it FIVE HUNDRED MORE TIMES EACH!

    Go on, you Randroids! Get your ass off the couch and plant it in a movie theater seat! Dance for us! DANCE!

    Waaaaaa ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha

  35. 35
    folkbum says:

    The sidebar blogad, right now as I read this, is “Atlas Shrugged: Now Playing.”

  36. 36
    Jay in Oregon says:


    I’d be curious to hear from an Objectivist how that is the case, if Objectivism is all about making decisions based reasoned self-interest.

    Wouldn’t I, as an Objectivist plutocrat, be better served by keeping the looters and parasites off-guard as to my true motivations? Exposing the sheeple to the genius that is Atlas Shrugged would be casting pearls before swine…

  37. 37
    tones says:

    As the Great Stephen Colbert is wont to say :
    “The market has spoken”!
    [and the invisible middle finger as well]

  38. 38
    scav says:

    Anybody mentioned the film distributors are now looking for The Invisible Handout?

  39. 39
    Anoniminous says:

    That means that at some locations, distributor Rocky Mountain Pictures will be writing checks to theaters to cover the difference between receipts and operating expenses.

    Atlas died. It’s a dead Atlas. It Galts no more.

    Only a retarded chimpanzee would sign the checks to pay theaters to show this flop-a-roonie.

  40. 40
    slag says:

    @folkbum: Click it! That’s what I do. Those $.05 I cost them give me a sense of control in a mad mad world.

  41. 41
    scav says:

    Inset Shrugged

  42. 42
    mellowjohn says:

    so i shouldn’t hold my breath for the boxed set?

  43. 43
    Xecky Gilchrist says:

    I can’t wait for the Randroids to start puling about how a quality film isn’t a matter of ticket sales.

    Which will mean that they’re discounting the only metric they recognize for measuring value of anything at all.

    Waaaaaaa haha ahahahahahahaha

  44. 44
    CaffinatedOne says:

    I suspect that they’ll end up showing a (paper) profit after suspiciously large bulk DVD sales.

  45. 45
    JGabriel says:

    “Whether the sequels get made is purely a matter of how much desire the producers have for losing money.”

    Honestly, Agliar-rr-rrgh, or whatever the producer’s name is, should probably go ahead and finish the trilogy. In for a penny, in for a pound.

    Even with the movie losing money, he could probably recover costs and make a little profit by selling box sets of the trilogy to right-wing think tanks and periodicals, who could then give them away for “free” with donations and magazine subscriptions.

    And then ALL of us with wingnut relatives will be getting Atlas Shrugged boxsets for Christmas, while Agliar-rr-rrrgh laughs his way to the bank.


  46. 46
    The Thin Black Duke says:

    Looking back, at least The Fountainhead had King Vidor sitting in the director’s chair, superb cinematography, and the great Patricia Neal. (Oh yeah, and a block of wood labeled Gary Cooper.)

    Considering how lousy the novel was, I think it’s quite amazing that the movie falls into the “interesting failure” category. Made a little money, too.

    Ayn Rand hated The Fountainhead, of course. However, the charmless bony little sociopath probably would’ve loved Atlas Shrugged.

    The Randoids got lucky once. Not this time.

  47. 47
    joeyess says:

    @Svensker: Aaaahhh. That explains it. Thank you. From now on I will refer to that word as Red Balloons.

  48. 48
    MikeBoyScout says:

    If an Invisible Hand Fairy claps in a theater, does it make a sound?

  49. 49
    joeyess says:

    ah, fuck!! that did it too. I used the V-word for get-yer-hard-on drug and it tripped the mod. WTF? So so-cial-ism is some kind of spammer code for that?

  50. 50
    shortstop says:

    Now, now. All this really does is prove that Randfans are, as they’re always sayin’, smarter than everyone else. You can’t expect a box office success from something that is quite simply over the minds of the grasping, dependent, teat-sucking public. In fact, I’ll go so far as to note that, were this magnificent film to so much as break even, it would be a cause for deep concern since that might indicate that objectivism has potential as a populist philosophy rather than a mental masturbation tool of the socially unfit but grandiosely delusional.

  51. 51

    I’ve Run Out of Invisible Hand Jokes

    Your problem is that you’re looking for them rather than listening and feeling.

  52. 52
    joeyess says:

    @Svensker: wow. ok. Now I get it. It’s the other hard-on drug. Beginning with C, right? Ok, that was my “doink” moment for the week.

  53. 53
    joeyess says:

    @mellowjohn: thanks for the laugh. ;^)

  54. 54
    HyperIon says:

    I have a hard time imagining that overseas revenues are going to save this POS.

    Q. are there Libertarians that are not USAians?

  55. 55
    Citizen Alan says:

    I still say it will break even on DVD sales. Pete Peterson or somebody will drop $10 or $15 million on DVDs and then donate them all to schools or libraries and claim a tax write-off for it.

  56. 56
    JGabriel says:


    Q. are there Libertarians that are not USAians?

    Some in Europe, though they usually call themselves Liberal or Conservative — as opposed to Socia1ist or Social Democrat.


  57. 57
    MikeBoyScout says:

    From the stupid is too funny folks over at Fox:

    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.
    “Things have turned for us,” Kaslow said. “When we started, exhibitors were not embracing the film like we thought they would. Now, we can pretty much go into as many theaters as we want. It’s just a matter of logistics.”

  58. 58
    Calouste says:


    A quick check on amazon.fr teaches us that no one has bothered to publish “Atlas Shrugged” in French since 1959, although the 2008 publication of “La Vertu d’égoïsme” manages to get to the dizzy heights of 82,844 on the sales ranking.

  59. 59
    jimmiraybob says:

    Visible feet talk to invisible hand.

  60. 60

    What is the sound of one invisible hand clapping?

  61. 61
    jenniebee says:

    I’m actually interested in reading Rand just to plumb the depths of stupid awful, but the kindle copies are priced at around 20 bucks which I don’t want to pay and I’m conflicted about asking for it at my local public library. Can one check out books ironically?

  62. 62
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @jenniebee: Yes, but you need a trucker hat and some PBR to carry it off.

  63. 63
    MikeBoyScout says:

    @ 60Roger Moore:

    The sound of one invisible hand clapping is the sound of Atlas Shrugged (Part 1!!) distributor, Rocky Mountain Pictures, writing checks to theaters to cover the difference between receipts and operating expenses. ;-)

  64. 64
    shortstop says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: Rigatoni now lodged in my nose. Medic!

  65. 65
    MikeBoyScout says:

    Question: Will newly announced 3rd time presidential candidate, Rep. Ron Paul, who named his son after Atlas Shrugged author, Alisa Rosenbaum, leverage the movie’s waining popularity into an Objectivist ‘victory’ in the GOP?

  66. 66
    DaddyJ says:

    @jenniebee: What could be more ironic than checking out Atlas Shrugged from a public parasitic library! Consider it 20 bucks well unspent.

  67. 67

    Or you could try the free market solution of buying a cheap used second hand copy. I’m sure there are plenty that were given away by college age objectivists to all their acquaintances and never read. There are probably some heavily used copies from people who grew up enough to realize how idiotic Rand’s ideas are, too.

  68. 68
    Andre says:

    What’s awesome is that this will be taken as proof that libertarianism is completely correct, because most people are just too sheep-like to want to experience the wonder of Rand’s brilliance on the big screen. Only the minority of people with strong wills and clear eyes know the truth.

  69. 69
    Comrade Luke says:

    Rocky Mountain Pictures? Does that mean the Coors family is involved?

  70. 70
    Svensker says:


    The FYWP Borg does not like the names of patented sexy-time drugs, including ones that start with C and ones that start with V, even if they are embedded in other words.

  71. 71
    S. cerevisiae says:

    “Springtime for Galt”

  72. 72

    Atlas Bombed? Atlas Mocked? Atlas Ignored? Atlas needs a friend?

    I remember going to see The Punisher and the theater was almost empty. After seeing the movie, I knew why.

  73. 73
    JonF says:

    @lacp: Probably, but if Mel Gibson could pay for tons of free/discounted tickets for “The Passion” I’m sure that Freedomworks/Randtards could find a few million bucks to buy up tickets with

  74. 74
    MikeBoyScout says:

    @71 S. cerevisiae:

    FTW! Thank-you!

  75. 75
    Left Coast Tom says:

    This movie is clearly too good for us. It should Go Galt.

  76. 76
    gnomedad says:

    Smell the Invisible Glove.
    I don’t know that that means anything; it just popped into my head.

  77. 77
    Comrade Darkness says:

    A real libertarian would simply download the torrent file.

  78. 78

    I’ve been asking for some time why libertarians, for whom the market is the final, god-like oracle of truth, cannot accept the persistent rejection of their ideas in the marketplace of ideas.

  79. 79
    Triassic Sands says:

    I’m just thankful that all the elements came together to result in the right film makers and right actors making the exact film that the original book deserved. Only, deep down, I suspect, in this case, the movie might actually be better than the book.

  80. 80
    Dual Exhaust Toaster says:

    They have enough money to burn to keep preaching the Gospel of Ayn so they will keep doing it.

    Of course the only way to still get people to see it would be if they were forced to in order to watch the movie they actually paid for (Arthur, Rango, Soul Surfer, whatever else is out).

  81. 81
    Dream On says:

    Betcha someone will try again – with a remake. You know, to “tell the story properly”.

    Randians are zombies. You cannot kill their ideas so easily…

  82. 82
    Mouse Tolliver says:

    Atlas producer is going Galt. He says there probably won’t be any sequels.

    “Why should I put up all of that money if the critics are coming in like lemmings?” said Aglialoro, who is chief executive of the exercise equipment manufacturer Cybex. “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.”

  83. 83
    Aaron says:

    just wanted to mention the latest randian POS movie outthere: Arthur. About a spoiled rich kid who doesnt want to work and is being forced to marry to inherit 930 million dollars.
    Now its been remade without lovable nebish Dudley Moore, and liza minelli.
    Clearly he needs a tax cut. He’s not like you lazy people who work for a living. He’s rich and thus better then you.


  84. 84
    Jebediah says:

    @Mouse Tolliver:
    Of course. It’s the critics’ fault! Damn moochers!

  85. 85
    DPirate says:

    @Cat Lady: National Lampoon’s “Atlas Sucked”!

    I smell a hit!

  86. 86
    Nemesis says:

    Free to the next 500 Randians who attend AS Pt 1, an invisible hand job.

  87. 87
    shortstop says:

    @Mouse Tolliver: Going on strike from epic failure. Yeah, that’ll show everybody. They’ll be real sorry then.

  88. 88
    Ash Can says:

    @Mouse Tolliver: That article showed up in this morning’s Chicago Tribune, too. Absolutely classic.

    Gotta love the Randbots. People need to take responsibility for their own actions!!eleventy1 Except when it’s them, and they screw up. Then the blame flies around in every direction, and it’s never their fault. Capitalism is perfection, the ideal. But when free market forces kick them to the curb, it’s because some Rand villains interfered with the machinations of the market. They totally would have made fortunes and been hailed as heroes if not for them, don’tcha know. Because shut up, that’s why.

  89. 89
    JoJo says:

    “How much does anyone want to bet that the Randtards will get some plutocrat to buy up tickets to make it look like a sleeper hit now?”

    But Jon, that would be an altruistic thing to do which would cause a universe destroying paradox.

  90. 90
    Blue Jean says:


    Not if you distribute the DVDs to schools for use as a discipline tool.

    “OK, Buster, either you stop throwing spitballs or I’m going to make you watch “Atlas Shrugged” after school.”
    “No, NO! I’ll be good!”

    Oh, wait…the Constitution forbids cruel and unusual punishment. Never mind.

    Say, maybe the water board guys would be interested…

Comments are closed.