Atlas Shrugged, Part 2, will shortly go into production, The Atlas Society announced yesterday. It will release in October of 2012—squarely in the middle of the election campaign. The timing could affect the dynamics of the campaign and the movie’s box-office receipts.
Latest Atlas Shrugged announcement
The Atlas Society announced on February 2 (Ayn Rand’s birthday) that Atlas Shrugged, Part 2got the last of its funding. Shooting will start in April of 2012, and will take place in Los Angeles, New York City, and Colorado.
The first hardcover edition of Atlas Shrugged. Photo: Random House Publishers, 1957.
The film will tell the events of the second part (“Either-or”) of the original novel. Those scenes take place largely in New York City and Philadelphia, with a brief scene in up-State New York. But the novel also has more action-adventure-oriented scenes. Two of them:
A notorious buccaneer (Ragnar Danneskjöld) lays on a sea raid on a coastal steel mill. This would in real life be the first such raid on a North or South American coastline in well over two centuries.
A horrifying train wreck and explosion kills over 300 people and seals off a major railway tunnel.
In addition, Dagny Taggart, the main heroine of the saga, will try to follow the elusive John Galt into a boulder-strewn valley in the Rocky Mountains. In the process she will lose power and go into a tailspin. That is how the original second part ends.
The Atlas Society seems to feel that Part 1 had too small a budget and only word-of-mouth promotion. So this time they have raised a million dollars for promotion alone. They also plan a summer seminar to get the message out early and further drive up viewership. Rumors, furthermore, say that the producers have re-cast every role.
Electioneering in the movies?
The timing of the latest Atlas Shrugged release is no accident: October of 2012. The Republican National Convention will be not much more than a month past by then. Perhaps, if not for the decision of the US Supreme Court in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, a court might have ordered Atlas Productions to delay release until mid-November. (That might seem appropriate, actually. Henry Rearden, the other major hero, must stand an administrative-court trial on a date shortly after Thanksgiving in that year.)
The critics are already trying to downplay the timing of an election-year Atlas Shrugged release. That act alone shows how much they fear it. As well they should, because Atlas Shrugged finds many parallels today. In 2008, the American people elected “Mr. Thompson” in Barack H. Obama. He in turn appointed “Wesley Mouch” in Cass Sunstein, and “Floyd Ferris” (or maybe “Robert Stadler”) in John Holdren, He also befriended “James Taggart” in either Warren Buffet or Jeffrey Immelt, and has plenty of “Orren Boyles” as the CEOs of Solyndra and other such companies. Furthermore, this installment of Atlas Shrugged treats the most outrageous violation of human liberty in the entire novel: the release of Directive 10-289. This “Executive Order” freezes hiring and wages, and confiscates intellectual property in all but name.
Any movie that treats these personalities and subjects cannot fail to be an electioneering project. If the novel Atlas Shrugged did not have an original release date of 1957, it might as well have the title Barack Obama: The Movie (like Hillary: The Movie, the original project of Citizens United that started all its legal troubles). If Atlas Productions casts a black actor as Mr. Thompson (as they did originally for Eddie Willers), no one will be able to miss the metaphor. And then the complaints about Citizens United will start anew, and people will flock to this movie if only to see what the fuss is about. A professional public-relations consultant couldn’t manage this pre-release campaign better.
In sum, Atlas Shrugged, Part 2 promises to have many people breathlessly waiting to see it. Now Atlas Productions must see that they do not disappoint these viewers.