Atlas Shrugged: Part 1
Rated PG-13 for a scene of sexual content
Length: 102 minutes
Released: April 15, 2011 Limited
Cast: Taylor Schilling, Edi Gathegi, Paul Johansson, Michael O'Keefe, Matthew Marsden
Director: Paul Johansson
Producer: Harmon Kaslow
Writer: Ayn Rand
Distributor: Rocky Mountain Pictures
9118 Strada Place, Naples, FL
Where is John Galt?
In Naples on April 15, as it turns out.
With a determination worthy of Dagny Taggart, Amy Schiffer has seen to it.
Schiffer, marketing specialist for Silverspot cinema at The Mercato, made it her mission to get the film “Atlas Shrugged” shown in Naples on April 15, the day of its limited national release.
The film, based on the 1957 novel by Ayn Rand, is more than just another independent film with a modest budget looking for an audience.
The politically charged nature of Rand’s work, which celebrates the supremacy of the individual over the collective, gives it a ready-made fan base anxious to see if filmmakers Harmon Kaslow and John Aglialoro managed to compress the voluminous book into a watchable movie.
It also guarantees a set of detractors, both from the political left where Rand is dismissed as a extremist, a crackpot or both, and from the right, where her books and their core philosophy are so revered almost anything bearing their name is bound to disappoint.
Atlas shrugged is the story of Taggart, a railroad executive, and Henry Reardon, a steelmaker, who battle to build a better railroad in spite of the efforts of a cabal of competitors and politicians determined to rein in their efforts and siphon their profits. All the while, gifted people from diverse fields disappear and the mysterious Galt seems to be everywhere and nowhere at the same time. The novel runs for more than 1,000 pages. The filmmakers’ product is just 102 minutes long, largely because they only recount the first third of the book. Whether the rest of the story ever gets told on screen will depend on how well the first installment is received.
Conservatively inclined Collier County has the makings of a receptive market.
The tea party movement, which has a strong presence here, embodies many of Rand’s ideas.
There is a ready-made fan club, the Ayn Rand Society for Individual Rights of Naples, clamoring for the film to be shown.
Jim Smith, co-founder of the group, said he hadn’t had any luck getting local theaters to commit having “Atlas Shrugged,” on April 15 or even to bringing it in later. “I’m in the dark,” he said last week.
But once Schiffer heard an underlying buzz of interest in “Atlas Shrugged,” she set about getting it. “There’s a lot of interest. I’m going for it,” she said Friday.
On Monday, her efforts paid off. “My cinema manager just told me we’re getting an exclusive for opening weekend,” she said.
According to the movie’s web site, seven Florida theaters, all in the Miami-Fort Lauderdale area, have scheduled showings for April 15.
Normally limited release mean only big cities. But Naples’ reputation as a conservative bastion and the success Silverspot’s had with other independent films may have prompted distributors to include Naples in the premiere week. “The fact that they’re opening this to Naples is huge,” Schiffer said.
As an independent film with a budget reported around $10 million, “Atlas Shrugged” won’t be initially distributed as widely as a major motion picture would be, Schiffer explained.
As opposed to the digital format employed by the big studios, “Atlas Shrugged” will likely be distributed on an old-fashioned movie reel. There aren’t as many physical copies as there would be otherwise and simply getting the movie from one place to another can be expensive. “Just shipping can be $1,500,” she said.
But she’s glad for the theater. “Waiting for Superman,” an independent documentary on the travails of the public education system, recently completed a successful run at Silverspot.
Being the only Florida theater outside the Dade-Broward corridor to premier Atlas Shrugged represents a feather in the theater’s proverbial director’s cap. Advance ticket sales will begin soon, she promised.
“I’m very happy,” Schiffer said.
Contact Brent Batten at naplesnews.com/staff/brent_batten