If a bad documentary, full of conjecture and manipulation, attacking President Barack Obama, can make more than $30 million at the box office, does it mean that a bad narrative film attacking President Barack Obama's domestic policies–i.e. the second installment of the "Atlas Shrugged" trilogy–will be able to follow suit? If you remember, last year, the first adaptation of the Ayn Rand book was released with much media speculation surrounding it–I interviewed the producers for the Wall Street Journal Online–but then the film flamed out at the box office in its second weekend, dropping a considerable 47.8% even after adding 166 theaters.
On October 12, the producers will release part II of the "Atlas" saga, with some more high profile stars, reports Slate, and the hopes that Tea Party activists and other sundry Ayn Rand and G.O.P. VP candidate Paul Ryan supporters will seek out the film.
“The effect of Romney choosing Paul Ryan was bringing Ayn Rand back into the news,” one of the producers told Slate, referring to Ryan's respect for the pro-capitalist, pro-CEO author. “From our perspective, promoting this movie, we need to connect the dots for someone who’s interested in economics, get him or her interested in the film.”
I think it could work, particularly wth the conservative energy in the air that has catapulted "2016: Obama's America" into the documentary sales record-books. But I also think box-office and political pundits need to be wary–once again–of equating ticket sales with political will.
Yes, there are a sizable number of Americans who believe government-funded programs like Medicare, food stamps, and um, fire departments, are bad for the country, and they make look to "Atlas Shrugged" in greater numbers for a confirmation of their libertarian beliefs. But like any niche audience that independent films cater to, they will remain just that: a niche audience.