Since its release 10 days ago, some conservative writers have done their best to portray the Atlas Shrugged movie as a runaway box office success.
For example, have a look at this post on the Washington Times site by conservative Bill Kelly about how "fervent fans of Ayn Rand - or Randians as they are called - have been packing theaters where the film is being shown."
According to Kelly, the movie's "box office success stuns liberal Hollywood" and serves as evidence that Rand's story "may be resonating more than ever before and that can't be sitting well with Hollywood progressives." The fact that the movie was "racking up dollar signs" supposedly stood to defy "Hollywood's best efforts to keep the movie down." In your faces, liberals.
Articles last week touting the movie's success were a bit hyperbolic. While the film's opening weekend gross was mild, writers like Kelly touted the film's $5,640 per screen average as an impressive achievement and hyped the fact that the film would be rolling into more theaters soon.
So how'd the second weekend go? Poorly.
After adding 166 screens around the country (bringing the total to 465 screens in the U.S.), the film's gross plummeted almost 48%, and the per-screen average sank to an estimated $1,890. By comparison, it barely edged out Jane Eyre in total gross -- and lost badly in per-screen average -- though Jane Eyre is in its 7th week of release. Curiously, I haven't seen many conservatives suggesting a groundswell of grassroots fervor for the works of Charlotte Bronte.
As David Weigel explains at Slate, "there's no new audience discovering the film," and "a buzz -building small film doesn't fall off from week to week."
How are conservative sites responding to the apparent collapse of Atlas Shrugged? If Fox Nation is any indication: by ignoring the terrible second weekend and promoting outdated articles from last week about the movie's "Box Office Power."
The story, posted this morning, goes to a report by the Hollywood Reporter's Paul Bond from last week (before the movie cratered this weekend) about how the success of the movie surprised Hollywood execs "considering its 'awful' marketing plan."
As of this writing, the film has grossed just over $3 million, compared to a reported production cost of about $20 million.