"Atlas Shrugged" Kickstarter producer: "So much of what Ayn Rand believed was liberal"

The producer and CEO John Aglialoro speaks to Salon about why he's asking Ayn Rand fans for money he doesn't need

Published September 27, 2013 4:35PM (EDT)

     (The Strike Productions)
(The Strike Productions)

The "Atlas Shrugged" trilogy is to be completed with "Atlas Shrugged: Who is John Galt?," a project getting funded by Kickstarter.

Well, not exactly.

Speaking to Salon, producer and Cybex CEO John Aglialoro acknowledged, as he has elsewhere, that he already has the budget to make the film happen -- it's to be a $10 million production, even though the first two "Atlas Shrugged" films have falled far short of that number at the box office. "This has a psychic value to people," said Aglialoro, who said that he was allowing people the opportunity to give money to something they are passionate about, rather than soliciting money. "I bought the rights to the book in August of 1992," he said, "and over 20 years, I've gotten not dozens, but hundreds, of checks and pleas to invest. I return the checks and say 'Thank you for your interest.'

"I'm giving people what they wanted, which is to be a part of the experience of this movie."

Despite what Aglialoro portrays as the interest in investing in "Atlas Shrugged," the franchise has thus far underperformed, with neither installment making even half of the new film's $10 million budget at the box office. (Aglialoro estimated that the first two films had, between them, a $30 million budget; they made, respectively, $4.6 million and $3.3 million.) Citing press coverage in the financial press -- "Forbes, Barron's" -- Aglialoro had been surprised at the first film's fizzling out at the box office. "I thought it'd do better than what it did."

"The box office is dismal," said Aglialoro. "If you put in a dollar and get back 25 cents, from an investor's point of view, one would not triple up on a business if those are the results. But this is a commitment I made to myself to get this thing done. I never thought the financials would be this bad, but it's not strictly a business transaction. This is the business of the heart."

Aglialoro indicated that he hoped liberals would, eventually, come around to the book, and to the film franchise. "I'd like to speak to the MSNBC crowd," he said. "So much of what Ayn Rand believed was liberal -- gay rights, and she thought the drug policy was a total disaster. She hated the Vietnam War. I'm waiting for the left to come to me and say, 'I hate that woman -- but I love her social issues.'"

There are 25 days to go in the Kickstarter campaign that will have no bearing over whether the third "Atlas Shrugged" film gets made; it has already raised over $150,000 of its $250,000 goal.

By Daniel D'Addario

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Atlas Shrugged Ayn Rand John Aglialoro John Galt