It was a great weekend for Ed Snider, CEO of Comcast-Spectacor which owns the Flyers and the 76ers....on the hardwood and on the ice, where the two Philly franchises avoided playoff elimination in dramatic come-from-behind fashion.
At the box office? Not so much.
Snider, a long-time enthusiast for the iconic libertarian author Ayn Rand, is listed as executive producer of the long-(and I mean long, as the book was published in 1957) awaited movie version of Rand's masterwork, "Atlas Shrugged -- Part One."
It turned out that...America shrugged:
After a middling performance during its opening weekend that was hyped in some quarters (i.e., The Hollywood Reporter), the per-screen average for this amateurish Ayn Rand adaptation (even Kyle could only muster 2.5 stars' worth of enthusiasm for the movie, though he liked its message) plunged to an alarming $1,890 from $5,640 during its opening frame. Overall, the weekend's take was a scant $879,000 -- a whopping 48 percent drop despite adding 166 locations. Which certainly suggest they're running out of audience quick.
That means that at some locations, distributor Rocky Mountain Pictures will be writing checks to theaters to cover the difference between receipts and operating expenses. The only way they're likely to get the 1,000 screens the producers say they want next weekend is to rent them. And, as Kyle put it at his personal blog, "Whether the sequels get made is purely a matter of how much desire the producers have for losing money.''
Sequels? That's right -- there are supposed to be two more of these things. The idea was that with conservative bloggers and your Tea Party Movement on board with Rand's message (in so many words, greed is good), "Shrugged" would be a word-of-mouth hit, kind of like Mel Gibson's "The Passion of the Christ." (Unfortunately, Mr. Gibson was, um, unavailablefor the cast, as was purported Randian Angelina Jolie).
That said, even critics of Ed Snider's right-wing politics cannot deny that the man is a shrewd businessman. He claims that he didn't put up any of his own hard-earned cash for the movie, but he earned the executive producer title merely by introducing another Phiiladelphia-area CEO, John Aglialoro of exercise equipment maker Cybex, to other backers of the film. Aglialoro may not be as shrewd as Snider, as he reportedly sunk $20 million into the firm, which so far has grossed just $3 million, according to Box Office Mojo. (Did Snider and Aglialoro not realize that the "we can make more money with a flop than with a hit" thing only works in fiction?)
If nothing else, the release of the Rand flick has given Snider a new chance to spout his bizarre political ideas, including a) the 2008 financial crisis was caused by poor people and by bankers but mainly by poor people and b) bankers aren'r really capitalists like him, so they don't count anyway.
No, really, that's what he said:
After the financial crisis of 2008, Rand's most famous acolyte, former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan, slightly backed away from her philosophy. Snider disagrees with his Greenspan's interpretation of the financial crisis. "The crisis simply verified that she has always been right. The government was passing regulations that were enticing people who could not afford it to buy a home," asserted Snider.
He maintained, "The crisis was caused by bankers. Bankers are not capitalists. They lend to capitalists."
Snider bemoans that" the United States is now a mixture of capitalism and socialism." He still believes in capitalism. He said, "Capitalists build up business so that they can give weaker members of society jobs."
We used to call these bedrock folks "the middle class," before they became the "weaker members of society." They also used to be called "Philadelphia Flyers' fans." in Ed Snider's defense, those "weaker members of society" haven't been able to actually afford tickets to a Flyers' game since about 1977, so he doesn't really know any middle class folks, at this point.
Anyway, if you rooted for sports based on politics, tonight's dramatic Game 7 showdown between the Flyers and the Buffalo Sabres is a liberal's nightmare -- Snider's skaters versus the team owned by Gov. Tom Corbett's largest campaign contributor, fracking billionaire Terry Pegula.
Luckily, I learned to divorce my politics from my sports a long time ago, and so should you.