'Atlas Shrugged Part 3' to Hit Theaters Summer 2014

"Atlas Shrugged II"

Atlas Shrugged: Part II could generate the greatest returns. It premiered in Washington on Oct. 2 and screens Oct. 4 in Los Angeles for "influencers" -- columnists, talk-radio hosts, etc. 

Producers John Aglialoro and Harmon Kaslow have greenlit the third installment, which will be written by Duncan Scott and Brian O'Toole.

The producers of the first two installments of Atlas Shrugged just won't quit.

Despite the failure of Atlas Shrugged Part 1 and Atlas Shrugged Part 2, which took in a combined $8 million at the domestic box office, producers John Aglialoro and Harmon Kaslow have greenlit the third installment of their trilogy, the pair said Tuesday.

Atlas Shrugged Part 3 will be written by Duncan Scott and Brian O'Toole, and no director or major cast member is yet attached. Decades ago, Scott helped Atlas Shrugged author Ayn Rand restore and recut her 1942 film, We the Living.

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With the Atlas Shrugged trilogy, the filmmakers were hoping to score box-office coin from those sympathetic to the Tea Party political movement, given the story's libertarian, free-market themes. While the movies earned lots of buzz in such circles, few people actually saw them in theaters, though the films have seen a modicum of success in the home-entertainment market, insiders say.

Atlas Shrugged Part 3 takes place in a dystopian U.S. where government regulation and high taxes have stifled the economy. Bureaucrats blame society's ills on those who are most successful, so the hard-working entrepreneurs participate in a bizarre "strike," orchestrated -- perhaps -- by a mysterious figure known as "John Galt."

"The message of Atlas Shrugged is far greater than any particular political movement and our intention is to convey that message as clearly as possible," Kaslow tells The Hollywood Reporter. "We are ultimately confident that we're going to have absolutely no direct impact on the looters already entrenched in Washington. We are however equally as confident that if we let Atlas speak for itself, we can have an impact on the voters that put them there."

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Production and marketing budgets for the first two films were between $10 million-$20 million apiece, and the third will be made and marketed for less than $10 million.

Kaslow said Atlas Distribution Co., set up to distribute the second film, will also distribute the third, though they'll focus on only the 150 markets where the first two installments did best. The first movie was distributed by Rocky Mountain Pictures.

In Part 2, directed by John Putch, Samantha Mathis played Dagny Taggart while Jason Beghe was Henry Rearden and Esai Morales was Francisco d'Anconia. Part 1 was directed by Paul Johansson with Taylor Schilling as Taggart and Grant Bowler as Rearden.

As with the first two films, Part 3 will hit theaters at a politically advantageous time -- summer of 2014, just ahead of the midterm elections. Part 1 was released on April 15, tax day, 2011, and Part 2 opened in October, 2012, just ahead of the November presidential election.

Email: Paul.Bond@THR.com