“Atlas Shrugged: Part 2” sets release date, hires team of seasoned marketing execs

Promotional photography for "Atlas Shrugged: Part 2"When producer Harmon Kaslow announced that plans to make an “Atlas Shrugged” trilogy would continue in spite of the first film grossing a paltry $4.6 million at the domestic box office (against a $20m budget), the news was met with a great degree of surprise. But now that the sequel is in the can and more details are emerging, it’s clear that Kaslow and company are doubling down on the Ayn Rand adaptation.

“Atlas Shrugged: Part 2” will be released on October 12, with a proper amount of print and broadcast advertising, contrary to the approach used to promote its predecessor, which relied mostly on word-of-mouth and endorsements from conservative commentators.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, the production will announce today that it has hired Bill Lewis to run U.S. theatrical distribution and Russell Schwartz to oversee marketing efforts. Lewis was previously an executive V.P. and general sales manager for Summit Entertainment, where he was charged with the domestic release of the “Twilight” saga. Schwartz is formerly of New Line Cinema, where he managed marketing for “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy.

The production costs on “Atlas Shrugged: Part 2” were reportedly $5 million less than the first film, perhaps to free up the extra money to market. According to THR, producer Kaslow says they will spend 10 times more money on the P&A for this one.

Artistically, the most notable change for the sequel will be actress Samantha Mathis replacing Taylor Schilling in the lead role of Dagny Taggart. Schilling has since become a hot commodity in Hollywood, most recently starring opposite Zac Efron in the hit Nicholas Sparks adaptation “The Lucky One.” The director’s chair has also changed hands from Paul Johansson to John Putch.