- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 14, 2013

OK, but even if some capitalists — like, say, the Republican-leaning ones — have ideological agendas, that doesn’t mean they all do. Some capitalists do remain unencumbered by any ideological baggage that might deflect them from their undeviating course of profit-maximization. And your Hollywood capitalist would be of this type, a more pure strain of capitalist — almost, you might even say, a Randian. Pervaded as Hollywood is by near-Randians, it will, naturally, surprise some that it ultimately fell to an outsider — fellow by the name of John Aglialoro, a fitness equipment executive without a prior film credit to his name — to bring Ayn Rand’s own defining work “Atlas Shrugged” to the screen independently, after his efforts to secure backing for the project within Hollywood fell short after 20 years, a span which perhaps gives some idea of the sheer numbers of interested prospective collaborators a patient Mr. Aglialoro must have had to work his way through — Hollywood Randians, perhaps, who felt called by Rand’s powerful source material but couldn’t quite commit in the end to throwing themselves into the great work of producing the first screen adaptation of her enduringly popular literary monument to the spirit of free enterprise.

If this line of reasoning doesn’t ring entirely true, well, it may be that we are here faced with yet another insoluble paradox of the kind that bedevils decision-makers in today’s entertainment industry. At least there is one constant amidst the uncertainties that plague the industry: The business culture of Hollwyood is inveterately imitative, a milieu in which nothing worth making isn’t worth remaking, then being milked for, oh, V or VI sequels, then shamelessly ripped off by competitors, before — finally — being rebooted as an origins saga in prequel Parts -I through -III.

Some of the best minds in Hollywood may already be at work wrestling with the knotty conundrum of why the breakout success of “The Bible” will not have opened the floodgates to a tide of copycat biblical dramas engulfing the primetime schedules of the Big 4 networks — and I can tell you I don’t envy them.