Trivia: Atlas Shrugged

For the novel

For the film

  • Box Office Bomb: All three films were miserable financial failures, with none of them even making back its budget:
    • Part I made US$ 4.6 million on a US$ 20 million budget.
    • Part II made US$ 3.3 million on a US$ 10 million budget
    • Part III made US$ 846 thousand on a US$ 5 million budget.
  • Development Hell: The adaptation was in development hell for about 40 years before a group of filmmakers scraped together enough money to make a relatively faithful three-part adaptation.
    • ... to make a first part of a faithful three-part adaptation. With US$ 20 million budget and US$ 4.7 million revenue after 5 weeks in theaters, the trilogy's future is questionable.
    • Saved from Development Hell: There were two failed attempts in The Seventies to turn it into a Mini Series — the first one fell through when Ayn Rand wasn't able to secure final script approval, while the second one had a finished script (with Rand's approval), written by screenwriting legend Stirling Silliphant (of In the Heat of the Night and Route66 fame), and was gearing up for production at NBC, but that too was halted after Fred Silverman came to power at the network. Rand started work on her own script, but she died with only a third of it finished. The film rights switched hands multiple times in the ensuing decades, and at one point such stars as Angelina Jolie, Brad Pitt, Charlize Theron, Julia Roberts, Anne Hathaway and Russell Crowe were all attached. All of their deals, however, fell through, and the current rights-holders rushed through an independently-financed production in order to prevent the film rights from reverting to the Rand estate. The result, released in 2011 as Atlas Shrugged: Part I, was critically thrashed and went largely ignored even by the conservatives and libertarians that its marketing aggressively courted.
  • Doing It for the Art: Look above you at the critical reception of the film. It's obviously not being done for big bucks. It's for fans and would-be fans of Ayn Rand. Conservative radio host Jack Hunter summed it up with this remark: "Objectively, it is a mediocre movie at best. Subjectively, it is one of the best mediocre movies you’ll ever see"
  • Executive Meddling: the first film flops and they continue on but with an entirely new cast? Someone has a personal interest in this.
  • Hey, It's That Guy!: Paul Larkin is Jimmy Barret! Some scientist (Dr. Potter in the book) is Principal Snyder / Andrew Ryan / Quark!
  • Not Screened for Critics: The second film wasn't screened for critics, instead it was shown for the conservative Heritage Foundation and libertarian Cato Institute. Producer John Aglialaro claimed it was because professional movie critics had dubious integrity. Then the film actually came out and managed to do even worse than its predecessor did even without critics giving it early bad reviews.
  • The Other Darrin: The entire cast changes between all three films. In particular, Dagny Taggart starts out being played by Taylor Schilling in the first film, then is played by Samantha Mathis in the second film, and Laura Regan in the third.