Life Imitates Art: A number of Soviet dissidents did take menial jobs, writing in their spare time. Because they were critical of the government, the Soviets wouldn't hire them as writers. Refusing to work was considered "social parasitism" and a serious crime on the Soviet Union.
Out of the heroes' camp, Taggart, Rearden, Mulligan and Galt are names of Scots-Irish extraction, just as their opponents Ferris, Kinnan, Chalmers and Boyle. Ethnicities associated in popular culture with business and politics (Jews, like Ayn Rand herself, and others) are nonexistent.
Technology Marches On: A "super-color-four-foot-screen television set" is mentioned as being "erected" in a public park like it was some sort of monument; today you can get one for a few hundred dollars and mount it on your wall in an hour or so.
Write What You Know: Rand describes the Scenery Gorn of the debilitated Crapsack World as it slowly collapses around Dagny and Rearden's ears, she's describing the many failed states of the Soviet Union she personally saw before she immigrated to America;
The road ended abruptly behind the turn of a hill. What remained was a few chunks of concrete sticking out of a long, pitted stretch of tar and mud. The concrete had been smashed by someone and carted away; even weeds could not grow in the strip of earth left behind. On the crest of a distant hill, a single telegraph pole stood slanted against the sky, like a cross over a vast grave. It took them three hours and a punctured tire to crawl in low gear through trackless soft, through gullies, then down ruts left by cart wheelsto reach the settlement that lay in the valley beyond the hill with the telegraph pole. A few houses still stood within the skeleton of what had once been an industrial town. Everything that could move, had moved away; but some human beings had remained. The empty structures were vertical rubble; they had been eaten, not by time, but by men: boards torn out at random, missing patches of roofs, holes left in gutted cellars. It looked as if blind hands had seized whatever fitted the need of the moment, with no concept of remaining in existence the next morning. The inhabited houses were scattered at random among the ruins; the smoke of their chimneys was the only movement visible in town. A shell of concrete, which had been a schoolhouse, stood on the outskirts; it looked like a skull, with the empty sockets of glassless windows, with a few strands of hair still clinging to it, in the shape of broken wires.
For the film
Ashcan Copy: Millionaire investor John Aglialoro bought an 18-year long option on the book, and tried to pitch it to various studios throughout the 90s and the 00s. With his options set to expire, Aglialoro sunk much of his personal fortune in financing the first installment in the hopes of a higher budget for the next installments. It didn't work out the way he wanted to.
Box Office Bomb: All three films were miserable financial failures, with none of them even making back their budgets despite the budgets for each continually being slashed in half:
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.
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 youll 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.
Meaningful Release Date: The first installment came out on Tax Day in the US, while the second installment came out near the 2012 elections.
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.
Undermined by Reality: The creators resorted to Kickstarter to get the necessary funds for the third part. This, of course, goes against the book's message that you should rely on your own talents for success instead of accepting help from others.