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Sci-Fi The Almighty Buck Entertainment

MST3K Kickstarter Poised To Break Kickstarter Record (kickstarter.com) 104

New submitter the_Bionic_lemming writes: Recently Joel Hodgson, the creator of Mystery Science 3000 -- which had a successful run of over 197 shows -- has after 15 years launched a kickstarter to relaunch the series. In just over two weeks Joel has been wildly successful in not only having over 25000 fans contribute, but actually scoring the second-highest show kickstarter on record — he has just under two weeks to shoot past the Number 1 kickstarter, Veronica Mars.
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MST3K Kickstarter Poised To Break Kickstarter Record

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  • Exploding kittens, a card game raised more than $8,000,000 so unless they more than triple their current backers in 11 days they dont have a chance.

    • Re:Not even close. (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Pseudonymous Powers ( 4097097 ) on Monday November 30, 2015 @10:35AM (#51026255)

      Exploding kittens, a card game raised more than $8,000,000 so unless they more than triple their current backers in 11 days they dont have a chance.

      Exploding Kittens made eight million dollars? Wow. That game is like War without the strategic depth. People basically paid 8 million dollars for the words "Exploding" and "Kittens" and about sixteen doodles of cats.

      If that's all it takes, I too have an idea for a card game Kickstarter. So, the formula seems to be that something bad ("exploding") has to happen to something that most people like ("kittens"). Hmm, okay... how about... um.... Steadily Declining... uh... Grandmas?

      Wait, wait! I know it sounds depressing, but you haven't seen the pictures yet! They're really... well, actually, they're pretty bleak too. Hey, this is harder than it sounds.

      • I'm always desperately confused by Exploding Kittens. Everything I saw in the kickstarter was that it wasn't a fun game. Then when they finally released gameplay videos. I was still lost as to why I would want it. And yet it kept making more and more. But that's a fairly accurate description. "War without the strategic depth". I'm gonna steal that.

        • I'm always desperately confused by Exploding Kittens. Everything I saw in the kickstarter was that it wasn't a fun game. Then when they finally released gameplay videos. I was still lost as to why I would want it. And yet it kept making more and more. But that's a fairly accurate description. "War without the strategic depth". I'm gonna steal that.

          It reminds me a lot of UNO, but even simpler. There's not much strategy or learning curve, so it's good for playing a quick game with people who are new to it.

    • From the summary

      but actually scoring the second-highest show kickstarter on record

      SHOW kickstarter. It's the 2nd highest show kickstarter. Second to Veronica Mars at the moment

      .

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Only because Joss Whedon hasn't done a "firefly" kickstarter !!!

    • Too bad Nathan Fillion is getting too old for a Firefly reboot/re-animation... hmmm... animation, you just need the voices that way....

    • Any hope of reviving Firefly ended when its follow-up movie barely broke $10 million on its opening weekend. Having a few *very vocal* fans is just no substitute for having a large *number* of fans.

      • Any hope of reviving Firefly ended when its follow-up movie barely broke $10 million on its opening weekend. Having a few *very vocal* fans is just no substitute for having a large *number* of fans.

        Firefly is still owned by some mega corporation which will not sell Joss the rights to the name, hence "Serenity." Joss moved on to new projects, as did most of the cast. They've done pretty well for themselves post Firefly. You see, it was a great show, but lives move on. It's pretty likely that Joss will get the folks together again some time for another Firefly project, but right now he's too buys making billion dollar blockbuster movies. Though I wouldn't hold my breath. He's still sitting on Doct

  • $500,000 per episode. Are they setting it in Downton Abbey with the complete cast?
    • by Volanin ( 935080 )

      Actually, as they reported in an update, they are targeting $250,000 per episode:
      https://www.kickstarter.com/pr... [kickstarter.com]

      • by Anonymous Coward

        As was explained in previous stories and on the kickstarter itself the first set of episodes are more expensive due to start-up costs like set building, purchasing cameras and sound equipment, recruiting and hiring crew, etc. Episodes after that will be cheaper.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Dan East ( 318230 )

      As someone else stated, it's $250k per episode. Remember that includes the typical licensing fees they have to pay to essentially re-distribute each film they are lampooning. You don't think they get to broadcast copyrighted movies totally for free do you?

      • by Dan East ( 318230 ) on Monday November 30, 2015 @09:48AM (#51026023) Homepage Journal

        And that got me to thinking... when MST3k first started up, they were totally under the radar and an unknown. They should have been able to buy the rights to crappy B grade sci-fi movies for dirt cheap. These were the kinds of movies small indie TV stations would play at 2 AM and I bet they were practically free to broadcast. MST3k could also claim very low distribution and viewership initially. Now, everyone knows what the show is about, and knows that the number of viewers will be much higher. So I have a hunch the copyright holders of these older movies will try to get much larger licensing fees out of MST3k this time around.

        • by PCM2 ( 4486 )

          So I have a hunch the copyright holders of these older movies will try to get much larger licensing fees out of MST3k this time around.

          Maybe, if they're clueless. Lots of movies that were basically collecting dust have experienced a "revival" from being lampooned on MST3K. For example, Manos, the Hands of Fate is basically a household name among movie geeks these days. If your movie is truly pretty shit and it's not making any money for you, you know the old saying about bad publicity...

        • by Xest ( 935314 )

          I have literally no idea what it's about, I only know that it's suddenly getting spammed to Slashdot like 10 times a week.

          What is it? some American TV show I assume? Have literally never heard of it. Care to enlighten why it's special and what separates it from the billion other shows that exist?

          • Yes, it was an American TV show that began on public Television in Minneapolis Minnesota in 1984.

            Wikipedia has a rather decent article:
            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mystery_Science_Theater_3000

            As to what made it special. Well, that is harder to define. It was in its time, a one of a kind show that a great many of us found funny as hell. If you were to watch it, you would find a portion of the jokes to be relevant to the time, and likely not very funny now. But it was very unique in its time. I still watch t
            • by Creepy ( 93888 )

              It actually appeared first on KTMA channel 23, not public television, which was an independent UHF station. I happened to have strep throat and had to leave the table because I couldn't down food and my mom nixed my request for the ER, saying I could wait until morning that fateful evening, so I watched TV in my room. The TV guide listed it as MST3000 and then Invaders from the Deep, followed by another one called Revenge of the Mysterons from Mars (this one actually caught my eye, but I started watching ab

              • Thanks for the correction. I always thought KTMA was a public station. (I've been to Minneapolis/St Paul many times but never lived there).

                Hehehe, that sounds an awful lot like my first experience with MST3K, minus the illness. It became one of my favorites over the years. I had most of the episodes on VHS, now all but the original 4 on my computer. Got to find a copy of the original pitch video as i understand Joel found a copy. It is the only one that exists that I have never seen.
      • by DrXym ( 126579 )
        Except it isn't 250k per episode. The meter [kickstarter.com] is on 4-6 episodes and the next level unlocks at 4,400,000. So currently it's $550,000 per episode. And even if it reached 5,500,000 then it would be $458,333 per episode.

        So I'm being reasonable in saying $500k. It's a very large sum of money for the show format.

        • Joel covered this in one of the updates. You're failing to account for the campaign fees collected by Kickstarter, credit card processing fees, and the cost of the rewards being offered.

          See here: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/mst3k/bringbackmst3k/posts/1413188 [kickstarter.com]

          "At the end of the day, our goal is to make each feature-length episode of MST3K for around $250,000... And remember: that $250K isn't just to hire our writers, cast and crew, or rent equipment and space. It also includes the cost of LICENSING

          • by DrXym ( 126579 )
            Kickstarter takes 5% and credit cards take a few %. Hard to reconcile why the funds raised are ~$500k to the statement that an episode costs $250k.
            • As per the chart in the link above... You are correct that the 'campaign fees' are a relatively small chunk of the pie. The bulk is taken up by fulfilling the rewards (t-shrits, mugs, and such). They even added a new reward tier that includes only digital items so that donors could have their $$ go more toward the project.
            • by asavage ( 548758 )
              It is exactly broken down in the link in the comment you replied to. Fees and rewards are ~35% or $700K. Fixed costs for production startup including build sets, costumes, etc. is $550K. This leaves $750K for 3 episodes. For the stretch goals they raise $1.1M per 3 episode target but after fees and rewards they have $750K/3 episodes as well.
            • It's not hard at all. Read the link I provided.

    • Getting the rights to use the movies is the big problem. Part of why RiffTrax work so well, you provide the DVD, they provide the "mst3k"ing audio track...

    • by Zocalo ( 252965 )
      How much of the episode money needs to go to the studio who produced the film being reviewed though? I'm guessing that would be the bulk of the expense of producing each show and is something Joel would probably have a good handle on.
      • by DrXym ( 126579 )
        I doubt the licensing costs for showing excerpts from bad movies amounts to a major expense. I'm also sure that MST3K minimize the costs further by selling digital copies of the movie in question from the online store and splitting revenues with the rights holder.
        • by Anonymous Coward

          I doubt the licensing costs for showing excerpts from bad movies amounts to a major expense. I'm also sure that MST3K minimize the costs further by selling digital copies of the movie in question from the online store and splitting revenues with the rights holder.

          Never seen an episode, have you? They don't show excerpts, they show the entire damn movie while ripping on it the entire time.

    • by CastrTroy ( 595695 ) on Monday November 30, 2015 @10:05AM (#51026099) Homepage

      I got a better idea. Create a program that can read the DVD or Blu-Ray (or other video source) and overlay the content on the screen. They don't have to license the content, because they aren't distributing the content. Just distribute the stuff that gets played over top of the original video. I'm not sure how that would really work with respect to copyright laws, but it might be a way around the entire problem.

      • Actually it really wouldn't be all that hard, the app would just need to have transparency on the "screen" area. Then it would be just a matter of moving the app on top of the player window and scaling both to the same size.

        Python would work pretty good.....hmmm, might be a fun little project.

      • Michael J. Nelson has done just that. [rifftrax.com]
      • I got a better idea. Create a program that can read the DVD or Blu-Ray (or other video source) and overlay the content on the screen. They don't have to license the content, because they aren't distributing the content. Just distribute the stuff that gets played over top of the original video. I'm not sure how that would really work with respect to copyright laws, but it might be a way around the entire problem.

        Is this some kind of sarcasm, or do you seriously not know about RiffTrax?

  • Mike Nelson, Kevin Murphy and Bill Corbett aren't involved, so no, thanks.
    • I think it's kind of telling that (when last I checked), Joel was listed as a Kickstarter supporter, but for none of the previous Rifftrax efforts.

      • I think it's foolish to rule out the show just because Mike, Bill and Kevin aren't involved. Maybe the new episodes won't be very good, or maybe they'll be better than ever. Either way, we'll still have Rifftrax. There's room in this world for more than one franchise making fun of bad movies.

        • Foolish? Debatable.

          There's an air of oddness hanging over the proceedings that three (!) of the original players haven't been called in to bat. Those guys DID help make MST3K what it was. If they're being openly snubbed, there's a good chance it will be reflected in the work via noticeable absence.

          Just my two cents, of course.

  • he has just under two weeks to shoot past the Number 1 kickstarter, Veronica Mars.

    The important thing is that no one seems to have learned the lesson that the Mars kickstarter taught, that giving your hard earned money to Hollywood fat cats will enrich them and that promises made to you will be broken.

    • Except Joel Hodgson and Shout! Factory aren't Hollywood fat cats. Shout! has been very good to the show, working to make most of the episodes available for purchase, and they are now re-releasing the Rhino-era episodes which have been out of print for some time. Having secured the intellectual property from Jim Mallon, they are willing to give Joel the kind of control that made MST3K the best TV ever in the first place.

      And Joel... we're still talking about the guy who started the whole franchise with a sk

  • Just wanted to point out that, even though they're raising a lot relative to kickstarter standards, they still need a lot of money to make their funding goal of 5.5 mil. I pledged because I loved that show. Hope other people consider doing so as well.

1 Sagan = Billions & Billions

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