Shout! Factory Gets MSTied

The ‘bots are on the move again! After being relaunched as animated characters for the new MST3K.com in November 2007, now Tom Servo, Crow T. Robot, and Gypsy make the move from longtime home video distributor Rhino to Shout! Factory, it was announced by Shout! Factory President Garson Foos.

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Under the terms of the multi-year agreement, Shout! Factory will be the exclusive worldwide home entertainment and digital media distributor for Mystery Science Theater 3000 branded properties, which include a vast library of original episodes that have never-been-available on DVD or for digital download.

Mystery Science Theater 3000 is a true cult-classic series. Its high-camp rendition of B-movies to the small screen makes it one of the most memorable pop culture shows of our time,” said Foos. “MST3K lines up perfectly with Shout! Factory brand. We’re thrilled to work with Jim to further the legend of MST3K on DVD and in the digital marketplace.”“We are thrilled to be at Shout! Factory. It is a really a great fit for Mystery Science Theater 3000,” said Jim Mallon, President of Best Brains, Inc. and a producer/director/writer of MST3K. “Shout! Factory totally gets the world of MST3K and has shown great respect for Joel, Mike, the Mads and the quirky little bots. They have already issued us lockers. We look forward to great new releases ahead.”

Fans have already begun speculation as to whether this could lead to an eventual revival of MST3K as a direct-to-DVD series. Shout! Factory released four titles in 2007 under the banner of The Film Crew, comprised of MST3K alumni Michael J. Nelson, Kevin Murphy, and Bill Corbett. The trio provided commentary tracks for films chosen by their eccentric billionaire boss, Bob Honcho. Nelson, Murphy, and Corbett also provide downloadable film commentaries for Legend Films’ RiffTrax.com, sometimes joined by other MST3K stars or special guests. 

Mystery Science Theater 3000 originally aired on KTMA-TV in 1988, then ran seven seasons on Comedy Central. In 1997 it moved to Sci-Fi Channel, where it lasted three more years. The series featured a lone human (originally series creator Joel Hodgson, then head writer Nelson) and his two robot companions, forced to watch bad movies aboard a satellite by a pair of mad scientists. During the films, the trio would make wisecracks about how bad the films are (known as “riffing”). The series spawned a feature film in 1996, which infamously riffed the sci-fi classic THIS ISLAND EARTH.

In late 2007, Hodgson launched yet another movie-riffing enterprise, Cinematic Titanic. Joining him in the venture are MST3K original cast members Frank Conniff (TV’s Frank), Trace Beaulieu (Dr. Clayton Forrester and Crow), Mary Jo Pehl (Mrs. Pearl Forrester), and Josh Elvis Weinstein (Dr. Laurence Erhardt and Tom Servo). Their debut offering is THE OOZING SKULL, a re-edited version of 1972’s BRAIN OF BLOOD.

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About the Author

Dan Cziraky

DAN CZIRAKY’s interest in science-fiction and horror began at an early age. He remembers seeing 1931’s DRACULA on TV when he was only three years old! He fondly remembers watching original, first-run episodes of STAR TREK, DARK SHADOWS, and KOLCHAK: THE NIGHT STALKER. Cziraky has amassed a vast collection of science-fiction, horror, fantasy, and mystery books and videos. He has turned this knowledge into a career as a horror/sci-fi movie expert, writing reviews and articles for Cinefantastique, Imagi-Movies, Toxic Horror, The Phantom of the Movies’ VideoScope, HORROR: The Newsmagazine of the Horror & Dark Fantasy Fields, Anime-Fantastique, Castle Rock: The Official Stephen King Newsletter, Femme Fatales, Visions, Draculina, Dark Muse, SPFX, Horror Biz, and Scream Queens Illustrated. He was a member of the Joe Bob Briggs Board of Drive-In Experts: Horror Committee, from 1995-97. He was a columnist and critic for both Fandom.com and Cinescape Online. He also writes STAR WARS action figure reviews for swCollector.com and "The Grumpy Old Toy Collector" column for BanthaSkull.com. Today, Cziraky makes his home in North Carolina.

5 Responses to “ Shout! Factory Gets MSTied ”

  1. This is great news! But what I’d REALLY like to see happen would be bringing back all the original characters and scripters from the original MST3K — basically having Joel and the ‘bots in front of the screen, riffing away, with Mike Nelson doing some major writing for the show, and maybe some appearances. Mike was great at doing impersonations of some of the characters in the movies being lampooned, Joel was great at delivering lines with the ‘bots. Joel and Mike worked best as a team. If they expressed an interest in getting back together again, I bet Comedy Central or similar channel would love to have them back again!

  2. As good as MST3K is, it sadly never attracted a large enough audience to sustain itself. At Sci-Fi, it attracted the exact same ratings as just airing regular movies. When you factored in the cost of the show itself, in addition to the cost of securing the films for it, it ended up being too expensive. There was a time when networks used to offset the costs of “underproducing shows” with their huge profits from sporting events (football, baseball, etc), hit series, etc. In today’s broadcast environment, every show either pulls its own weight, or it gets canned quickly. NBC allowed “Seinfeld” and “Friends” time to build their audiences: it took “Seinfeld” two full seasons to attract a large audience, and wasn’t really a “hit” until season three. That just doesn’t happen anymore, unless you get a huge film star to headline a series.

  3. The thing is, compared to most series, the cost of the show must have been negligible. ‘Tis a pity the original sets have now been demolished. That seemed like an unnecessary move on the SciFi channel’s part (surely just to keep the show from moving to another network?).

  4. I think Sci Fi Channel was short-sighted with their calculations of MST3K’s ratings. Sure it may have generated the same numbers as a regular airing of the movie, but it probably drew a completely different set of eyeballs.

  5. I just ordered Cinematic Titanic (Brain of Blood)and can’t wait to see it – the trailer looks great. It sure will be nice to hear Joel commenting away….. his delivery is fantastic. I’m hoping Cinematic Titanic goes a long way; maybe getting back onto Comedy Central or some such thing?