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Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Movie

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Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Movie

Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Movie
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Jim Mallon
Produced by Jim Mallon
Screenplay by Jim Mallon
Michael J. Nelson
Trace Beaulieu
Kevin Murphy
Mary Jo Pehl
Paul Chaplin
Bridget Jones
Based on Mystery Science Theater 3000 
by Joel Hodgson
Starring Michael J. Nelson
Trace Beaulieu
Kevin Murphy
Jim Mallon
Music by Billy Barber
Cinematography Jeff Stonehouse
Edited by Bill Johnson
Distributed by Gramercy Pictures
Universal Pictures
Release dates
  • April 19, 1996 (1996-04-19)
Running time 75 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Box office $1,007,306[1]

Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Movie is a 1996 film adaptation of the television series Mystery Science Theater 3000, produced and set between seasons 6 and 7 of the show. It was distributed by Gramercy Pictures[1] and produced by Best Brains and Universal Studios.


For the plot of the film-within-the-film, see This Island Earth

The film opens with mad scientist Dr. Clayton Forrester, working from an underground laboratory, explaining the premise of the film (and associated TV series). Mike Nelson and the robots Crow T. Robot, and Tom Servo, along with Gypsy, are aboard the Satellite of Love high in Earth's orbit, when Dr. Forrester forces them to watch the film This Island Earth to break their wills; as per the television show, Mike, Crow, and Tom make fun of the movie as it airs.

The movie riffing scenes are bookended and interspersed with short sketches. Prior to the movie, Crow attempts to dig through the ship's hull to return to Earth. After the filmstrip breaks and Dr. Forrester reloads it, Crow and Tom dare Mike to drive the Satellite himself, but ends up crashing into the Hubble Space Telescope; Mike then tries to repair the Hubble using the Satellite's manipulator arms, MANOS, but instead further damages the unit before Gypsy takes over. Some time into the film, Tom reveals that he has an interocitor like that used in This Island Earth. The gang tries to use Tom's device to return to Earth, but instead contact a Metalunan (the alien race from the film) who is unable to help them to figure out how to use it correctly but does accidentally repeatedly zap Tom's head with a laser beam. The contact is broken by Dr. Forrester, who also has an interocitor, and he zaps the group to encourage them back to the movie theater.

After the movie, Mike, Crow, and Tom are far from broken, celebrating in various Metaluna ways. Dr. Forrester, furious at his failure, attempts to use his own interocitor to harm Mike and the others, but only succeeds in transporting himself into the shower of the Metalunan previously seen. Mike and the robots briefly celebrate Dr. Forrester's disappearance before they realize they no longer have a way back to Earth without him. Mike says "Hey, wait a minute!" and the crew head back to the theater in time for the movie's ending credits.



MST3K: The Movie was filmed away from the Best Brains corporate headquarters and studio in Eden Prairie, Minnesota, at Energy Park Studios in St. Paul.[2]

Deleted scenes
  • At the beginning of the film, it was originally planned to have a new version of the "MST3K Love Theme" by Dave Alvin, but the song was reduced to an instrumental version over the end credits.
  • To trim the film's duration, Gramercy ordered one of the host segments to be cut. In this scene, Mike and the bots hide out in the ship's storm shelter to avoid a meteor shower. The barrage of meteors threatens to damage the ship's oxygen supply, and Crow, Servo, and Gypsy rush to save Mike's life.
  • The ending was also changed – originally, the movie's final moments depicted Mike and the bots exacting revenge on Dr. Forrester by hooking up Servo's interocitor to the video feed from the Hexfield Viewscreen and sending a Metalunan mutant (played by MST3K prop man and toolmaster Jef Maynard) to strangle the mad scientist. At the end, Crow goes back to the basement to plan another escape attempt, this time armed with the chainsaw that he found in Servo's room earlier in the film.
  • The new theme song, cut scene, and alternate ending were shown at the "Mystery Science Theater 3000 ConventioCon ExpoFest-O-Rama 2: Electric Bugaloo" in 1996, but were not included on home media releases until the Shout! Factory Collector's Edition.


Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Movie was released on April 19, 1996. At its widest point of its North American theatrical release Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Movie was shown in 26 cinemas.[1]

Box office

In its opening weekend MST3K: The Movie grossed $206,328. and in its second weekend it grossed, $110,620. It went on to gross $1,007,306.[1]

Critical reception

Reviews were mostly positive, currently holding an 80% rating on the film-critics aggregate site Rotten Tomatoes based on 54 reviews; the consensus states: "Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Movie may be thin and uneven, but it's hilarious in enough of the right spots to do the show's big-screen transition justice."[3]

Home media

Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Movie was released on VHS by MCA/Universal Home Video to rental outlets on October 1, 1996. The film was released for retail sales on April 8, 1997 on both VHS and Laserdisc formats. MST3K: The Movie was released on DVD in 1998 by Image Entertainment, as a discount title with an MSRP of $14.99.

Universal rereleased the DVD on May 6, 2008. The film is in anamorphic widescreen, and includes an upgraded Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack, and English subtitles, a first for an MST3K DVD.

It was announced on June 7, 2013 that Shout! Factory would be releasing The Movie on a Blu-ray/DVD combo pack Collector's Edition. This release included, for the first time, the deleted scenes from the film.

TV airings

Besides being released on VHS, Laserdisc, and DVD, in recent years MST3K: TM has also been shown on the Starz and HBO television channels in the USA, and the film has been aired frequently in Europe on the Sky Movies channels.

See also


  1. ^ a b c d Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Movie at Box Office Mojo
  2. ^ (1996) – Filming locations"Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Movie".  
  3. ^ Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Movie at Rotten Tomatoes

External links

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