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MST3K Kickstarter campaign sets record with $5.76M raised

While it is the most funded video campaign, it just barely cracked the top 10 projects ever

Financial trends and news by Steven Loeb
December 14, 2015
Short URL: http://vator.tv/n/4201

It has been somewhat controversial, but Kickstarter has become an unlikely vehicle for driving big Hollywood projects, especially revivals of old television series.

The latest to be funded is the "Bring Back MYSTERY SCIENCE THEATER 3000" campaign, which raised a whopping $5,764,229 from 48,270 backers.

Not is that is enough for 14 new episodes, including a new holiday special, Joel Hodgson, the creator the series, wrote on the project page, but it actually a record amount of funding for a project in the Film & Video category to date, a Kickstarter spokesperson confirmed to VatorNews.

The previously record holder for this category was another series revival project: cult TV show Veronica Mars, whose creator, Rob Thomas, started a Kickstarter campaign in an attempt to get a film of the show made. The initial goal was set at $2 million, which was met within 10 hours of the start of the campaign. The project actually wound breaking the record as the fastest project to reach first $1 million, then $2 million.

The Kickstarter campaign ended on April 13, with 91,585 donors raising $5,702,153. So while MST3K did beat it, it only did so by around $60,000.

For those of  you who don't know, MST3K is a show about a man and two robots, who live in space, and who watch bad movies in order to make fun of them. The show was first broadcast by Hodgson on a local station in Minneapolis in 1988. It was picked up by the then very new Comedy Channel (later renamed Comedy Central). It aired there until 1996; Hodgson left the show in 1993. It aired on the Sci-Fi channel until 1999 and then it was cancelled.

The revival series has already attracted some top flight talent, with Jack Black, Joel McHale, Bill Hader, Neil Patrick Harris, Jerry Seinfeld, and Mark Hamill all being rumored to be a part of it.

So obviously a lot of people, both famous and non-famous, wanted to see the show return.

The idea of Hollywood projects being funded this way has attracted some controversy. 

When writer/director Zach Braff decided to launch a fund raiser on Kickstarter, seeking to raise $2 million to finance his new film, called Wish I Was Here, the backlash was quick and harsh. It even prompted comedian Tim Heidecker to write a one page script essentially telling Braff off for his stunt, which someone then decided to film.

Other projects, including the video game Double Fine Adventure and the webcomic Order of the Stick, raised $1 million each, also caused a similar controversy.

It even caused company founders Perry Chen, Yancey Strickler, and Charles Adler to write blog post entitled "Who is Kickstarter for?," in which they defended the projects, saying that they not only into the guidelines and mission of the site, but they also help fund other projects.

This was all of a couple of years ago now, and maybe people have gotten used to the idea by now. Or, more likely, it just depends on who is behind the project. 

Top Kickstarter campaigns

So while MST3K may have set a record in its category, where does it now stand in terms of the largest campaigns ever?

It actually now sits at number nine. Here are the top 10:

  1. Pebble Smartwatch: 78,471 backers pledged $20.3 million
  2. Coolest Cooler62,642 backers pledged $13.3 million
  3. Pebble E-Paper Watch68,929 backers pledged $10.3 million
  4. Baubax travel jacket44,949 backers pledged $9.2 million
  5. Exploding Kittens video game219,382 backers pledged $8.8 million
  6. Ouya video game console63,416 backers pledged $8.6 million
  7. Shenmue 3 video game69,320 backers pledged $6.3 million
  8. Pono Music player18,220 backers pledged $6.2 million
  9. Mystery Science Theater 3000
  10. Veronica Mars

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