Cinematic Titanic... what happened?

CT has some very strong riffs from a pre-Netflix dream team. This crew is Fantastic! It’s a shame that we don’t have more riffs from them.

What happened?

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What I remember hearing was that they weren’t able to make enough profit to continue with the project, but maybe someone with more knowledge of what happened can provide more info.

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The scuttlebutt is that Joel wanted to do up the revival so he ditched.

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It wasn’t a great time economically to be keeping that kind of project afloat. I bet that was part of it. I know that I wanted to support it but was only able to after the fact. [sigh]

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I went to several of the shows. Their shows (and The Mads as well) are funny on video, but so much funnier in person.

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Cinematic Titanic was fantastic. And, as noted, so much better in person.

But… Look, I don’t have any inside information whatsoever, but let’s compare what we can see from the outside:

Rifftrax is 3 guys in a booth churning out riffs that are easily accessible online. If they can’t get streaming rights to the movie, they can do “just the jokes.” They can do shorts. Anyone can come to their site at any time and find a huge catalog with trailers/clips. They can show it on their Twitch channel. They can add it to Amazon Prime video. They can give out or sell bundles of their material on Humble Bundle or whatever other outlet. It gives them a broad reach, easy accessibility, a wide variety of offerings, and a fairly low overhead.

By contrast, Cinematic Titanic required the full cast and crew to drive around the country, doing two movies per location to a relatively small audience. They did less than a dozen movies all told. No streaming rights to the content. I lived in New Jersey. To catch their last tour, I had to drive to Virginia. (I met up with a couple of friends I hadn’t seen in a while and we made a night of it.) To see any of their other content, I had to mail order the DVDs.

So you’ve got a higher cost for lower return with a higher bar to access the material and fewer opportunities to get the word out and let people see what you’re doing and build a bigger fan base.

I don’t know if anything else was going on. Frank and Trace have pointedly kept their distance ever since. I have no idea why.

But I’ve heard, and it makes a lot of sense, that, as fun as the shows were, they just didn’t make enough money to make it worth keeping up.

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From Wikipedia: According to an email sent out to members of the site, due to “5 people living in 5 different cities with different lives and projects, it has become increasingly difficult to coordinate our schedules and give Cinematic Titanic the attention it requires to keep growing as a creative enterprise and a business.”

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In other words; they sank?

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They hit a priceberg.

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CT was stellar stuff. I do believe it must have been a matter of financing, because there were a few live shows at the end of the run which were never even mastered to DVD.

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Part of the issue with releasing the live shows was, I believe, that they needed to get the rights to do that. The rights to show the movie in a theater are one thing. The rights to publish a DVD of it are another matter. And apparently there’s some additional complexity when you add in the rights to record and sell a live show of it. And that’s assuming you even have a camera crew there to record the show. Because that’s an additional expense.

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I hate that the group folded (wish I could’ve seen them do their thing live), just as I hate that the DVD set went out of print. I have mine, but it’d be great if more folks could find the whole damn thing.

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In one of the Mads after shows, Frank talked about enjoying the experience and wishing they’d done more, released more. Did he say anything about why they broke up? I wish I could remember what live stream that was on to check.

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On a slightly more serious note, I think I remember reading somewhere that one of the bigger obstacles was Joel’s increasing reluctance to travel?

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And (one of) the captains went down with the ship.
… too soon?

Most are here: ShoutFactoryTV : Videos

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Combination of factors mentioned above:
high overhead, low return
Trying to corral that many people who live scattered across the country together is difficult on its own, but then to plan a tour, even more difficult
And then to top it all off, Joel had the idea that it was now about time to restart MST3k and that took priority for him.
Trace and Frank took the cue, especially after their reception from the 25th Anniversary Reunion, to start touring themselves as The Mads, which was easier to do as two people instead of five… Especially since they’ve always focused more on public domain features.

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I really hate that the only DVDs with all the great interviews and behind-the-scenes extras were the ones sold by CT. The Shout Factory collection didn’t have those extras. I would love for not just the CT movies to land on the Gizmoplex, but all the supplementary material as well.

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I have all the original DVDs and only one of them has a “mini-documentary” on it. Everything else on the other discs is just trailers.

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I would have sworn there were more when I was watching my set. Maybe not. Still, a shame that wasn’t included in later releases regardless.

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