- Box Office Bomb: Despite not having a confirmed budget, the fact that the film's final domestic gross is $1,007,306 should be proof enough. See below for why.
- Creator Backlash: This happened due to the heavy Executive Meddling by Gramercy executives. In the behind-the-scenes feature on the DVD and Blu-Ray, Kevin Murphy seems to be the only one of the Best Brains crew (or at least of the ones interviewed) that doesn't seem too bitter over the final product. He says that he doesn't consider the film a complete failure, that it's great that most fans still enjoy it (despite all the changes made), and that at least the movie is better than Barb Wire. He also relishes the fact that Barb Wire made Gramercy lose way more money than MST3K: The Movie did.
- Murphy went on record in that special as saying that "[m]aking the movie was one of the best experiences of my life. Dealing with the studio when doing so was one of the worst."
- Creator Killer: The disagreements between Joel Hodgson and executive producer Jim Mallon over even doing the film led to the former's departure from the show.
- Executive Meddling: According to Best Brains Inc., the film was horribly mangled by the distributors, Gramercy Pictures (a joint venture between Universal and PolyGram Filmed Entertainment, serving as Universal's art-house label and a distributor for PolyGram's releases; once Seagram's (yes, the liquor company) merged them together, what remained of Gramercy became part of the core of Focus Features). Kevin Smith said concerning Mallrats (another Gramercy picture) that Gramercy "couldn't market their way out of a paper bag"; this is in full evidence here. Amongst other things, they insisted on a movie with substantially higher quality than the average MST3K fare (probably the only point on which Gramercy and Best Brains agreed, though this movie wasn't the latter's first choice), a shorter running time, and less obscure riffs to make it more accessible. They also threw in some random profanity to just so it could be PG-13. Best Brains considered the final product to be the least-satisfying project they worked on and even included not-so-subtle Take Thats at Gramercy in the host segments of The Incredible Melting Man episode. Trace Beaulieu, the last of the KTMA-era cast members, chose to leave the show after Season 7 because of this meddling.
- Before its release, Gramercy had to choose whether to put their full support behind MST3KA or Barb Wire. They chose the latter and left this film to die in a barely-there theatrical release (that had little-to-no advertising). They also insisted on an overarching plot, so the film begins with Crow trying to tunnel his way out, he picks up a chainsaw in the next scene, and the (original) ending has him trying to tunnel out of the SOL again with the chainsaw. The bit with Crow from the original ending was cut because it was much longer, and focus groups complained that the movie was too long — so the ending was changed to a shorter one, which meant a considerable chunk of This Island Earth had to be excised as a result.
- But the real kicker? As The Agony Booth's recap of Barb Wire made sure to point out:
- They put all of their marketing money behind Pam Anderson, and dumped MST3K in the theaters with no advertising whatsoever. As a result, MST3K tanked. (Even so, in its first weekend it had a higher per-theater average than anything else that weekend. So, just imagine the business it could have done if people had actually known it was out.)
- However, Entertainment Weekly, USA Today and Talk Soup all ran interviews and articles about the film, with Mike and the 'bots hosting Talk Soup in small segments.
- According to Daniel Griffith (an intern on the movie, and later producer a documentary on the film for Shout! Factory), Gramercy execs showed up to one screening of MST3K and handed out Barb Wire merchandise to all attendees. Everyone was confused over this.
- Some critics were given a screening before the changes were made, which is why one reviewer puzzles about Gypsy resembling a cow (as she did in the original ending).
- While screening the movie on Jonah Ray's podcast Let Me Watch Your Movie with You, Trace revealed that Servo was originally supposed to exclaim "Bootsy Collins!" as the Metalunan mutant appeared, a much more fitting and funny reference that had killed when they'd done the show live. One of the executives, no matter how much the humor or proven appeal of this joke was explained to him, didn't get it and thus didn't think anyone else would; the reference was changed to "Leona Helmsley!", which he did understand.
- Market-Based Title: In Brazil, it was released under the title The Stupidest Movie in the World.
- What Could Have Been:
- Hodgson stated in interviews that the real reason he left was because of Creative Differences with Mallon over this project. Hodgson admitted he was afraid of splitting BBI (he didn't want anyone taking sides against each other) and damaging the show itself, so he left. One wonders how the history of MST3K would have been different had the movie never been made.
- Paramount head Brandon Tartikoff was interested in producing a movie circa-1993, but he wanted an Origins Episode about how Joel got onto the SOL and built the Bots, with far less movie riffing than expected. Hodgson turned him down and was backed up by the entire BBI crew.
- A deleted scene had the Satellite of Love caught in a meteor shower, and Mike nearly dies when the air supply is cut off and Crow and Servo have to save him. The original ending also involved the crew warping Scrotor (the alien from the film) down to Deep 13 with the Interocitor to get revenge on Dr. Forrester. It also provided a Call-Back to Crow using the chainsaw that he'd found in Servo's underwear collection, and ending the film on a Here We Go Again! moment. Gramercy had them cut for being too long (and "scary"), and the special features show that the Brains were not happy about either scene being cut.
- Gramercy also wanted the credits to be a "Where Are They Now?" Epilogue instead of the crew riffing the credits — but Best Brains actually won this battle, so the credits are as they originally planned.
- A country-style remix of the MST3K Love Theme, performed by former Blasters member Dave Alvin, was to accompany the film. However, this was dropped and an instrumental version was used for the end credits instead. Though, most fans think the remix isn't even that good anyway.
- The Alvin version was used in full for the menu screen on the Shout Factory DVD/Blu-Ray release.
- An early script had the Mads hosting a booth at a mad scientists convention in Las Vegas. The ending would have had the Satellite of Love plummeting towards Vegas, then get rescued by a Kaiju.
Trivia / Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Movie