‘Star Trek: Deep Space Nine’ Documentary ‘What We Left Behind’ To Get Theatrical Release

What We Left Behind - DS9 doc

As teased earlier this month, today the What We Left Behind team is proud to announce via Deadline Hollywood that they have found a distributor for their documentary. Shout! Studios, part of the Shout! Factory family, a well-regarded entertainment company that covers all genres including animation, classic movies, and horror, including many older/niche titles, has negotiated a deal to distribute the documentary across multiple platforms including a theatrical release by the end of 2019.

Michael Ribas, VP of Marketing at Shout! Studios said:

Deep Space Nine has a passionate fanbase—as shown by the successful crowdfunding campaign that brought this movie to life—and we’re thrilled share their love of and dedication to the show by bringing the What We Left Behind to an even wider audience.

Video update with more details for backers

The video features editor/producer Joe Kornbrodt, who provides a few more details. As promised, backers from the Kickstarter campaign will get access to copies first. Release details on the backer copies aren’t finalized yet, since the upgrade of the DS9 clips to HD isn’t quite finished. Kornbrodt also says that the producers hope the wider availability and the theatrical release, thanks to Shout!, will help show that there’s a public demand for a remastered Deep Space Nine from CBS.

As mentioned in the video, the team is close to completing the upgrade of the clips from DS9 to HD. You can see them hard at work in the tweets below from producer Kai De Mello-Folsom.


You can learn more about the documentary by going to www.ds9documentary.com

Keep up with all the updates and news on the DS9 documentary in our What We Left Behind category here at TrekMovie.com

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RobE

By the time us ordinary fans get to see it. The voyage of the Enterprise Z will be launching on Star Trek The final generation lol

Mark Z

What?

I had completely forgotten I’d contributed to this! Heard good things about the Birmingham UK screening. Sadly I couldn’t attend. Would be great to do so someplace else, if the physical media is still some way off.

Tiger2

Holy crap, a theatrical release?? Wow, I did not see that coming. Finally DS9 on the big screen! They are taking this documentary very seriously. Since I live in L.A. I’m more than sure it will play somewhere here, so I’m totally in when this happens. It sounds like it will be out when the Picard show arrives. So now TWO things to look forward to by the end of the year. Pretty cool. It’s great to see Trek and the 24th century back in full force.

I guess we really didn’t need another Kelvin movie, we got more Star Trek coming to the big screen after all! ;)

Professor Spock

Tiger2 are you watching this?

Tiger2

LOL, I thought I made it clear but yes. It would be fun to see the station in a theatrical setting for the first time. I never thought I would see that happen. And everyone who has seen it has said its worth seeing on a big screen because the HD stuff looks so good.

I get to eat a little crow, there WILL be a Star Trek movie in 2019!

Might have to run into LA to go see it, was a little disappointed that the closest showing of Apollo 11 to Riverside was Temecula and Irvine.

Tiger2

LOL, yeah technically anyway.

And it is one of the joys of living in a place like L.A. when you’re a movie buff. Everything comes here eventually.

Disinvited

Phil,

LOL.

Re: Apollo 11

Can not vouch for quality of the projectors but I’d be shocked to find none of the universities had managed to finagle a few screenings. Btw isn’t the UCR Science-fiction Writers Conference coming up?

JRT!

Speak for yourself. I would LOVE more new movie Treks. Yes,I still refuse to call it that stupid name,lol!

Professor Spock

Nice. DS9 on the big screen is cool. DS9 is not on Hulu but is on Netflix. I have both.

Tiger2

That’s weird. Do you live outside of America, because its definitely on Hulu in America. I know, I use to have it and watched it all the time there with the others. In fact all Star Trek shows is on every major streaming site in America that has third party content. I don’t think there is any other major TV franchise can say that. One or two maybe, but not all.

Edit: Just went and checked and yes its definitely there!

https://www.hulu.com/series/star-trek-deep-space-nine-a24eccaf-1886-4b25-b897-d90f84287f33

Professor Spock

Tiger2 I have Netflix. I signed up for Hulu today through Spotify premium and I didn’t see DS9 on Hulu in search results. Netflix is a better option or CBS All Access.

Tiger2

Ok but obviously its there. No idea why it wouldn’t come up through a search. Usually you just need to type Star Trek and all the relevant shows, films and documentaries usually show up.

And sadly EVERY major streaming site is a better option than AA.

Mark Z

Unfortunately, all of the streaming options for DS9 and Voyager are completely mangled, the video encodes look absolutely awful. I can make a better version of them from my DVDs with about 2 minutes of work (in fact, I have basically created my own personal Star Trek streaming service!).

It’s really unfortunate that all of the hours put into each of these episodes by the cast and crew is wasted by the streaming services.

Hey, CBS (and Netflix, and Hulu, and Amazon Prime), I’m willing to make some very nice 480p (and upscaled 1080p) encodes for all of you for a very a reasonable amount of compensation! :-)

Unfortunately, all of the streaming options for DS9 and Voyager are completely mangled, the video encodes look absolutely awful. I can make a better version of them from my DVDs with about 2 minutes of work (in fact, I have basically created my own personal Star Trek streaming service!).

Yeah they look anywhere from just acceptable to truly awful, I dunno what the deal is with their digital copies. In many VOY episodes I can see obvious errors with deinterlacing that no professional video software should produce. That’s one of the reasons why I will choose to use my DVD copies of the two shows over streaming.

Matt

I think if they want continued Star Trek content for their cbs all access, die hard DS9 fans would stay subscribed if they released each episode weekly in HD (and at the end of the year put out a bluray set). Netflix would probably pay to have DS9 and even Voy in HD too.

There have been other shows released in HD on streaming that have never seen a Bluray release, for example the X-Files. Streaming is enough reason to do it, BD is just icing on that cake

Professor Spock

Matt DS9 is on Netflix. Every Star Trek TV show ever made is on Netflix except Discovery in America. X-Files is on Hulu.

Matt

My point was RE: remastering in HD. Netflix would probably foot some of the bill to have it in better quality.

X-Files is on Streaming services in HD, but has never had a home video release of the older seasons on bluray, even though it wouldn’t need to be remastered. My point being that HD is a selling point even for streaming

Dave

All of the remastered X-Files has been released on Blu-ray.

ML31

If HD DS9 was realeased to streaming I would not subscribe to the service if I knew it would be coming out on disc later. I’d just wait for the discs and get them. I’ve always said that if DS9 were available in HD I would buy the discs. That is how good the show was.

Theoden_of_ODU

While all of us here are just fans chatting about this stuff (translation: we have no inside knowledge of how this all works), I think it’s really safe to say that HD remasters are economically sound, despite what people have said about the subject here and elsewhere.

I wouldn’t be surprised if the reason why we don’t have DS9 or VOY being remastered at the moment is because some number cruncher at CBS doesn’t see the need for it. They know that DS9 and VOY will continue to make them a ton of money as-is and that the idea of “future proofing” the show in high definition is just a foreign concept for them and a likely a case of “Penny Wise, Pound Foolish.” Existing fans will continue to watch, but I can guarantee that a sizable portion of potential fans will *not* watch something that isn’t HD at some point.

But let’s assume that the comments of low Blu-ray sales is the primary reason why we aren’t seeing further remastering. TOS-R recouped much of their costs during their syndication airings. CBS presumably could bundle the remastered versions in packages to sell to cable and streaming services, most likely recouping most of the cost before the first episode even is released or aired.

HubcapDave

There’s a simpler answer….the TNG remasters didn’t sell, and DS9 & Voyager would be even more expensive, given all the CG rework that’d need to be done.

Sam

THIS. All the fans saying they would buy all seasons of DS9 on Blu-Ray, we unfortunately needed you when the TNG Blu-Ray season sets (AND specials) were initially coming out.

Tiger2

I think the problem with that was streaming was just coming into its own and its just harder to get people to buy this stuff now. I mean I used to own all the Star Trek films through First Contact and most of TNG and TOS back in the 90s. Today I don’t own a single piece of physical content from Star Trek. Its just no need. Its not to say everyone feels that way but the only people who buys discs are mostly the hardcore fans. Most casual fans will just watch it on Netflix. Who is going to blow $100+ on something they will probably end up watching online anyway. And that’s the problem.

Everyone seems to be saying now you can get more people signed up to AA if DS9 and VOY were made in HD but it still may not be enough of them to justify it. And they are basically admitting even if they do these enhancements its not going to convince many to buy the discs. Movies still do OK on blu ray but its a big difference between a 2 hour film and a 5+ season TV show.

Its just too much competition now and discs are feeling more outdated by the year.

ML31

I get that people seem to prefer streaming. But here is the biggest reason to actually own the physical copy. Streaming rights change. What is available now may not be available next month. When you own it, it NEVER goes away. Also, playing something on a disc is still (for now) far better quality than streaming.

I am not surprised the TNG-R failed to sell. The difference from TOS to remaster and TNG to remaster is night and day. Sure, TNG could stand a little clean up. But it was nothing like the degradation the TOS shows devolved to. I’ve said I would buy a DS9 HD remaster. And I would. But I have to admit there are probably not enough of me to make the project worthwhile.

Sure, TNG could stand a little clean up.

Wow, we saw totally different results then. TNG was stuck in a videotape master (with all the hallmarks of NTSC video: soft image, poor chroma resolution, etc.). It needed much more than a little clean up, since you can’t “clean up” video tape, it would have been forever stuck the way it was in 1987-1994 with ~300 lines of resolution. There really was no choice but to do a total rebuild of each episode from scratch using modern tools.

I’d argue your description of TNG better applies to TOS. TOS is the series that had the final output on 35mm, and the one that needed film clean up. The live action stuff from TOS is generally gorgeous once the dirt and scratches were removed and it was given a new color grade.

ML31

I’m forced to admit the bulk of the TNG shows I’ve only seen the one time. Their original air date. It looked OK then and I just figured it degraded like most things do over time. A few episodes I’ve seen over the years and they looked fine upon their re-air many years later. Many of the reruns of TOS, until the remaster, just looked gawdawful. Lines, grains, scratches. Even the copy I saw on the DVD’s didn’t look all that super even after the work done for that.

ML31

Sam, I am not going to buy something inferior on the hope that something superior will become available because of it. And to be perfectly honest, I’ve seen some of the TNG remaster and it really doesn’t look that good. And if I’m being equally honest, at the time I thought the TOS remaster was frigging awesome but looking at them now, much of it just looks flat. Not saying the remaster needn’t have been done… I still like them. But the main issue for me is the new ship scenes. They are just looking rather flat to me now.

Sam

Obviously that’s your choice. I doubt most of the people claiming they would buy DS9 Blu-Rays would really do so, which was the point I was making. And if the TNG remaster doesn’t look that good in your opinion, what reason is there to believe a DS9 remaster would look any better?

Theoden_of_ODU

Ah! That’s the often repeated line, but no one has ever been able to site an actual source for that speculation, at least none I’ve seen in the dozens (or hundreds) of times I’ve seen it repeated. Opinion pieces, sure. Forum posts from anonymous users, sure.

But how do we know the TNG Blu-rays didn’t sell well enough?

Back in 2012, TrekCore reported on initial sales being pretty good. In fact, based on what I’ve read estimates the *first* week of sales alone recouped over half of the remastering investment for Season 1. In one week!

I’m not sure if his numbers are accurate, but Robert Meyer Burnett claimed on Twitter that it cost about $70,000 to remaster each TNG episode in HD (which would be $12.5M for the whole show).

But let’s assume that he’s is wrong, and shift gears to another Sci-Fi franchise, Babylon 5. An interesting article from JMS’s B5books.com goes into great depth about the remastering process of that show. Based on that article’s estimates, a single B5 episode would cost an estimated “$105,319”. This is a show that didn’t use any practical effects (something DS9 did through most of it’s run), so every single effects shot would need to be recreated from scratch. Most of DS9’s effects still exist in some form, at least for all but the last 2 or so seasons. But let’s just use that figure here. $18.5 M. Roughly 2.64 M per set.

To put this amount of money in perspective, a single episode of Discovery is reported to cost between $8 and $8.5 M.

I’ve read articles online that studios make about $10 per movie disc. This may be an old figure, and we’re talking about a TV show, which cost more to produce but also sell for more money. So let’s assume that this is true and let’s keep it at 10 bucks.

So assuming that these figures are correct (and that they don’t make more money off of each season sale), they need to sell about 264K units per season to break even.

And that’s not even factoring in the money made in new deals to show it in HD on TV, Amazon, Hulu, or Neflix. Don’t think there’s money in that? Hulu paid $160 million for Seinfeld rights. Netflix paid $100 million for Friends rights. Star Trek might not have exactly the same potential viewership as those two, but those deals would still run in the low millions of dollars.

I know I’m making a great number of assumptions here, but they’re all pretty reasonable. There’s no way that TNG Remastered didn’t make CBS money.

Why haven’t they moved forward with the rest of the series? Who knows. There’s millions of dollars to be made elsewhere and a finite number of resources out there to make that money. I already mentioned that some number cruncher at CBS doesn’t see the need for it because they’ll sell hundreds of thousands of sets in SD anyway.

TL;DR: TNG sales were probably decent, and the claim they weren’t is just internet forum speculation with no evidence to back it up. The reasons why they haven’t done the remaining shows is probably because the shows sell well as-is. No need to rock the boat because CBS doesn’t care about the show in the *same way* that fans care about it.

This kind of doubt about the sales seems to come up every time. I found my lengthy reply from the last time this came up in December. I’ve pasted in here again:

Yes, season 1 sold well, and then there was a drop off. CBS of course has never officially said a reason for not continuing to remaster more series.

In 2012, there was interview with CBS execs who said to keep buying the sets if people wanted DS9 next.
http://trekcore.com/blog/2012/10/exclusive-ryan-adams-david-s-grant-interview-part-iii/

Ryan Adams: Keep writing, and keep buying TNG.

David Grant: The more you buy TNG, the more you get DS9! Put it that way!

In a 2014 interview, as the TNG-R releases were wrapping up, Roger Lay, Jr. who helped make the VAM for the Blu-ray sets, said something similar.
https://nerdist.com/exclusive-producer-roger-lay-jr-on-the-final-star-trek-the-next-generation-season-and-deep-space-nine-on-blu-ray/

It will also be crucial to fans who have been waiting for all seven seasons of TNG to be released. It sounds sad, but it’s a business decision when it should be a creative one. But you need sales in order to put out more product, it’s as simple as that. We’re hoping to get news within the next several months. But if fans want to do anything to make that happen, pick up these Blu-ray sets right now, because the entire Next Generation collection will be out.

Given that there was plenty of talk of needing to make enough sales even during the sets initial releases (2012-2014), and then of course CBS subsequently choosing to not go on, pretty strongly implies the reason was the sales of the later seasons.

More recently, Robert Meyer Burnette who helped make the documentaries for the TNG sets along with Roger Lay, mentions the poor sales in this 2017 interview:
http://www.treknews.net/2017/02/02/why-ds9-voyager-not-on-blu-ray-hd/

Ultimately, the final result of all the effort put into the restoration itself and the newly-created special features were ultimately disappointing. The disc sales didn’t match projections and continued to suffer as more and more people turned to streaming, where Star Trek was already widely available. Sure, the newly-remastered episodes of TNG have quietly replaced the original versions, but nowadays, very few people even notice, as they expect HD to look great.

ML31

“In 2012, there was interview with CBS execs who said to keep buying the sets if people wanted DS9 next.”

That is a catch-22 for me then. Because I am certainly not going to buy something I absolutely do not want for the mere possibility something I DO want MIGHT happen down the line.

There’s no way that TNG Remastered didn’t make CBS money.

In the long term, no question it had to have made some money. But I don’t think they wanted to wait 5+ years for it to pay off. Especially once they did the two big name shows of Trek’s catalog (TOS and TNG).

CBS is not a monolith, there are sub-companies and money goes different places.

For example, the TOS-R project was done on a tiny budget because the funding came entirely from the syndication division.

I’m not sure where the money to remaster TNG came from. But selling the rights into syndication (and/or streaming), is a different division from the people who make the content, which is a different division from CBS home entertainment.

These divisions also have different ideas of success.

The reasons why they haven’t done the remaining shows is probably because the shows sell well as-is. No need to rock the boat because CBS doesn’t care about the show in the *same way* that fans care about it.

That part is true, sadly. TOS and TNG are the megahits of Trek that have instant recognition with casual fans and the general public.

CBS didn’t think the money to remaster DS9 (and subsequently VOY) was worth it back in 2013 when the TNG-R team was still assembled and wrapping up their work on TNG.

Corinthian7

It makes sense Matt. They could outsource the job to a 3rd party fx company so it wouldn’t have to pull resources from new content.

Josh

The X-Files was released on Blu-ray in a complete series set a couple years ago.

The current climate in TV/film corporations is to keep as much original content in-house as possible. Saying Netflix would help is making some rather large assumptions on the part of both CBS and Netflix.

That assumes…
1. CBS would want Netflix to be involved in any way shape or form. CBS would want total control and total ownership over the end product. Both TOS-R and TNG-R were done without external money. CBS naturally would want total ownership over anything to do with their valuable franchise. The value for CBS is in the syndication and streaming rights of their back-catalog, they wouldn’t want it diluted by Netflix getting a piece of the pie.

2. Netflix is even interested in outlaying more cash for Star Trek. Over the last 5 years Netflix has significantly changed their focus, and thus their money and other resources, into original content. Yes the Trek back catalog is a well streamed show, but streaming of non-original content doesn’t pay the bills, in fact it generates more bills, because it will need to be relicensed at some point. Netflix wants you to watch their content (which keeps the flow of cash in house), not other content they had to license. While Discovery is not actually Netflix produced, they bought in early and get to label it as a “Netflix Original” in the regions they serve, so they get a small perk for it, there’s no such incentive for an old show.

Mark Z

You would think that CBS is bringing in a decent amount of money by licensing all of Star Trek to basically all of the streaming services. I imagine if CBS completely footed the bill for a DS9 and/or Voyager HD remaster, they would make it exclusive to All Access for some period of time, whereas if one of the other streaming services footed the bill, they would have the exclusive rights for some period of time.

I’m curious what these other shows are that have seen HD remasters, but never released on physical media.

Tanner Waterbury

So did they solve the legal licensing issues with CBS then? That’s the big part I think people are curious about, me included.

What are you referring to?

There’s no issues I’m aware of, they paid CBS for a license to the clips of DS9. And later, with the extra round of crowdfunding, also paid CBS to do HD transfers of all of the DS9 clips. Both are totally normal, and were expected costs.

Wow, look how razor-sharp Armin Shimerman (as Quark) looks on that monitor!

Even though I am a contributor and look forward to eventually receiving my physical media, I will definitely go see this on the big screen. Every dollar spent on the theatrical release will be more proof to CBS that DS9 still has fans willing to shell out money to see their favorite 90’s Trek in high definition.

Mark Z

My assumption is that any theatrical release will be handled by Fathom Events. Their track record for quality isn’t exactly stellar, sometimes their stuff looks very good, other times not so much.

It has been a few years since I’ve seen one of their ‘events,’ so perhaps they’re more consistent with quality than before.

DIGINON

The article states that the distributor is a company called Shout! Studios, not Fathom Events.

kmart

Shout! does a lot of niche homevid releases, a couple on 4K I think. Didn’t know they did theatrical stuff at all.

I like Shout! too. Looking at their portfolio, I agree, I don’t think they do theatrical releases. Most of the Shout! Studios new original content is online digital distribution.

My guess is they’ll use Fathom to distribute it to theaters. Fathom is co-owned by three of the largest theater chains in the US and has the infrastructure in place to easily digitally distribute content.

Sam

I think it depends on who books through Fathom and what.

The Turner Classic Movies of the month seem to all be 1080i. As well as (most) pre-releases of Blu-Ray content (including a lot of anime movies and all the Star Trek TV stuff), as well as anniversary releases that are given less support by their studios (I’ve seen crappy projections of both Dirty Dancing and Thelma and Loise).

If there’s a film-standard 4k presentation available though, they seem to use it. Two years ago half of the higher-profile Miyazaki movies had proper 4k projection transfers at Fathom. Last year all of them seemed to. JAWS will always get a 4k projection from Fathom. The Dark Crystal, Labyrinth, INTERSTELLAR and Star Trek II:TWOK have all gotten the proper projection treatment at Fathom as well.

'Drew

Not at my theater, they didn’t. Star Trek II looked like they were just playing the special edition DVD, and the audio was heavily compressed.

Sam

Claiming something looks like a DVD (have you seen 480i blown up on a theater size projection screen?) is more than a little hyperbolic. Anyway your theater probably did something to it. TWOK’s theatrical 4k transfer was used by Cinemark for their classic movies lineup in 2016, Fathom Events in 2017 and the Flashback Cinemas lineup (various theaters) last year. Quality of presentation may have varied depending on the theater, but I guarantee you there was nothing wrong with the transfer.

'Drew

I’ve seen at least one live football game theatrically prior to HD broadcasting.

Fabio

I hope I do not have to see Sisko high like in William Shatner’s documentary.