Since the release of 2009’s rebooted Star Trek film, the all-star crew of the USS Enterprise boldly went where few actors have gone before. They took on the unenviable task of replacing the iconic actors from the original series after time-travel shenanigans rebooted the Trek timeline. (Time-travel has long been a part of the Star Trek mythos.) Yet, the third of these new Star Trek movies failed to earn a higher box office than its predecessors.
The first four Star Trek films were box office smashes, improving their performance as the budgets got lower. When the Star Trek: The Next Generation cast took over the feature film side of things, their budgets grew but the box office grosses stayed about the same. At least until Star Trek: Nemesis which barely made back its production budget. For the new reboot, Paramount Pictures invested heavily in the films with budgets from $140 million to $190 million. However, the new Star Trek movies did not do the box office numbers it needed to.
Image via Paramount Pictures
As Simon Pegg told Gamesradar.com:
“The fact is, Star Trek movies don’t make Marvel money. They make maybe $500m at the most, and to make one now, on the scale they’ve set themselves, is $200m. You have to make three times that to make a profit. I don’t feel like the last one… They didn’t really take advantage of the 50th anniversary. The regimen at the time dropped the ball on the promo of the film. And we’ve lost momentum.”
Pegg also went on to say that once the cast lost their friend and colleague Anton Yelchin, they lost enthusiasm for the films. About one month before the release of Star Trek: Beyond, the 27-year-old actor died in an accident. The role of Pavel Chekov would not be recast for any sequels. Now, it seems that there may not be any sequels at all.
This may actually be a good thing. Since the ViacomCBS merger, all the rights to Star Trek are back under the same corporate parent. In the age of the Streaming Wars, CBS All Access turned to Trek for an edge. Star Trek: Discovery, Short Treks, and Picard are high-budget television series that better fit the franchise than big budget movies every three years.
There are still plenty of Star Trek stories to tell. Whether these are serials or mid-budget features, CBS All Access seems like the better place for them than movie houses. Still, as far as we know, Noah Hawley is still currently working on a film that may not include the “new” cast.
What do you think? Are the box office expectations for Star Trek movies too high? Should Paramount keep them on the big screen and slash the budgets? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
Featured image via Paramount
Joshua M. Patton is a father, veteran, and writer living in Pittsburgh, PA. The first books he read on his own were comics, and he's loved the medium ever since. He is the greatest star-pilot in the galaxy, a cunning warrior, and a good friend. His book "What I Learned: Stories, Essays, and More" is available in print from Amazon and from all electronic booksellers.