Wednesday, 5 October 2016

Beyond Star Trek Beyond - Discovery and the Future

Chris Groves examines the aftermath of the latest movie and the tease of the 2017 series... 

So as the summer blockbuster season ends, it seems that Star Trek has not garnered the appeal of the masses as many had hoped. 

There is no way to sugar coat the fact that Star Trek Beyond was average at best, and in monetary terms has performed very poorly at the global box office. Suicide Squad, Captain America and Finding Dory literally made twice and even three times as much as Beyond

After 10 weeks in cinemas worldwide (minus Japan) the data from Box Office Mojo ( ) is as follows:

US Domestic Gross $158,428,433 
‘Overseas’ Gross $178,328,110
Total Box Office Gross $336,756,543
Production budget $185,000,000
Marketing budget $120,000,000
Total Movie Budget $305,000,000 

Now at first glance, this looks like a moderate profit of around $30 million but this will in all likelihood be eliminated by a variety of factors typical of all large movie productions and it cannot be ignored that the previous two movies were considerably more successful at the box office 

Star Trek (2009) 
Budget $150 million 
Global Box Office $386 million

Star Trek into Darkness (2013) 
Budget $185 million 
Global Box Office $487 million 

Star Trek (2009) was a spectacular success on Blu-Ray/DVD cashing in more than $200 million in sales. Star Trek into Darkness also performed very well in the home entertainment market, making nearly $85 million of Blu-Ray /DVD/Digital sales.

Star Trek Beyond is due for DVD/Blu-Ray release on November 21st but one can only imagine that sales will be lukewarm given that if movie-goers were unwilling to pay for a cinema ticket, it is unlikely a great number will pay to own the movie. 

However Paramount are marketing a lot of Blu-Ray 'Collector's' Edition Variations and of course the ever increasing number of new media incarnations (3D/4K/Steelbooks/Ship models etc.) 

So accountancy aside, what does this mean for ‘our’ Star Trek ?

Whether we loved or hated Star Trek Beyond, we all still wanted it to succeed to ensure the future of the franchise in terms of the big screen. As far as Skydance and Paramount are concerned, Star Trek 4 is still officially a ‘go’ but considering Beyond’s poor reception, what approach should they take for this future movie? 

Is it prudent to go for another large blockbuster event, in an attempt to impress the cinema going masses? Another shot at reaching that elusive ‘wider audience’? 

Or perhaps this time it would be best to pursue a smaller more intimate story that is completely identifiable as Star Trek and not an event movie. Either way Skydance or Paramount are highly unlikely to attribute such a large budget to any future movie and maybe they will even change direction again ad use a different writer and/or director. 

There are probably a lot of discussions about this happening right now, for certain; I only wish they would include us fans in these discussions sometimes. 

It was the 50th Anniversary, and many had hoped for the ‘ultimate’ Star Trek movie, not a mediocre story with admittedly fantastic visual effects and Justin Lin and Simon Pegg were doing the rounds throughout June this year telling us all that Beyond was a real ‘fan’s movie’. 

Confidence was so high that it would be a film that really ‘spoke’ to our respective ‘inner Trekkie’ but I feel that what we got was another retread of the nostalgia trip that has already been done better in JJ Abrams' Star Trek (2009). 

Star Trek Discovery meanwhile has been pushed back and will now air on TV in May 2017, a four month delay. 

Hopefully this means the production will be more polished and less hurried (the original January airdate did seem a little ambitious considering a single frame had not been shot). A lot of hope now rests in what Star Trek Discovery brings us.

Certainly the names associated with the show lend to hopefulness that it will be skilfully made (Kirsten Beyer, Bryan Fuller, Nicholas Meyer, and Alex Kurtzman). Perhaps the delay in the show is indicative of the recognition of Beyond’s lack of appeal, and a sign that changes were made accordingly to ‘fire-up’ new ideas.

Just recently Bryan Fuller himself revealed that some of the established aliens we know will probably be updated in their physiological appearance. But that first season next year has to survive with good viewing figures and has significant competition from some of the spectacular TV shows offered by the likes of HBO and Netflix.

We may love Star Trek, but the challenges it faces are very real and as fans, we have to ardently support its future, not argue between ourselves about petty details and minutiae. 

The events surrounding a certain crowdfunded project and the divisions it caused were disturbing and have maybe damaged Star Trek’s future. I hope like everyone that Star Trek Discovery is amazing, despite some complaints that it is another ‘historical’ story. 

We have to move forward as fans also, go boldly if you will and rally our support for ‘our’ Star Trek

Bryan Fuller et al, it’s over to you!

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