All 13 Star Trek movies officially ranked

11 of 15

Star Trek The Motion Picture

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Star Trek: The Motion Picture (1979)

Production Budget: $35,000,000
Worldwide Box office: $139,000,000
Total Profit: $104,000,000
Return on Investment: 297.1%

Cancelled just three seasons in to it’s five-year mission the odds were stacked against Star Trek ever returning, but following a moderately successful run with Star Trek: The Animated Series and the failure to leave space dock with Star Trek: Phase II the stars seemed to align for Star Trek: The Motion Picture to finally reunite the crew on the newly refitted USS Enterprise and once again save the quadrant from the forces of evil, even if the forces of evil were, in this case an old Earth probe.

"“Ten years ago, a television phenomenon became a part of life, shared in 47 different languages, read in 469 publications, and seen by 1.2 billion people. A common experience remembered around the world. Now Paramount Pictures brings the memory to life.” – 1979 TV ad"

With the entire crew set to return, elements of Phase II were worked into the plot and Gene Roddenberry’s vision of the future was coming back, a successful feature meant that the franchise could continue forward, but at the time nobody imagined it could lead to another six live action series, one animated series, and twelve movies set in two timelines over the next thirty years. While not the greatest story ever told in Star Trek this movie set the stage for all that would come afterwards.

For longtime fans of the franchise we had our Captain back, the man who would do anything for his crew, and to keep his chair, we had Spock as cold and unemotional as ever there to help his friends while admitting only that it was the logical thing to do, Bones afraid to transport up tot he ship and all the rest working their miracles, and sitting at their stations for the launch of the ship. For new comers we had a story that would allow entry with no previous knowledge of the series or its events, in many ways the perfect way to open the world up to everyone.

With a solid 297% Return on Investment, The Motion Picture would serve as the springboard it needed to be, and while it may only be #4 on the list it in many ways was the most important one of them all.  The marketing promised “The Human adventure is just beginning...”, they had no idea how right they were.