Star Trek 5: The Final Frontier
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Star Trek V: The Final Frontier (1989)
Production Budget: $30,000,000
Worldwide Box office: $70,200,000
Total Profit: $40,200,000
Return on Investment: 134.0%
The fifth entry in the Star Trek movie franchise, and the only one to be directed by William Shatner Star Trek V: The Final Frontier was one of the more disappointing performances in the franchise up until that time, it was given a higher production budget than any of its predecessors, with the exception of Star Trek: The Motion Picture and was expected to be the highest grossing of the series, unfortunately it would become the lowest grossing of the time, and second lowest to date.
Pre-production started off with quite a few issues in the background, a trimmed schedule due to a strike among them, but the bulk of the issues with this film came from within Paramount. William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy had both signed contracts with the studio with ‘favoured nations’ clauses, meaning whatever one got the other also had the right to have. So if one got a raise, the other got a raise, and when Leonard Nimoy directed Star Trek IV if was assured that William Shatner would direct Star Trek V if it were to be made.
There were also further issues with Gene Roddenberry, who had been reduced to the role of consultant on the series following Star Trek: The Motion Picture had been vehemently opposed to many of the ideas for the movies and felt particularly strongly about the story for the Final Frontier. Add to that Paramount insisting that the movie be as much a comedy as The Voyage Home had been, which didn’t exactly fit the notion of the Enterprise searching the galaxy for a false god, and the poor early reception of Star Trek: The Next Generation at the time and the movie was a recipe for potential disaster.
The story has been claimed to be influenced by everything from a televangelist to a book about an American in Japan who felt out of place, both of which were at the forefront of William Shatner’s mind when he pitched the story and neither of which translated well to the screen.
With all that going for it The Final Frontier could easily have also been the final movie, but fortunately there would be one more undiscovered entry in the series to come following a 134% ROI for the fifth movie.