Star Trek never really worked as a film property so if there’s no Star Trek 4, just end the film franchise.
Star Trek 4 is still in the works, so we’re told. The cast of the last three Bad Robot films is likely back once contracts and availability are sorted out. There are no directors, there are no scripts and we simply don’t know if the cast, who constantly says they want a fourth film, would even sign a contract to return. After all, the profiles of Chris Pine, Karl Urban, and Zoe Saldana have sky-rocketed since the first film, and will all be wanting big contracts.
Will Paramount want to agree to those deals? Probably not, otherwise, we wouldn’t have had rumors that Pine was the only one to sign a new deal.
With the arrival and departure of a director, the delay in filming, and the lack of scripts, contracts, and a direction for the film, there are many wondering if they should just shutter Star Trek 4 completely. The AV Club asks this very question, suggesting that it’s time to move on from the film franchise.
It’s time to move on from Star Trek films
I for one, side with the article. There are no more reasons to do Star Trek films. The budgets for films are about the same size as shows. When Star Trek launched the film franchise in the first place, it was due to the lack of interest in Star Trek Phase II, a series that would’ve seen most of the original characters return to the show, updated for the 1970s.
It didn’t work and no one wanted Trek, so off to the theaters it went. It was a success by the sheer force of will because Star Trek fans had nothing else. Then when The Next Generation came around, the films started to decline. And there is some evidence to support this. Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home was released in 1986, a year before The Next Generation debuted. It made $133 million at the box office.
Star Trek V: The Final Frontier, made just $66 million. Yes, it’s a far inferior movie, but so was Star Trek The Motion Picture, which was an unproven film franchise. The Final Frontier made just $63 million while the Motion Picture made $139 million. The key difference? The Next Generation was already on the air when The Final Frontier debuted.
The Undiscovered Country did just $98 million despite it being a critical hit, and even Star Trek Generations did just $118 million. The Next Generation and Deep Space Nine gave many fans the itch they were missing that wasn’t around when the Star Trek film franchise was at its apex financially.
First Contact was a huge hit, raking in $146 million, but one could simply attribute that to the fact that it featured the franchise’s most popular villain; the Borg. A villain so strong that it became the backbone of Voyager.
Voyager’s success on UPN also seemingly impacted the film franchise, with Insurrection bringing in just $117.8 million. Nemesis did even worse with just $67.3 million. The Bad Robot Films all did $300+ plus per move, with Into Darkness being the franchise’s biggest earner.
The two most successful Star Trek films financially, The Motion Picture (adjusted for inflation) and Into Darkness both happened with there wasn’t a television series. The television product takes away a desire to see the films. There isn’t as much desire and demand to run out and buy a $20 movie ticket when you can just pay $11.99 a month to watch a brand-new show.
There’s no gas involved, no annoying moviegoers to deal with, and the price of snacks is far less. It’s just more convenient and easier on the mind. As long as the folks at Paramount+ keep making mediocre (and sometimes great) Star Trek shows, the films should just stop and be put in cold storage.