Is “Star Trek” out of gas — or dilithium crystals, as the “Trek” faithful would say?
The bigscreen “Star Trek: Nemesis” stumbled two years ago. UPN recently banished the fourth season of low-rated “Star Trek: Enterprise” to Friday nights. And despite a suddenly hot theatrical market for docs, Paramount is relegating “Trekkies 2,” Roger Nygard‘s follow-up to his 1997 pic about Trek fans, directly to DVD on Aug. 31.
Now, Par seems to be timidly going where no “Trek” has gone in a long time: back to the drawing board.
Longtime “Trek” producers Rick Berman and Brannon Braga are teamed with Jordan Kerner and Kerry McCluggage to develop a project set at the Star Fleet Academy, prior to the time periods in the five different series that have aired since 1966.
For a studio that’s unafraid to remake films in its vault and reinvent TV shows as movies, Par is being surprisingly cautious about hopes for an 11th feature film. A new installment isn’t on the horizon anytime soon.
Par wants a “re-imagining” of the concept, meaning there won’t be any of the characters that peopled the TV shows and movies. It hasn’t yet hired a writer.
The “Trek” pics were a reliable staple for better than two decades, with a domestic cume of $760 million and foreign at just over $300 million. The fourth pic topped $100 million domestically in 1986 and seven others cleared $70 million.
The studio was taken aback in 2002 when “Nemesis” saw domestic grosses of $43 million and foreign of $23 million, by far the worst B.O. performer in the series.
In an era where $200 million is now the benchmark of success and with Paramount espousing a “swing for the fences” mantra, another “Trek” movie may not arrive before Halley’s Comet returns.