JJ Abrams’ 2009 reboot of Star Trek grossed $75 million on its opening weekend, while the 2013 sequel Star Trek Into Darkness grossed a little less, bringing in $70 million on it’s first weekend. However, the newest addition to the franchise has only taken in $59 million, which is a significant step down from the earlier films. Each of the revamped Abrams Trek films has opened weaker than its predecessor. This is the opposite effect from the classic series (starring the casts of the 1960s series and Star Trek: The Next Generation) where every film opened higher than the one before, until the disappointing ninth installment Star Trek Insurrection (1998).
Considering the hype for the 50th anniversary of Star Trek and the upcoming new TV series, along with the fact that producer Abrams is just coming off his Star Wars: The Force Awakens triumph, it seemed that a new Trek film would be a slam-dunk at the box office, but this doesn’t seem to be the case so far. It’s a bad omen for the franchise if even all this free advertising couldn’t bring in more viewers.
Some may blame the dissatisfaction many fans had with Star Trek into Darkness for the bad box office, although that’s a difficult argument to justify, since the old franchise had its bad entries (Star Trek: The Motion Picture and Star Trek 5: the Final Frontier both reeked with stinkiness) but the following movies still debuted strong. Also, Abrams’ The Force Awakens came back with a vengeance after the bad reaction to the Star Wars prequels.
Is the public just generally disenchanted with the revamped Trek series? While the high action quotient has drawn in a lot of new, young fans, are the missing elements of the old Trek shows and movies (social commentary, character studies and philosophical musings) the reason this franchise seems to have no legs? Despite the SFX and action, are people just feeling ‘Meh’ about this film series?
It’s yet to be seen how much money in total this new film will make but at the moment, the signs are not good that it will be a huge hit. The budget for this film is $185 million, so it will need to gross a minimum of $370 million overall to break even and must pass the $400 million mark to be considered sufficiently profitable by the studio. Maybe Star Trek Beyond will reach that goal, but if it doesn’t, this could put the future of the Trek movie franchise in doubt.