Abrams Still Not Confirmed To Direct | TrekMovie.com
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Abrams Still Not Confirmed To Direct December 6, 2006

by Anthony Pascale , Filed under: Abrams,STXI Status , trackback

In the recent story about comments from Viacom CEO Philippe Dauman we noted that Variety had stated that JJ Abrams was ‘slated to direct’ Star Trek XI. This of course would be newsworthy if it were true because just recently Abrams told TrekMovie he had not yet decided and would not decide until the script was complete. Some other sites have taken the Variety article as confirmation from Dauman that Abrams has made that decision, but it appears that this is a bit premature. TrekMovie has a transcript of Dauman’s comments to the CSFB conference and he made no mention of Abrams at all. The ‘Abrams directing’ line was added by Variety, something which they have done before and to which Abrams has noted they were wrong on. TrekMovie has also checked with a source inside Paramount who attributes it to ‘lazy journalism’. Although everyone assumes Abrams will be the director, it is still officially undecided.

Wiggle room on the 08 release?
Dauman possibly did break some news though. In his remarks about Trek he said it was a ’08 or 09′ release. This could mean that the Summer 08 release date is flexible. In the TrekMovie.com interview last month with Abrams he did state that they plan to start shooting in the Spring of 07 to make Paramount’s goal of a Summer 08 release, but he also stated that he wished he had more time. Sources indicate that the first draft of the script is almost certainly complete and that they are still on track, TrekMovie.com will of course continue to monitor the films status.

Transcript of Dauman Trek comment
Star Trek came up as part of the Q&A session at the CSFB conference with investors, it was in response to a question about Paramount franchises…

Question:
5 of the top 10 films in 2005/2006 are franchise or sequel films. It looks like 2007 is going to continue that trend in the industry. In 2007 you will participate in that trend with the distribution of Shrek 3 and you have got Indiana Jones 4 on the slate for 2008 and assuming you’ll make another Mission Impossible, potentially with a different cast…Just wondering is that enough franchises? You mentioned tentpoles, do you believe in building these franchises? They are expensive to do, a lot of capital to create these franchises…do you believe in them? 

Dauman:
you forgot the Jackass franchise. But seriously  you should look at our brands as being franchises in a way. They have an audiences identification and so I do view those as a franchise. That is one of the reasons why I wanted to put out a BET film next year, that is an opportunity for us in that marketplace. Um we have for example Star Trek which is a franchise that was profitable for us over the years. We are going to be looking at reviving that franchise in a new and interesting way, that’s again not an 07 release but 08 or 09. Um I think if you have a successful movie like Transformers as a possibility in July that could become a franchise. You have to be opportunistic when looking at the potential for franchises

It is significant that his remarks were in context of Trek as a franchise. This implies that Paramount are hoping to see more than just one film from Trek in the near future. 

 

Source: CSFB 

Comments

1. acb - December 6, 2006

yeah, I read a couple of sites this morning that were proclaiming Abrams as announced to direct. Thought that did not make sense. I guess that is what trekmovie.com is here for.

2. Adam Cohen - December 6, 2006

Dauman doesn’t sound terribly concrete on many details, so I don’t know if his ambivalence should be read into as anything but his own vague knowledge of the facts.

On one hand, I want this movie out like yesterday. But on the other hand, they need to move ahead with care and do this project correctly. That means the script needs to be tight, the best possible director needs to be available and they need to get the right people in front of the camera too. If they are planning on making tons of money off of this franchise, Viacom better treat the project with respect and patience.

3. Adam Cohen - December 6, 2006

As an aside, I see Dauman mention The Transformers, another Orci/Kurtzman project. That movie is tentatively designed to be part one in a trilogy (the actors are under contract, I don’t know what Bay’s involvement is past this movie).

My point is, Anthony, are there any indications that there is a long-term multi-film/tv plan in place for Trek?

4. Anthony Pascale - December 6, 2006

bear in mind that Trek is only in development and has yet to get the official greenlight. when that happens people will be signed up to various contracts which could involve multipicture options (which is fairly normal for things like this these days). Abrams and his team are already under a multi-year overall deal with Paramont of course.

RE: Dauman doesn’t sound concrete
yes I don think his 2008/09 thing is relevent, but maybe. The important thing to not is that when the guy asks him ‘do you guys believe in franchise tentpoles’ his first example was Star Trek.

5. Adam Cohen - December 6, 2006

Anthony,

As you reported, clearly Abrams did a good job of impressing the VIACOM brass with their recent meeting. As an aside, do you know what kind of budget the studio is going to grant this picture? ST: Nemesis had a $60 million production budget. Obviously, there’s no way to know for sure, I just wonder if you’ve heard a ballpark figure being tossed around.

6. Flake - December 6, 2006

$60 Million doesnt go very far, note that Nemesis used standing sets from previous TV shows and movies plus some redressed sets (Valdores bridge for example)

Only one scene in Nemesis was filmed on location, the Dune buggy sequence, whoopee.

The rest went on FX and Picards salary (Patrick Stewart got $14,000,000 for NEM, Brent Spiner probably got $5,000,000). Therefore if they want to make something that wont be laughed at – its got to be $100 million.

7. Dave - December 6, 2006

Based on other films that Paramount has released that were going to be BIG films for the studio, I’d predict a budget between $100 and $125 million. Still not mega by studio “Summer Movie Budget” standards, but respectible. Obviously not a direct-to-video release. :)

If casting unknowns in any of the major roles, drop $10 – $15 off that estimate.

8. Anthony Pascale - December 6, 2006

i suspect that Dave is in the right ballpark…but too early to tell. But you cant make a ‘tentpole’ summer movie for $60 million

9. Adam Cohen - December 6, 2006

Of course, the size of the budget tells us what the studio expects in terms of gross receipts. Only one Star Trek movie of the ten has crossed the domestic $100 million mark. And Nemesis made only $42 million. And like you are all saying, this is going to be (as of now) a summer “tentpole” release, which means the studio wants a movie that makes around $150-200 million. That’s an extremely tall order for any movie let alone a Trek release. Even considering the fact that we have a new approach (Abrams) and the likely return (in cameo form) of Shatner and Nimoy, I’m worried about Viacom’s expectations.

Basically, the studio wants Abrams to hit a grand-slam during his first at-bat with Star Trek.

10. Flake - December 6, 2006

Paramount could do far worse than spend $100 million on Trek, they could remake the Poseidon adventure for instance…. oh wait….!

11. Adam Cohen - December 6, 2006

Woah, I just realized that 15 years ago to the day, the final TOS movie, Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country, was released nationwide. Where did all that time go?

12. Flake - December 6, 2006

If Abrams stays faithful to the show and its also a good movie it’ll be a hit.

All he needs is a good script.

The fact that its Star Trek with a new Kirk, Spock & McCoy on the Enterprise with the same sets, colours and characters (obviously tweaked to look cool again, yet still retain the ‘look’) as the TV show, it will get folks in the theatre. Old fans will come back as well as folks who simply lost interest in recent years.

I hope that some 30-40yr old goes along too see it with his/her kids, he/she will feel all nostalgic – as if being transported (pun intended) back to when they where a child watching their favourite show, whilst sat next to them their own kid will being enjoying the movie thinking it looks cool – plenty of action & adventure – back to basics……… bring it on.

I am making assumptions of course, if he radically changes it to look like BSG or ‘X-Men’ etc then it deserves to crash & burn – don’t piss people off too much by straying too far from the source material…….. i’m not saying BSG or X-Men are bad, just that it wouldn’t suit Trek, particularly not something reportedly set during or prior to the five year mission.

13. Adam Cohen - December 6, 2006

See, I’m kind of for a real re-boot at this point,

TOS has been done, and it’s been done well. We have 78 episodes, 6 movies, an animated series, many many books, comics, and other media representing the Shatner/Nimoy/Kelley versions of these great characters.

Maybe it would be worth a re-boot to free up some creativity and make the whole thing fresh again. I know, I blaspheme as I write these words, but one could also argue that the rumored approach that Abrams will take is only a different form of blasphemy, to recast the characters within the continuity is troublesome too.

I don’t know about y’all, but I always thought Bryan Singer’s decision to keep Superman Returns in the Richard Donner continuity was a mistake, unecessarily hindering Singer from branching out in little ways to make the character fresh and exciting. Here too, there’s too much established continuity to deal with that Abrams may have his hands tied by going back to these established characters with the noose of 40 years of history around his neck. A reboot gets that noose off in a big way.

14. steve - December 6, 2006

Adam,

I agree completely with you, a reboot that sticks to the basics of the concept and characters is the best way to go. To add to your blasphemy, the vast majority of the universe cares not one wit about TOS or Shatner or Nimoy (in fact, none of the people I know under 30 have ever SEEN an entire TOS episode, and many have never seen it at all). So to be totally reverential to the original to the point where the audience is scratching its collective head trying to figure out what’s going on would, in my mind, be the kiss of death.

And, since you brought it up, the big problem with Superman Returns to me was that it didn’t stick to Donner’s original ENOUGH (Christopher Reeve would never have gotten Lois pregnant accidentally and then run out on her)!

15. jonboc - December 6, 2006

Reboots are really lame in my opinion. I really can’t stand them and I’m grateful that Abrahms wants to retain the identity and integrity of TOS. But it scares me. Depends on how crazy he gets with trying to put his “stamp” on the property. You know, if you’re going to “re-imagine” something…anything…to the point where it doesn’t resemble the original anymore, just call it something else for crying out loud. It’s just lazyness, trying to cash in on brand name recognition because it’s easier. The studios and writers aren’t confident enough in their own abilities to create a new universe so they hitch a ride on something that is already established…then “re-imagine” it and try to peddle it to the masses as something familiar…yet different. We’ll call it Star Trek, but we’ll change the dynamics for todays savy crowd…we’ll get clever and make Spock a woman and she’s pregnant! And we’ll re-design the look of those cheesy uniforms, More leather and buckles and stuff. Then let’s change the phasers back to lasers, because hell, everyone knows what a laser is…then lets put a CGI engineer in there, some wild alien….but we’ll keep Scotty, just make him this alcoholic old pilot who has let life pass him by.

yuck.

You know, if studios and writers can’t come up with something original, don’t butcher someone elses idea by trying to make it your own. Just leave it be.

16. MichaelT - December 6, 2006

I appreciate all your concerns. I have mine too. But it’s premature to speculate that deeply into a movie that’s not been given a green-light yet… don’t you agree?
Plus I believe that Abrams was quoted as saying they would adhere to canon… I don’t recall the actual quote, but it’s back near the begining of all this.

17. THEETrekMaster - December 7, 2006

Over at Trekweb, they are reporting Abrams as the director…the dumbasses. LOL!!!

18. Adam Cohen - December 7, 2006

Variety ran a piece saying the same thing. CHUD.com quoted that article and Dark Horizons quoted them. TrekMovie is my ONLY trusted source for Trek news. If they also reported on world events, I wouldn’t even bother reading anything else.

19. James Heaney (fka Wowbagger) - December 7, 2006

Tony: any chance of getting somebody at the studio to comment on the record? Basically, over at Wikipedia, on the Great Hierarchy Of Reliable Entertainment News Sources, Variety comes in somewhere in the top 5, and because, sad to say, not everyone is a Star Trek fan, TMR comes in somewhere lower, possibly even below the top 6 (incredibly! :P). Quoting anonymous sources from this site just doesn’t cut it if I’m trying to contradict Variety’s concrete affirmative statement, even though Variety was pretty clearly doing some sloppy reporting.

I understand if such a statement isn’t possible, but I thought it worth asking.

20. Anthony Pascale - December 7, 2006

Here is my evidence they are wrong
1. The first Variety story in April said he would direct, something that is clearly wrong (showing that Variety is not infallible)
2. TrekMovie.com interviewed Abrams just a few weeks ago and he said he wouldnt decide until the script is done….which hasnt happened yet.
3. Philippe Dauman did not mention Abrams in his remarks to the CSFB, the Abrams thing was added by Variety.

 

…all of the above are self evident and not based on rumor or unnamed sources and all are entirely verifiable.  so my studio source saying Variety got it wrong is number 4, but it is not the only reason for my report. 

 

 

So there are two possibilities
1. Variety was repeating it\’s erroneous report that he will direct
2. Variety has confirmed that Abams has made his decision in the weeks between the TrekMovie.com interview and today

I have contacted the reporter at Variety, but based on the above and my conversations with Paramount it is 100% clear to me that Variety are just repeating their old report…probably because they dont know that Abrams has denied it. They don\’t follow these things that closely really

and in the end Abrams will probably direct….it just isnt confirmed yet.

21. Orbitalic - December 7, 2006

Thanks, Tony

22. James Heaney (fka Wowbagger) - December 8, 2006

Excellent. That ought to do nicely. Thanks, Tony!

23. THEETrekMaster - December 8, 2006

“Variety ran a piece saying the same thing. CHUD.com quoted that article and Dark Horizons quoted them. TrekMovie is my ONLY trusted source for Trek news. If they also reported on world events, I wouldn’t even bother reading anything else.”

I am right there with ya, Adam!

TTM

24. barkingupatree - December 10, 2006

Just the fact that this new movie script is a lock worries me..where can it go?

I’d rather see the start of Generation 4, with the birth of the Temeral ship’s and the end of the Voyager and Next Generations cast except now you could do scenes with ANY of the past cast’s and really expand..how about the Book series? Tiberious and the alt universe?
Just so lame in movie industries thinking..no sense what the show is about.

25. barkingupatree - December 10, 2006

Just the fact that this new movie script is a lock worries me..where can it go?

I’d rather see the start of Generation 4, with the birth of the Temperal ship’s and the end of the Voyager and Next Generations cast except now you could do scenes with ANY of the past cast’s and really expand..how about the Book series? Tiberious and the alt universe?
Just so lame in movie industries thinking..no sense what the show is about.

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