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…
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?
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.