‘Star Trek’ Passes TMP To Become Most Attended Film In Franchise (Domestically) | TrekMovie.com
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‘Star Trek’ Passes TMP To Become Most Attended Film In Franchise (Domestically) June 20, 2009

by Anthony Pascale , Filed under: CBS/Paramount,Star Trek (2009 film) , trackback

The new Star Trek film is now in its seventh weekend and it still is in the top ten at the box office, ranking 7th in sales from Friday’s estimates domestically. With almost $236M in domestic sales, the new Star Trek has passed another milsestone, being the most attended Trek film in the franchise. See below for the latest details and analysis.


Box Office Update: still in 7th in 7th weekend
Last weekend Star Trek ended up in 7th place, and even though two new films opened yesterday, it still is in seventh place (in its seventh weekend). Star Trek continues to outsell many films that came out in the weeks after its realease, including Angels & Demons, Terminator Salvation, and Land of the Lost. [BOM: Friday Estimates]

  Film Fri 6/19 

Total Dom / days

1 THE PROPOSAL $12,406,000 $12,406,000 / 1
2 YEAR ONE $8,500,000 $8,500,000 / 1
3 THE HANGOVER $8,465,000 $134,529,000 / 15
4 UP $6,105,000 $208,881,000 / 22
5 THE TAKING OF PELHAM 1 2 3 $3,200,000 $35,232,000 / 8
6 NIGHT AT THE MUSEUM 2 $2,150,000 $150,803,000 / 29
7 STAR TREK $1,250,000 $235,994,000 / 43
8 LAND OF THE LOST $1,237,000 $40,934,000 / 15
9 IMAGINE THAT $990,000 $9,241,000 / 8
10 TERMINATOR SALVATION $840,000 $117,283,000 / 30

There aren’t Friday numbers yet internationally, but as of Thursday Star Trek’s overseas total was $120,579,917, giving it a global total of $356,564,917 (plus Friday’s overseas).

Domestically Star Trek remains the #1 movie of 2009, but it looks like Pixar’s Up will likely be the first film to pass Trek, sometime later this month. However, Star Trek has a good chance to be in (or very close) to the top 5 for 2009. Star Trek is on track to break $360M worldwide by the end of this weekend, which would move it up the global ranks to 3rd place, passing Wolverine [note BOM overseas data lags a few days behind]. By the end of the year Star Trek still has a chance to be in the top 10 of films globally. However, Star Trek’s worldwide sales rank is due to the strength of its domestic sales. When you look just at its overseas sales, the film is ranked 7th as of last week’s data (behind many of the films it is beating domestically). By the end of the year the international sales for Star Trek will likely be in the 15-25th place range, mostly due to weaker sales in non English-speaking markets. [TrekMovie will have a more detailed look at Trek’s international sales in the coming weeks as more data comes in].

Most attended Star Trek film (domestically)
The big milestone that Star Trek passed on Friday was the inflation adjusted domestic gross for Star Trek The Motion Picture of $235,305,065 (based off Box Office Mojo’s 1979 $82,258,456M gross, adjusted for 1979 ticket prices). Based on the the Friday estimated total for Star Trek of $235,994,000, the new movie is almost $700K past the TMP mark, and has now sold more tickets domestically than any Trek film ever. Here is a chart of the Star Trek movie franchise, in terms of tickets sold.

There are other ways to calculate the inflation adjusted grosses, but we are using the BOM version using actual ticket prices. If you prefer the buying power calculator method, that would give TMP the figure of $242.3M in 2009 dollars, which Star Trek should pass by the end of June (if not sooner). Star Trek’s trajectory still looks like it will top out close to $250M. 

As for the all-time global franchise record, Star Trek’s inflation adjusted sales have exceeded all other Trek films listed on Box Office Mojo (by any calculation), however BOM does not have international data for TMP. But using the figures at TheNumbers.com would give TMP an inflation adjusted global gross of $409.5M (there really is no way to determine the international ticket sales with the various ticket prices for each country, changes in various currencies, and inflation, etc.). As the new Star Trek film will probably top out between $370M and $380M globally, it will probably come a bit short of that box office total, but it almost certainly will make up for it with home sales and merchandising revenue (which is a much bigger part of a film’s total these days).

However, much of this comparison to a film from 30 years ago is really irrelevent and mostly for some fun with numbers and playing with charts. From Paramount’s perspective, the thing they are looking at is how Star Trek is faring compared to other recent comparable films, and by that standard the new Star Trek is very much a success. Like Warner Brother’s did for Batman Begins (which grossed $372M globally in 2005), JJ Abrams and his team have effectively brought a lagging franchise back into the mainstream.


1. That One Guy - June 20, 2009

It’s still going strong. That’s good to hear.

2. jastrek_montreal - June 20, 2009

that almost put a tear to my eye. Treks back everyone. After almost death. Congrads to the new team and to all the fans. May this great dream envisioned by Gene live on…..

3. Admiral Dougherty - June 20, 2009

I honestly can say after the first few weeks, I saw this day coming, just didn’t think it would be as soon as it’s been.

4. EFFeX - June 20, 2009

Week after week this movie continues to surprise me, congrats!

5. Melissa - June 20, 2009

I cant wait until it comes to my home town.

lol j/k

6. C.S. Lewis - June 20, 2009

“(there really is no way to determine the international ticket sales with the changes in various currencies, and inflation, etc.)”

According to GAAP, historical currencies translations are considered final. In other words, the only translation rate that matters is the rate at that particular time, whether measured as an average exchange rat for the period (“month”) in question, or the final/closing rate on the final day for the period.

Therefore, to discount TMP’s worldwide take in 1979 to 2009 dollars (i.e., nominal to real dollars), one must multiply the 1979 worldwide revenue by the desired inflation statistic to produce today’s present value.

This is a long-established accounting principle and it allows comparison of apples to apples. If one were to recreate historical currency translations by using present-day factors, the result would be meaningless, an exercise in unactionable fantasizing!

Naturally, this is only an estimate as inflation is not the same everywhere at every time. Inflation can vary within the US depending on the distribution of money at the time and other factors on the demand side.

Also, as you point out, “purchasing power” is not related to inflation as it is defined today, since distribution channels and product types have changed quite radically since 1979. (Think of the effect Wal-Mart and Sam’s Club have on household expenditures relative to a mom-and-pop grocery store of that time; then consider e-Commerce and the Internet and the changes it imposed on the maketspace. So it is with entertainment options and the relative personal valuation of the worth of a movie ticket.

In any event, the basic formula for discounting any cash flow is pretty straight-forward. It is simply the principle amount multiplied by the exponential e (~2.78) to the power of -r*t where r = the discount factor expressed in terms of unity (i.e., 1.0 = 100%) and t is the matching time period by which r is expressed. The discount factor for prior periods should be the inflation estimate (you’ll see this called the “deflator”) and there might be competing deflators depending on who does the estimation. In any event, to bring prior periods into present value, you’ll need to make sure r>1.0.

Straight ticket sales in quantity sold might be a better way to assess popularity, although I think ticket prices + impulse buys (e.g., popcorn) are higher today as a percentage of income than in 1979, or at least it seems this way to this MBA financial management consultant.

C.S. Lewis

7. Anthony Pascale - June 20, 2009

my point is that there is no way to know what the ticket prices were for every country in the 1979 data and back that out of the total sold, or at least no easy way. There is no way to make a chart of international ticket sales like the domestic one.

8. Jaykay The Scotsman - June 20, 2009

totally immense!! even my mate wants to see it again, maybe i’ll find another chance to see it again in the cinema, if not i’ll buy 20 copies on blu ray!!

9. CmdrR - June 20, 2009

Me = 3
AdmR = 1
The Lts = 2
EnsR = 0 (they didn’t charg, but he was there, so add one more to your tally.)
The Ex (a salt vampire) =1

10. George - June 20, 2009

Wake me when we get some news regarding the DVD release, Directors Cut, or something else of interest.

The fascination with Box Office numbers just escapes me…..

11. CaptainDonovin - June 20, 2009

I knew our little movie could do it. [tears of happiness stream down]

Gotta say I’m impressed by how much more it took in over Land of the Lost & Terminator Friday (which was the 19th not the 16th). It got another $6.50 from me yesterday.

12. Chadwick - June 20, 2009

Funny just watched TMP on blu-ray today for the first time….VERY IMPRESSED better than DVD, but would have preferred the directors cut version….Paramount…get on it already.

I am so happy the numbers keep growing. I eagerly await the final global sales total. Will this movie last into August or cut out by July? With the success, hype, and excitement it is going to be bloody hard waiting two years for the next movie. As incredible and jaw dropping as this movie is I think the next movie will leave us speechless, blow our minds, and jerk our tears. My heart was beating so fast throughout the entire movie when I saw it for the first time…it was almost surreal, like an out of body experience. Even seeing photos and clips I was not ready for what I was about to see. When I walked out of the theatre I wasn’t jumping for joy and bursting with energy, I was over satisfied and was so surprised at how great the movie was that I had no reaction if that makes sense. I was just trying to digest everything I saw..it stayed with me for days. This movie clings to you like glue, everyone I know who has seen it loves it. I have seen it 5 times…probably go once more…my sister loved it, now my mother has to see it.

Congrats to everyone involved, this movie was above and beyond and the next movie will only surpass.

13. ShinRa Actual - June 20, 2009

Concur with 10…the running commentary that basically has been a weekly repeat of “Wow, Star Trek’s doing good, here’s some numbers” is getting a bit stale. It’s not ‘news’ anymore, just overkill statistics.

Of much more interest is what Paramount/CBS is going to do now that it’s got the mainstream interest. Beyond the inveitable sequel(s), now’s the time to start looking into other aspects of keeping the franchise alive. in 6 months, will there still be as much an interest? a year? Not unless there’s news of things in the pipeline, besides another movie in 3+ years

14. Gene L. Coon was a U. S. Marine. Stand at ease. - June 20, 2009

6 Impressive analysis, as usual. But It seems the simplest metric would be number of tickets sold. Problem is, I don;t think that data is (or was) gathered. It seems to be simply dividing the BO take by average ticket price in the year in question. Inexact.

The National League used to just count turnstile attendance day-of-game. Then they went to the American League model of tickets sold. This inflates attendance, because it doesn’t account for no-shows. The simplest metric is always best. I like tickets sold for measuring movies.

15. Chadwick - June 20, 2009

Meh domestic sales in my opinion don’t matter in this day an age of globalization. After inflation TMP made just over $400 world wide….Star Trek XI will sadly not top that.

Hey Anthony maybe when the movie is no longer in theaters and we can gather a finally tally you could do a little article on the star trek movie budgets and revenue before and after inflation. I think it would be interesting. Delve into which movies used ILM and how that really didn’t matter in the grand scheme of things unless a decent script was written. I think it would be interesting. Not sure if these number are right but was what I was able to gather with regards to international sales.

Budget Revenue Inflation Revenue
1979 Star Trek TMP 136 min $35M $139M $407M
2009 Star Trek 126 min $150M $356.6M $356.6M
1986 Star Trek TVH 119 min $24M $133 M $257.8M
1982 Star Trek TWOK 116 min $12M $96.8M $213.4M
1996 Star Trek FC 111 min $46M $150 M $198.4M
1984 Star Trek TSFS 105 min $18M $87M $178M
1994 Star Trek G 118 min $38M $120 M $172.1M
1998 Star Trek I 103 min $70M $117.8M $155.1M
1991 Star Trek TUC 113 min $27M $96.9M $151.4M
1989 Star Trek TFF 107 min $30M $70.2 M $108M 2002 Star Trek N 116 min $60M $67.3M $79.7M

16. Hat Rick - June 20, 2009

It’s nice to know that Trek is still going strong!

I would like to see a story about how the recent departures of Messrs. Lesher and Weston might affect Trek. ( http://www.variety.com/article/VR1118005201.html?categoryid=18&cs=1 ) The website Airlock Alpha and others have said that Lesher is Paramount’s “Star Trek guy.” ( http://www.airlockalpha.com/node/6457 )

However, arguably, Viacom CEO Philippe Dauman is the primary “Star Trek guy,” as he spoke very highly of Trek in a recent Viacom meeting. I believe that Viacom essentially owns Paramount. If so, Dauman would be superior to Brad Grey, who is said to have requested Lesher’s and Weston’s departure.

I raised this question in another thread (and thanks to the person who responded).

17. Hat Rick - June 20, 2009

Correction: Dauman is the chairman, not CEO, of Viacom. An even higher position.

18. Sarah - June 20, 2009

Woo-Hoo!!!! That’s something to be proud of!

19. opcode - June 20, 2009

I believe those who don’t care about box office have the option of not reading news about box office. How about that?

20. tomcatjosh - June 20, 2009

Maybe Trek Can Keep The Lead Until Transformers comes out. That will take Treks audience, but Ups will go too. If trek can maintain this lead until Transformers, Ups audience will be diminished. So, if Trek has the lead, transformers breaks it by taking Up and treks audience, You have

1. Transformers

2 Star Trek

3. UP

Heres my entire list while im thinking about it:

1. Transformers

2. Star Trek

3. New Moon

4. Up

5. Hangover

21. Anthony Pascale - June 20, 2009

Dauman is President and CEO of viacom. Sumner is Chairman. Yesterday’s Paramount shakeup has no affect on Trek relly. Trek and Abrams has strong support with Brad Grey, Dauman, Rob Moore and other execs. The guys who were removed yesterday were only put into their positions last year, after Trek was greenlit, so they were only transitional anyway. The changes have more to do with the post DreamWorks Paramount and the rest of the slate. There is zero affect on the Star Trek sequel, not really worth mentioning.

The only Paramount variables to consider right now are if someone decides MI4 is more important than Trek and/or if Paramount merges and there is a change in management with new priorities.

But Trek is a big enough success that there is little stopping it right now, it has a momentum that demands a sequel. The only real variables now are budget and release date. The default being to essentially just repeat what they did with the first one with a sim budget and early summer 2011. As recently as yesterday Orci was talking about how Paramount are in a hurry for the sequel, i have heard the same from other insiders. But new people could make changes making Trek bigger or smaller, and maybe moving the date. For example one of the only things Lesher had to do with Star Trek was moving the date from xmas 08 to summer 09, something he did the first month on the job

i looked at all that but didn’t think it was an interesting story since it is very inside baseball.

22. Chadwick - June 20, 2009

A quick unrelated question if someone can answer.

Q: Why is it that Starfleet vessels also referred to federation vessels do not bear the federation logo anywhere on the outer hull? Plenty of Starfleet delta shields logo’s on the saucer, the secondary hull, the warp nacells but no federation crest. Is there a reason for this in canon or an “Okuda” or “Eaves” design reason reason?

23. Mr. Anonymous - June 20, 2009

Okay, so, why are my posts being deleted? I was the 3rd poster earlier this evening, and now it’s been removed? All I typed was “Ha, awesome” concerning the good news about Trek’s success. What the heck?!

24. Chadwick - June 20, 2009

@ 19. opcode Brilliant!!!

25. Hat Rick - June 20, 2009

Thanks, Anthony, for the correction and the insight. I really appreciate it.

26. Greg2600 - June 20, 2009

There are 80 million more people in the country now than 1979.

27. nobull-23 - June 20, 2009

There is also Home Video (DVD, Blu Ray) and HDTV

28. Hat Rick - June 20, 2009

True, 25, but there are also many more entertainment distractions for people to engage in than 1979.

In 1979, there were the three main networks and local channels that mainly ran repeats and small-time programming. Cable was a tiny fraction of what it is now. Video games (think: Atari 2600) weren’t nearly as popular as they are now and only the earliest of first-adopters had computers, which in any event weren’t considered entertainment devices. Although the rudiments of the Internet had already been developed thanks to DARPA and UCLA, the World Wide Web had yet to be invented. DVD’s hadn’t been invented and the VHS format had only been around for a few years.

Movies generally had longer runs at the box office than they do today.

There are many other factors that need to be considered for the best possible comparison.

29. Hat Rick - June 20, 2009

^^I meant to direct the message to 26 (Greg2600), not myself.

30. mdbchud - June 20, 2009

I walked out of my first screening and the only word I could come up with was “perfection”. I have seen it 8 times now and still think that way.

Kudos to JJ, Orci, Kurtzman, etc…and especially the cast. The one thing I thought when I heard of this was “they can never replace the cast”……I was SO proven wrong. The classic actors will always be “family” and never surpassed….but the new ones are just perfect as well…..especially Chris and Zachary.

I really think the box office would continue to soar if we didn’t have to lose so many screens soon for new films. We lost the film here Thursday night and the last showing was packed. Stupid theatre bookers thought we needed 2 screens of “Imagine That” instead of even 1 showing a day of Trek. Dummies!

31. Fubamushu - June 20, 2009

I’ve often wondered why a film’s revenue is counted as opposed to the number of tickets sold. That would be a far more accurate measurement as a ticket sold is a ticket sold and inflation or currency fluctuations have no impact.

I also find it interesting that TMP (considered one of the worst) sold more tickets than TWOK (considered the best) or TVH (considered the most popular with the broadest appeal).

Of course, I saw TMP five times and TWOK and TVH only twice.

32. Anthony Pascale - June 20, 2009

Anonymous, your ‘ha awesome’ comment is in the obama thread

33. Kilo-Three-Zero - June 20, 2009

“There are those who said this day would never come. What have they to say now?”
-Prophet of Truth, Halo 2

Sure, it’s from a different sci-fi franchise, but I think it aptly applies.

34. Mr. Anonymous - June 20, 2009

Oh, my bad, #32. I don’t know why I thought I typed it here. Heh, thanks. =)

35. fansince66 - June 20, 2009

All I know is I like ths Trek, as delivered by JJ,BOB, & ALEX, &,co.
Just keep up the good work, & we will Continue going to the theaters to see it.Is it a deal?

36. RD - June 20, 2009

#15, Chadwick, I think you and Anthony are both wrong about where ST09 will top out. I wouldn’t have said so a month ago, but given that it’s only about $50M away and it continues to best newer pics at the boxoffice, I have renewed interest – it may actually have a chance.

In day 43, “Batman Begins” was only at $192.8M domestically and earning quite a bit less than Trek per day. It stayed in the box office another 98 days and closed at $205.4M earning another $13M. However, Trek is earning better than Batman Begins. If Trek stays in the box office another 98 days, it only has to earn an average of $500,000/day worldwide. Considering it is currently doing almost 11 times that domestically on the weekends alone, that’s not a very high target.

Will it close the TMP earnings performance gap after the $142M budget is recouped? Not likely. ST09 would have to earn another $50M. It has beaten out TVH as the 2nd highest grossing film after deducting the budget.

But Anthony is right. As long as it performs as well as Batman Begins, and MI:III (which earned less than $400M worldwide and still got a sequel despite its political problems) is all that matters. Of course, adjusted for inflation, Batman Begins made $416.6M and MI:III made $436.1 and ST09 will definitely not finish as well as those films. Nevertheless, it simply costs more to make a blockbuster today than it did in 1979 or even 1986.

As for worldwide grosses, anything close to $400M is nothing to sneeze at. That puts it in the top 10 worldwide grossers for the last 5 years.

37. The Original Spock's Brain - June 20, 2009

# 6. C.S. Lewis

You’re consistent, I have to grant you.

38. Prologic9 - June 20, 2009

“I’ve often wondered why a film’s revenue is counted as opposed to the number of tickets sold. That would be a far more accurate measurement as a ticket sold is a ticket sold and inflation or currency fluctuations have no impact”

Because the environment for a film released today is absolutely nothing like it was 20 years ago… 30 years ago.. even just 10 years ago.

In the 80’s the advent of home video completely changed the game. The DVD burst of last decade changed it even more. Today when a film is released, we take for granted that you’ll be able to watch it pretty much whenever you want, however you want from now until the day you die.

39. Hat Rick - June 20, 2009

RD, could you please clarify your statement, “Nevertheless, it simply costs more to make a blockbuster today than it did in 1979 or even 1986.”

Thanks in advance.

40. Enterprise - June 20, 2009

Batman Begins was kind of a bomb. I was shocked when all the nandwagon jumpers showed up for Dark Knight. How did that movie make so much money? It’s a good movie, but it’s overrated.

41. RD - June 20, 2009

31. Fubamushu wrote: why a film’s revenue is counted as opposed to the number of tickets sold.

That method would only account for the number of viewings and not the price of the ticket. They would have to account for children, senior, matinee, $1 movie houses, etc. In 1979 that would have been virtually impossible. Today far easier, though still problematic and certainly not worldwide. At the end of the day, all that matters is how much money is in the bag with the $$ signs on it. That’s what the average ticket price calculation is designed to account for in inflation adjustments. It ain’t pretty but then neither is the movie business.

Fubamushu wrote: “I also find it interesting that TMP (considered one of the worst) sold more tickets than TWOK (considered the best) or TVH (considered the most popular with the broadest appeal).

I think that’s fairly easy to answer. IMO, Trek had been off the air for a decade after a massive fan-based campaign to get it renewed for a third and final season. It rew in popularity in syndication and there was much anticipation by the fans. I think it is a similar phenomenon as we are seeing with ST09. Admittedly you saw TMP 5 times. Many people on this forum have seen ST09 on average of 4 times. But there was also the general audience factor as it plays today. Trek was coming on the heels of the phenomenal success of “Star Wars” and audiences had a thirst for space movies of which there were very few in the late 70s. Star Wars would not release a sequel for another year, but along came TMP to satiate the masses. Then there was the familiarity with the characters. In 1979 I would bet very few people didn’t know what Star Trek was or who Captain Kirk and Mr. Spock were (the same cannot be said for TNG). Add to that the nostalgia of an iconic series that people remembered fondly, a G rating which encouraged family viewing and the Christmas box-office was overun.

But, TMP was a dud. The internet was not around to spread the word that Trek was a slow moving, plodding film unlike Star Wars to discourage audiences from lining up to see it. And did I mention it was G rated? So it cleaned up at the box office. However, despite TWOK and TVH being far better movies, the damage had been done. General audiences were not likely to return for a movie that featured a guy named Kahn, with whom most general audiences were not familiar. In fact, now that I think about it, that caption almost sounds like a Trekker insider’s story which someone on the outside would not be interested in unless they were a real die-hard fan. It was also rated PG, so families were not as likely to consider it in those days. Plus, TWOK, TSFS, TVH all made about 60% TMP’s box-office. could that account for a 40% general audience who were put off the franchise by TMP? And TVH box-office did go up after two successful Trek films. Also, TWOK & TSFS were Summer movies, competing against other studio’s tent poles. TMP had been a Christmas release as had been TVH – the two highest grossing films. Coincidence? Following TVH, Christmas started to become one of the biggest box-office seasons as Hollywood began to exploit it with bigger films and stiffer competition.

42. Gary Seven - June 20, 2009

There’s a new Trek movie that’s out?

How come no one told me?

43. Gary Seven - June 20, 2009

By the way, I did see a new science fiction movie tonight, although I don’t think it will overtake Star Trek in terms of overall gross. It’s “Moon” and I really liked it. It’s intelligent and a real throwback to old-school sci fi. But don’t worry; I’m seeing Star Trek for the sixth time later in the week.

44. Mr. "There are always possibilities" - June 20, 2009


I am enjoying the BO updates, and comparisons to other ST films as well as other films, including re-boots. Thanks for doing this.

Live long and propser, and boldly go!

45. RD - June 20, 2009

#39. In 1979 it cost George Lucas $11M, $32M adjusted for inflation, to make “Star Wars”. In 1980 it cost $85M adjusted to make “The Empire Strikes Back”. In 1983, $68M adj. to make “Return of the Jedi”.

By comparison it cost $147M adj. to make “The Phantom Menace” in 1999, $136M for “Attack of the Clones” in 2002 and $123M to make “Revenge of the Sith” in 2005.

Every single one of those films grossed over or close to a billion dollars adjusted for inflation. However, the last three films cost significantly more than the first three.

All of today’s tentpole films opening at the Summer box office fall into the $150M-$200M+ budget category. And like Star Wars, most of them have the potential for great merchandising and ancillary tie-ins, which earn for the studio even more fantastically, in addition to huge box office returns. However, in order to compete with other films in this category, they must spend accordingly. There are two things that account for this: star names and special effects. Look at ST09: Abrams ran out of money for engineering on a $150M budget and there wasn’t one star name in the movie, so the costs were mostly in effects – and it shows!

So, just like a car dealer may sell an SUV for less today than it did 10 years ago, even though it costs the car maker the same to make it. If the car dealer wants to sell SUVs they have to take less money per vehicle and make it up in volume.

46. toddk - June 20, 2009

I was embarrased by the “land of the lost” trailer at the theater. by looking at the graph above, now i know i’m not alone. I just dont think wil farrel is funny.

47. S. John Ross - June 20, 2009

Congratulations to the filmmakers on their marketable product.

48. Trekkie1975 - June 20, 2009

With the movie putting up numbers like these it may be time for Paramount/CBS to begin talk of a new series in addition to the obvious sequel.

Then again this box office explosion could largely be the result of novelty, with not as many fans won over as one would hope.

49. Hat Rick - June 20, 2009

RD, thanks for the explanation, which was thorough and quite logical. However, I’m still having trouble understanding your paragraph,

“But Anthony is right. As long as it performs as well as Batman Begins, and MI:III (which earned less than $400M worldwide and still got a sequel despite its political problems) is all that matters. [b]Of course, adjusted for inflation, Batman Begins made $416.6M and MI:III made $436.1 and ST09 will definitely not finish as well as those films.[/b] Nevertheless, it simply costs more to make a blockbuster today than it did in 1979 or even 1986.”

I was wondering if you could explain the relationship between greater cost (“Nevertheless, it simply costs more…”) and your statement about ST2009’s not making as much as BB or MI3. How does the fact that blockbusters cost more negate the effect of BB’s and MI3’s greater take vis-a-vis ST2009?

Thanks again.

50. Not First! - June 21, 2009

I concur; he always manages to slide-in a good elitist and condescending remark about his MBA, his career, etc. Maybe Trekmovie.com is where he comes to validate himself?


37. The Original Spock’s Brain – June 20, 2009
# 6. C.S. Lewis

You’re consistent, I have to grant you.

51. Buzz Cagney - June 21, 2009

Congratulations to all concerned on your fine achievement!

52. pizi - June 21, 2009

I am from Slovakia and last Friday I went on Star Trek, because
it finally came to our small town.
It was second screening day and it came only 35 people to see it.
This is very sad.
Cinema manager told me that he was thinking that Star Trek with its
worldwide success will be successful in our country too. But that is not true.
People in our country are only watching this stupid brainwashing teenage comedies.
I must say that I really enjoyed the film.
I have only one problem with it. The subtitles were horrible. I think that people who translate sci-fi movies should consult the translation with an expert. Many people in my country can’t speak English, they want to see Star Trek, but their experience is degraded by lousy translation.

53. MC1701B - June 21, 2009

49. It doesn’t, He’s an ST09 worshipper grasping for anything to justify how a movie that’s still not profitable is a success.

54. MC1701B - June 21, 2009

20. Do the words “Harry Potter” mean anything to you?

55. Spockish - June 21, 2009

English was one of my weakest subjects in High School, example are not family pets spelled Dawg and Kat. Could not spell but grammer passed. So I read the headline.

‘Star Trek’ Passes TMP To Become Most Attended Film In Franchise (Domestically)

and it looked funny in the grammar department. It was missing the ‘THE’ between ‘IN’ and ‘FRANCHISE’ so I place the missing verb and it still looked odd so I changed the word ‘IN’ to ‘OF’ to make it look correct to me. I do not mean to play a stuck up prude English teacher. I’m just saying the headline authors do have their off days and just want them to notice a very minor error for this great web site.

Here is how I would have frased it, does anyone else notice the minor flaw as I did?

Other than my minor bitching, I’m happy and figured TM would pass TMP in time and with money, but never realized it would be in Attendance also.

Waiting for the DVD to come out, and my friends PS3 wants a Blue Ray of the movie.

And for it making more, it seems that the money calculating staff here have been using inflation compensated/adjusted figures. So the numbers are based on percentages not how high you can count figures.

At least they have looking back at past movies so I figure they are doing the same with current figures, a finatual calculator can handle this with out wasting a spare electron from the batteries.

‘Star Trek’ Passes TMP To Become Most Attended Film of the Franchise (Domestically)

56. MC1701B - June 21, 2009

45. Star Wars was released in 1977, not 1979. You torpedo your entire argument in your first sentence.

57. MC1701B - June 21, 2009

41. TMP made a ton of money because there hadn’t been new Star Trek in ten years. That’s the entire story.

Also, TVH was a Thanksgiving picture, not a Christmas picture. Please don’t tell me they’re the same thing.

58. Spockish - June 21, 2009

#56 I was going to point out the premier date of Star Wars error also, I should now May 25th, 1977 was my 17th birthday. I went to go see it that night, the lines were so long I never got in, but over the next year and 10 days saw it 17 times, And at the time tickets only cost $3.50 and $3.00 on saturday mornings and it played in only one Denver theater for 6 months. And 5 years for a VHS tape to come out that was less than $40.00 (39.95 but to me thats 40 or more with taxes)

Never got a Trek video until DVD’s then had to have TWOK for my 386 with DVD player built-in that my Windows 95 did not like at first, but the Monkey Wards guys upgraded my drivers. And it was Hi-Rez at the time a 800×600 screen.

59. Jordan - June 21, 2009

I am exceedingly proud!

60. Chris Walton - June 21, 2009

I went to see it last night with my sister, 1st time for her 2nd for me, after being out for a little over a month I was honstly expecting there to be a dozen or so people watching but was pleasantly suprised to see it was nearly full!

If my cinema is anything to go by its still going strong here in the UK, at least at weekends.

61. Pat D. - June 21, 2009

Star Trek, too.

As recently as this week, I’ve been in random places ans heard total strangers say, “Hey, I finally saw Star Trek. It was AWESOME!!”

For all my friends who haven’t seen it (and many who have), I announced that I’m going again on Thursday, July 2, 2009, if they want to go, which is Thursday before alot of people get the 3rd as a holiday!

So for everyone who lives all over the place . . let’s all go . . .again! July 2 with a big group of friends.

Boldly go . . .again!

62. Hat Rick - June 21, 2009

Spockish, headlines are often “ungrammatical” that way. The words “the,” “a,” and “an” are often dropped in order to save space to accomodate larger fonts.


“Key Boeing watchers doubt new wing for 777 will fly”


(Grammatically, it should be “Key Boeing watchers doubt that the new wing for the 777 will fly.”)

Sometimes other words, such as “is,” are omitted as well.


“Boeing Dreamliner a no show”


(Grammatically, it should be “The Boeing Dreamliner is a no show.”)

Hope that helps.

63. Hat Rick - June 21, 2009

BTW, the headline style mentioned above might also be referred to as a “telegram” style, in that it is similar to the shortened version of the English language used in wire transmissions during the days when telegraphs and telegrams were the quickest way to convey the most important information.

See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Telegram_style

64. Chadwick - June 21, 2009

@ 36. RD. True enough, but there is the possibility it might just stop earning money as well. Think about it, its only squeezing in a few million every time we get an update from Anthony which is still good but its sales are now creeping and crawling rather than jumping. If this movie stays in theatres through August hell yea it will pass the $400M mark but if they cut it at the end of July it might be a close one. Its going to take longer to get that 50 million than it was to get the first 100 million. But you make a good point and I would love it to keep earning money until the day it leaves the theater.

65. Magic_Al - June 21, 2009

^22. The most likely reason Starfleet ships don’t carry a Federation flag or symbol is the ship models in the original series didn’t have them. The show got pretty far without clarifying what authority might have sent the Enterprise into space. “United Federation of Planets” wasn’t invented until the 24th produced episode.

In-universe, a Starfleet ship’s lack of an exterior flag might represent a post-United Earth philosophy that the projection of outward-facing nationalism is counter-productive, but that’s speculation. I’d further speculate that the concepts of nationalism and sovereignty as understood before the Third World War may have lost currency. From TMP many ships do have United Federation of Planets written on them which is at least an informative label.

66. Hat Rick - June 21, 2009

65, good call.

The Starfleet insignia might be there purely for legal reasons, as well, that nevertheless do not require Federation symbology. There might very well be other Federation ships that are not part of Starfleet — mining ships, for example, or luxury cruisers — and therefore not subject to Starfleet regulations. Starfleet insignia may exist also as a sign of authorized assistance for ships and colonists in distress, kind of like the giant red cross symbol on hospital ships.

We might also consider that while ships in the real world do carry physical flags which are often flown, they do not often have national emblems painted on them. Not even warships typically have national flags painted on them; if anything, the ships of the Federation have an excess of symbology. U.S. and British naval vessels, for example, do not typically display the name of any particular ship, but only their number (e.g., “65” for CVN-65, the U.S.S. Enterprise supercarrier — see: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/a/af/USS_Enterprise_%28CVN-65%29.jpg ).

The semiotics of the Federation (and Star Trek) is something to think about.

67. Pat D. - June 21, 2009


Hopefully Paramount will keep their “strike while the iron (man) is hot” philosophy which they are using pumping out TRANSFORMERS and IRON MAN sequels exactly two years after the original film, and not let MI:4 derail TREK from a 2011 release.

This is in direct contrast to Patrick Stewart’s oft mentioned “I think their needs to be more of an appetite for these films” and then it was 4 years between Insurrection and Nemesis and WHAMMO!! worst performing movie in the history of the franchise!!

68. Hat Rick - June 21, 2009

By rights, MI4 should have happened last year, anyway, given the two-year rule.

69. AJ - June 21, 2009

66: Hatrick:

You link has the ship name distinctly painted just under the Bridge. Also, the name is painted astern per tradition/maritime law, I guess.


As for the UFP vs. the Federation on board ship, it’s been seen often that, during shipboard hearings, the UFP flag stands in the briefing room. On-board, it’s quite clear whom Starfleet serves. The hull is also not the only way a Federation Starship is identified. ID beacons and regular ship-to-ship comms seem to be standard procedure.

70. Hat Rick - June 21, 2009

Granted, 69, but you have to admit that that’s not a particularly prominent place for it to be, particularly when compared with the size of the ships’ names in Trek.

Also, before the phased array radars were removed, the ship did not have the name just under the bridge.

See: http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3027/2840904063_2906a25d85.jpg?v=0

I don’t contest that Starfleet is under the auspices of the Federation, by the way. Not a whit.

71. John Carter - June 21, 2009

To make the statistics completely accurate you should also consider
the number of theathres where the film was shown, for both
TMP and ST09. Now we have more theathres, each one with multiple
films in the same building: so the new film definitely had a major
exposure. Also the population has increased.

I would say that the best thing would be to wait the end of the year,
count how many tickets were sold for ALL the movies of that year,
and then find out the percentage for Star Trek.
This could be made for both the two movies and the comparison
would be inflation, theatres and population-increase proof.

PS Sorry for the raw english :)

72. Hat Rick - June 21, 2009

Also, 69, the Nimitz does not have a similar lettering under its bridge:


It’s correct, however, to say, as you point out, that the ship’s name does appear aft. For example, the USS Port Royal, a cruiser:


73. Shadowcat - June 21, 2009

I have friends, family, and co-workers in both the UK and the US that have seen ST 09 multiple times. My younger brother who likes Star Trek but is not a huge fan has seen it twice. This is someone who saw The Dark Knight and Iron Man multiple times and has them both on DVD. .My sister-in-law in Miami who really doesn’t care for anything remotely science fiction saw it once and liked it. My sister-in-law and brother-in-law on my husband’s side live in the UK and are both huge sci-fi and fantasy fans. They have taken their spouses and children to see Star Trek at least twice. We have talked about the movie on the telephone and via email. I actually got a text from my teenage nephew in Glasgow after he saw ST 09 in IMAX raving about “ace” he thought Star Trek was. I really think Star Trek has captured the hearts of people of all generations.

74. hawaiowa - June 21, 2009

While many have been focusing on the bean-counter profile between TMP and ST2009, there’s another context and that is the audience profile. TMP came out after a significant absence of Trek, (ten or six years, if you include TAS), while this movie comes after a shorter absence. Also, the TMP demographic that didn’t have the variety of choices or genres then as it has now (when Trek came out, it was one of maybe 4 or 5 ‘sci-fi’ TV adventures in the US).

It will be forever debatable if the decision to shift Trek from Dec 08 to May 08 had a significant impact on the box office.

I like the current poll results which show that perusers of this site prefer a new Trek story over a retelling almost 10 to 1. This is perhaps interpretable as a vote of confidence in the new team, and suggestive of a desire by this segment of the fan base to see an expansion of the canon.

75. Johnny Ice - June 21, 2009

I do think Star Trek should measure up to recent movie franchise like Batman Begins and Superman Returns. Star Trek is outperforming both of them and it has a good change to end in 5th to 7th place domestically. However for the sequel Abrams, Orci & Kurtzman need to figure out to how to improve international performance because like Anthony said the end of the year the international sales for Star Trek will most likely be in the 15-25th place range. I think Paramount should try to aim for top ten for the sequel in 2011. I am not sure but i think ST:TMP is the only Trek movie to end in top 10 spot internationally.
However looking at the chart Anthony made. Well i am not sure that Star Trek has passed ST:TMP jet. I don’t think Star Trek has sold 32,868 million. Firstly i think Mojo are still using last year numbers for average ticket price($7.18)
Also we need to look into how many tickets Star Trek has sold in IMAX theater both domestic and internationally vs normal theater. Why? Well for starter isn’t the average ticket price in IMAX close to $12-13 dollars. numbers. This is huge because Star Trek has grossed over $25 million worldwide in IMAX. It would be interesting to do the math next year and see how many ticket Star Trek has sold. Until than it is all guess work.

76. Mike Ten - June 21, 2009

One way to boost international sales is to include some big European and Asian actors. Every one of the actors in this movie is from a english speaking country, not from the countries you are trying to build viewership in.

Also I’m glad Trek is still going strong somewhere, in my area just outside of Philadelphia, Pa Trek is already out of the theaters with the exception of a late night Imax showing.

77. orenws - June 21, 2009

Very strong legs, indeed. Very please

78. Hat Rick - June 21, 2009

76, that’s a good idea. But let’s not forget Faran Tahir (“Captain Robau”).

I think that Batman Begins had Michael Caine and Liam Neeson.

TNG films had Patrick Stewart.

However, come to think of it, these films had actors who were all English-speaking.

Michelle Yeoh appeared in one of the Bond films, which, by the way, usually have a relatively international cast and do very well internationally.

79. Mel - June 21, 2009

@ 52. pizi

Have those more successful teenage comedies better subtitles or are they even dubbed? That could explain to a part why they are more successful. But I guess the main reason why Star Trek doesn’t have many viewers in Slovakia is the same as in most other European countries. The taste in movies is just a little different than in the USA and Star Trek hasn’t the same cult status in most countries outside the USA.

But I guess that a good dubbing of the movie would still help. Do they dubbed movies in Slovakia? I personally wouldn’t pay to watch a movie with subtitles, even if they are good. It is too annoying to read a text while watching a movie.

80. ElwoodJD - June 21, 2009

thnaks for the update anthony, and I must say to all the people complaining about more articles on box office numbers and where is the DVD news, just don’t read these articles if you don’t like it

I for one am glad every week when I see these articles, Star Trek has some legs and is raking in the cash. Every time I see an updated number my heart is warmed by the thought that 1) Star Trek is popular (again, if it was technically before) and 2) we are going to get another film (maybe 2 and who knows maybe some more TV if we are lucky and buy the home theater copies).

If you are bored by numbers, just skip these articles but I for one was shocked and pleasantly surprised that Terminator and Angels dropped below Trek even though Trek is a week or two older. Seeing the number $350 globally and knowing that doesn’t even count the merchandising and DVD/Blu sales is really exciting.

And for those of you saying “wake me for the DVD news” jeez, the movie is still in theaters and is 7th on its 7th week. Don’t expect home copy news, let alone them coming out, as long as this movie is still raking in dough at the box office

Anthony, thank you for your diligent work keeping the rest of us updated on the success of the renewal of this franchise. Most of us appreciate the hard work you put in!

81. RD - June 21, 2009

#49 Hat Rick wrote: #36 … How does the fact that blockbusters cost more negate the effect of BB’s and MI3’s greater take vis-a-vis ST2009?

LOL, you are worse than my high school English teacher! ;-)

But you’re right it was sloppy writing (as are so many quick thoughts typed up hastily in these forums). My arguments are even being held accountable for typos (1979 instead of 1977 for Star Wars).

That should have been its own paragraph as it was negating the overall thought of modern comparisons as related to TMP earnings 30 years ago in the previous paragraph: “Will it close the TMP earnings performance gap after the $142M budget is recouped?” The “Batman Begins” & “MI:III” inflation adjusted numbers were sort of a side-note observation anyway.

In other words, TMP cost less to make and therefore made more money after deducting the smaller budget to make it. ST09 will not earn as much profit as TMP, but it may earn more in total.

But, regardless it will earn in the equivalent ballpark as Batman Begins and MI:III, both of which had similar $150M budgets. However, lets look at that side-note: Batman Begins made $416.6M (adjusted), but cost $164M (adj.) to make. MI:III cost $160M (adj.) and made $436. Both cost more to make than ST09 (approx. $142M). Therefore, even if ST09 does not make as much or more than Batman Begins and MI:III adjusted grosses, they should all end up close enough:

ST09 – $400M (proj.) – $142M (budget) = $258M (net)
MI:III – $436M (adj.) – $160M (adj. bdgt.) = $276M (adj. net)
BB – $416M (adj.) – $164M (adj. budget) = $252M (adj. net)
TMP – $409M (adj.) – $100M (adj. budget) = $309M (net)

All things considered, those movies are all in the same ballpark. Obviously MI:III and Batman Begins are considered franchise successes. Therefore if ST09 comes anywhere near these numbers it will be too. None of them can compete with TMP in terms of ROI (Return On Investment), but since they compete with each other, this is not a problem. It simply costs more to produce a similar movie today than it did in 1979 and as long as it makes a profit, that’s all that matters. Ignoring the other costs to make a point, if a film cost $150M to make and earns $151M, it’s a success. A million dollars is a million dollars.

82. Roderick - June 21, 2009

Showbizdata.com has projected Star Trek take over the weekend to be $4,735,000. That is only a -13% decrease from last weekend total of $5,454,563. Total domestic gross now stands at $239,478,906.

When the International numbers come out I expect the total gross to be around $362 million.

I know comparing is a fun thing to do but I personally don’t think it is fair. Even if you adjust the numbers to reflect today’s inflation there are still other factors in play that you can’t account for.

ST09 has more than exceeded expectations and when the DVD sells are added it will be the most successful financial and attended Trek film ever.

83. I Am Morg Not Eymorg - June 21, 2009

RD, you need to do more research on TMP. TMP cost a LOT more to make than is usually cited, because with Paramount and Gene going back and forth between Phase II, movie, TV movie, movie, series of TV movies and back to movie the costs of all that development count as it all led to TMP and what TMP was began with all of that. It was going to be the first episode or TV movie regardless. TMP really should never be counted among all the other movies as it was truly a unique animal in almost every respect.

84. DaiMonRon - June 21, 2009

They got some more of my money this morning! Imax this time! What a difference that makes. Like the difference between SD and HD.

85. Newman - June 21, 2009

a quick question – Do Canadian ticket sales factor into domestic ticket sales or international ticket sales?

86. RD - June 21, 2009

#82. How can you say ST09 more than exceeded expectations? Compared to what? If you don’t think it’s fair to compare it to other films in the franchise then what was the benchmark on which expectations were established?

“The most successful financial and attended Trek film ever”? You have to compare it to the other films in order to make that claim.

As for DVD sales, ST09 has a number of years to play catch up before it can compete with the number of units sold and money made from the various VHS, Laser DIsks, DVDs and special edition re-releases of many of the previous most popular films. The Wrath of Kahn alone probably beats all of the home video sales figures for the entire franchise combined. Is that a fair comparison? Not really, but it does underscore the value of even a relatively poor-performing film in this franchise.

87. RD - June 21, 2009

83. I Am Morg Not Eymorg wrote: TMP really should never be counted among all the other movies as it was truly a unique animal in almost every respect.

It still earned a certain amount at the box office. The general audience did not know any of the machinations that went on behind the scenes. All they knew was there was a movie they wanted to see, like any other offered that year. How is this any different than Star Wars compared to the rest of that franchise? SW was made for less than half the budget of any of its sequels, even though it too went over budget and caused all kinds of behind-the-scenes problems, yet all of the movies grossed about the same amount of money. Trek’s did not. The end result is the same, the box office figures reflect a particular interest in the franchise.

The number I used for TMP is the average number generally used of $35M. The higher $46M figure is speculative. Either way that puts an adjusted budget of $134M which is still less than today’s $150M+ sci-fi budgets. Either way, the budget was an anomaly even then and was one of the most expensive films ever made at the time (and considerably higher than Star Wars’ $11M). The Star Wars numbers presented in #45 above are better indications of what similar films cost to make in the 70s & 80s. Ironically as Star Trek began to spend more after TWOK, the films earned less.

Trek still needs to spend around $150M on the next film to keep a similar level of production value as ST09, most of that cost going into vfx.

88. TheBigCW - June 21, 2009

But the big question is – will they see a profit on ST ’09 before it hits video? :)

89. Roderick - June 21, 2009

#86 – Look I don’t have a bone to pick with folks who didn’t like this movie and hate to see it be successful. But the fact is once the run of ST09 is over it will be very close to TMP in terms of total gross. As far as DVD sales goes, it will not have a number of years to catch up. I’m willing to bet that this movie does over 50 million in sales if not more.

And yes it did exceed expectations according to Paramount. They were hoping the movie would at least make what it cost to produce it. It was only expected to open around 50 mil the first weekend.

I love Star Trek and all I wanted to see was this franchise be saved. It has and I am happy.

90. RD - June 21, 2009

#88. It has already been posted on Trekmovie that ST09 has been in the black since before they broke $200M domestically. Though it didn’t go into detail, I assume this is because of product placement, merchandise licenses, promotional tie-ins, etc. which reduced the studio’s actual upfront contribution to the final budget, even after the actor’s were paid for their likenesses.

TMP picture likewise probably made a profit then before they sold it to ABC (for the world television premiere), or released it on video in 1980. It just didn’t make as much as Star Wars. See the film business isn’t really that different today. ;-)

91. mdbchud - June 21, 2009

You also have to remember that alot of the production costs….sets, costuming, some design work has already been done, so even with a large vfx budget and a raise for the actors, the next film could still come in with a lower price tag.

92. Roderick - June 21, 2009

#90 – #88 was joking.

93. RD - June 21, 2009

#89. Roderick wrote: As far as DVD sales goes, it will not have a number of years to catch up. I’m willing to bet that this movie does over 50 million in sales if not more.

I’ll go you one better. I’ll bet ST09 makes at least $250M in DVD sales. And that’s assuming only 40% of the worldwide audience buys one. That doesn’t mean the first four films have not each brought in that kind of money, or considerably more (adjusted for inflation), over the last 30 years. Those movies have been significant profit earners for Paramount and have had 3 decades by which to triple the number of new buyers and as many media formats to sell to original purchasers. I personally bought them all once on video when they cost as much as $32 ea. and some of them as many as 4 times total. That’s why Paramount wants to maintain the franchise. It’s a guaranteed money maker with a huge fan base.

according to Paramount. They were hoping the movie would at least make what it cost to produce it. It was only expected to open around 50 mil the first weekend.

I seriously doubt studios make movies in the hopes they merely break even.

I have maintained since the beginning that based on Treks’ quarter century track record at the box office combined with Abrams celebrity, that I believe Paramount was never concerned that ST09 would pay for itself. So if that was the only benchmark then of course it exceeded expectations. If Paramount was only looking at Nemesis, then why make a movie at all? Because they were looking at Trek’s historical earning potential and knew it could do better, and clearly TNG was a dead end. The right director and the right approach could make Trek more marketable than it ever has been.

As I pointed out, Trek is doing no better than Batman Begins or MI:III, but all things considered those films all did well in the boxoffice in that they made money over what it cost to make them and, more importantly, building a franchise that allows them to continue to make money on the name alone, rather than untested properties. But none of these films have been huge moneymakers, like Transformers. Just solid box office performers and that seems to be what Paramount was hoping for, despite the fact Trek has historically underperformed its competition.

I certainly don’t deny Star Trek its success, but it isn’t some kind of divine resurrection either. I’m thrilled new installments are being made and that the film is as successful as it ever was before. But that doesn’t mean it has to be candy coated to keep the fans enthusiastic. Isn’t it possible to simply look at a thing warts and all without being labeled a hater?

What is of far more interest to me is whether the Star Trek franchise is capable of breaking the $400M limit. There is no question that ST09 is not in the same worldwide box-office earnings league as the Star Wars films, the Spiderman franchise, Transformers, James Bond, Indiana Jones, Pirates of The Caribbean, Lord of The RIngs, Harry Potter, etc. But it did do pretty well puttering along for 20 years. However, ST09 is NOT TMP. It was not only as successful at the box office, but far more critically successful. Also, with a much more action oriented approach it plays much more like installments of some of those higher grossing franchises. I am looking forward to see if in 2011 Star Trek can finally achieve the ranks of Star Wars to which it has played second fiddle for far too long.

94. Brian Kirsch - June 21, 2009

#82 –

only -13%

I like those numbers! They’re exciting!
Since most predictions/expectations I saw for this weekend were in the $3.5 – $3.7M range, this would be the second weekend in a row that Trek beat the experts predictions. I for one don’t doubt the legs of this film.

$250M + is very probable, as is $380M + worldwide by the end of the summer. Maybe more? But to be realistic, with Trans2, Ice Age, and HP just over the horizon I expect a steep drop in the numbers by the July 4th weekend.

I read somewhere on this great site that Fox TV has bought the broadcast rights for Trek at 15% of the final domestic gross. At the 250M mark, that equates to another $37.5M into the coffers of Paramount. Not too shabby!

Some other thoughts on the box office numbers:

The Hangover? $157M in 2 weeks? Off a $35M budget? WTF! Somebody should be in for a big bonus there!

UP! should pass Trek soon as the #1 movie of the year. No problem with that. It’s a very good movie with wide appeal. Well deserved. What puzzles me is how an animated feature can cost $175M to produce! Do digital animation geeks come at that high of a price? (All the digital animators that share their work for free on the internet must be kicking themselves!) What’s the going rate for a voice-over from an actor? No sets, no set decoration, no costumes, no props, no film crew, etc. Can someone please explain this to me?

95. Charles Trotter - June 21, 2009

Going by the calculations Box Office Mojo uses, and using the average ticket price for 1980 (when TMP made the vast majority of its money), TMP actually made closer to $371 million worldwide. The new movie will pass that amount in the next week and a half.

96. Pizi - June 21, 2009

79. Mel

Most of the movies in my country are with subtitles. They are only dubbing movies for children like Shrek, Monsters vs. Aliens etc.
I prefer movies in original if I can speak that language. After watching it in original I try the dubbed version. If it is good I stay with dubbed version otherwise I would prefer the original. Dubbing can kill the movie.
But we have one big advantage and that is Czech republic.
You know If you can speak Slovak then you can speak Czech. Every Slovakian can understand and speak Czech and vise-versa. This is great because if the dubbing in Slovak is terrible you can try Czech.
For example in Star Trek, the Czech translators consult the translation with expert on Star Trek. This expert has its own webpage http://www.warp.cz
It is extensive vocabulary where you can find translations and definitions for all Star Trek technobabble in Czech. This vocabulary was created after
some lousy translations of DS9 and ST:Voy.
For example they translated word “warp” as “hyper” in Czech.
Word “shield” as something that can be in English defined as “cover”
There were many funny moments then. Then they came to senses and started to cooperate on the translations with experts. Last two seasons of Voyager complete TOS and Enterprise have excellent dubbing.

97. RD - June 22, 2009

#95. I don’t think TMP made the VAST majority of its money in 1980. Based on my estimates using conservative averages to fill in the December dates BOM doesn’t give us and assuming the typical earning pattern of a film, particularly over a holiday period, It would seem TMP earned more than half its domestic box office in 1979 (approx. $47M+). Also, Trek opened in the UK & Australia in December as well, where most of its foreign money is made (Germany was still two nations at this point). Considering TMP would have made most of its remaining box office in the first two months of 1980, it seems unfair to burden it with higher averages inflated by greater ticket prices from Summer and Fall of 1980.

However, I am intrigued that none of us had previously applied BOM formula to the $139M gross we’ve been using. Calculating it this way, the 1979 figure would be $398M, still several million less than the $404M+ figure we’ve been using. Since these numbers are all speculative estimates and general averages anyway, It seems like a fair compromise would be approx. $386M (the difference between the 1979 & 1980 numbers).

Regardless, as has been pointed out numerous times, the TMP number is not as important as how ST09 compares against Batman Begins and similar films. What intrigues me now is the BOM inflation adjusted figures, which put them as considerably higher earners than they previously appeared: $416M (adj.) for Batman Begins. Nevertheless, I am going to hold you to ST09 passing that $371M mark in a week and a half anyway! Hopefully we are both right and it will continue earning like this right past $400M which make it the unquestioned king of the franchise and put it in closer company with its competing film models.

98. Just a guy from Portugal - June 22, 2009

I’m very sad European movie goers aren’t doing a lot for “Star Trek”.

I went to see it opening night 8th June and the theater was at 40% capacity at the 9.30pm screening. Allready then I feared the worst.

Unfortunatelly there is allways some kind of prejudice of sci-fi movies here, but this time I think the promoters failed to do their part also.

In Trek’s opening week the billboards were still promoting “wolverine”, and the next week replaced it it with “Angels & Demons”. As we speak there is a lot of “transformes 2″ noise but I haven’t seen as much as one “Star Trek” promo.

So the studio itself didn’t believe in it.

But I am proudly a member of those geekie guys that went to see it here and thank all the fans world wide for helping keep beloved Star Trek alive.

Just hoped we could have made a little more effort here in my country…

99. Dom - June 22, 2009

Hi RD (41)

Interesting what you’re saying about why TMP did so well, yet was a disappointment. It says a lot about the rise of home video back then as well.

I remember as a kid in the 1980s on several occasions around the TSFS period where adults said to me that they (and their kids) had been to see TMP in the cinema and were disappointed with it.

They therefore hadn’t bothered to see TWOK and, since they’d heard you’d need to have seen TWOK to see TSFS, probably wouldn’t bother with that one either.

When I was six, I hadn’t been able to get into the cinema to see TWOK with my aunt because it was full to capacity. My folks still didn’t have a VHS when TSFS came out so I went to see Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom instead, having seen Raiders of the Lost Ark on a VHS machine my parents had been lent to try out a couple of weeks before.

So, like you say, I think TMP got the curiosity of audiences and I reckon TWOK and TSFS to some extent got the backlash. By the time TVH came out, people owned or were renting VHS and Betamax machines, so had caught the films by then.

100. Johnny Ice - June 22, 2009

#95 Interesting, your argument would maybe be valid if for example if ST:TMP had been released in last weekend in December 1979. However like RD said, ST:TMP made bulk of it ,,reported,, money in 1979 and not 1980.
Also counter argument can be made if we look at this site http://www.thecaptainkirkpage.com/trekcom.html they claims the methods how they gathered numbers for ST:TMP was flawed. Because during the era of ST:TMP the weekly box office charts on Variety only covered the big cities and not the whole nation. That why even boxofficemojo only has the first few weekends for ST:TMP, it actually earned much more in 1980s than reported on boxofficemojo. Variety method was changed to the more accurate method around TWOK era of 1982.
This is kind of confirmed when we compare info between ST:TMP and TWOK. Boxofficemojo seems to have more info on TWOK weekend gross(10 weeks) compare to ST:TMP weekend gross(3 weeks). Also i find strange that TWOK widest theater release was 60% more than ST:TMP.

101. Captain John C Baron - June 22, 2009


Very few movies make their money back purely at the box office – the first Men in Black films raked in more than $400m each at the BO despite having production costs of only a quarter of the final gross, yet in a recent law case, the distributors said those moves hadn’t yet gone into profit.. It often takes years for films to make cash, through the home entertainment market (which can see films earn as much as their theatrical run) TV sales and merchandise tie-ins. Because of the complicated and almost impenetrable way films are financed I’d actually be surprised if ST09 made any profit at the box office, given a $142m production cost, plus marketing on top of that, and the added compication that there were actually three companies involved in the production.

What people don’t realise is that of the $350m+ it’s taken wordlwide, the cinema owners also take a percentage of that.

I suspect profits will come some way into its home entertainment run. But again, that’s not unusual – Transformers 2 will beat Trek hands down at the BO, but because of higher production and promotion costs I’d be surprised if it made a penny in cinemas.

The concern isn’t the US gross, which is phenomenal for a Trek film, good for a summer tentpole – it’s the foreign gross, which isn’t great for a tentpole movie costing $150m.

Ultimately – and unfortunately – it’s that total which may help Par execs set the budget for the sequel…

102. Captain John C Baron - June 22, 2009

Just found this link – makes interesting reading about films, profit and accounting…. http://www.slashfilm.com/2009/04/05/lucasfilm-tells-darth-vader-that-return-of-the-jedi-hasnt-made-a-profit/

103. Adam Bomb 1701 - June 22, 2009

Cinema owners take their cut of the movie’s box office on a sliding scale. The first weekend, the studio takes something like 90%, leaving 10% for the theater owners. The second week, studios take c. 75%, and so-on. If the film stays out long enough, eventually a theater will take most of the revenue. But, films don’t stay in theaters that long anymore. The days of long cinema runs (“Star Wars” played at the same NYC theater for 61 straight weeks; “E.T.” played for a year at one NYC screen) are over. Most films are gone from theaters after eight or nine weeks. I’ve said elsewhere that “Star Trek” will be gone from theaters by July 4, and it looks like that’s what will come to pass.

104. Roderick - June 22, 2009

#93 It is a resurrection. But we can agree to disagree.

105. Closettrekker - June 22, 2009

#15—“domestic sales in my opinion don’t matter in this day an age of globalization. ”

Of course they do. If fact, since the studio has far better profit margins on domestic sales than international sales, it is better to have high domestic grosses than anything else. International sales afford the studios a smaller piece of the gross (and the percentage varies from place to place) in comparison.

Take ‘Angels And Demons’, for example. While A & D is outpacing ST09 internationally, it is far behind ST09 domestically. ST09’s domestic gross could theoretically produce bigger net gains for Paramount than A & D’s international grosses are producing for Columbia Pictures—-although it is difficult to say without knowing just how much of A & D’s international gross will go to the studio.

Still, it goes without saying that, if you had to choose one area to produce the bulk of your gross—-domestic sales would be the obvious choice…bigger profit margins. The shareholders don’t care how large you global gross is—-they only want to know what your net gain was for the financial quarter.

106. Roderick - June 22, 2009

#101 – The International gross is not going to effect the budget of the next ST film. It just isn’t. You guys are simply overanalyzing the financial implications of this movie. Will it give an indication on how to market the next film overseas? I think it will.

The next film may not need a $150 budget. Who knows. But international money this film has earned is probably a bonus financially.

107. I Am Morg Not Eymorg - June 22, 2009

101. Captain John C Baron

Studios say that in every court case. :) If someone were to sue over Star Wars I guarantee you Lucas would claim it never made a profit.

This is where we get into the true “voodoo” of economics. Good accountants and bean counters can make figures read a lot of different ways. Just like the way they can twist the tax laws.

Sort of like the fact that you can twist statistics.

108. Closettrekker - June 22, 2009

#106—“The next film may not need a $150 budget. ”

It certainly shouldn’t need that, given that many of the sets used in ST09 can and most likely will be recycled for use in the sequels.

109. Brian Kirsch - June 22, 2009

#103 –

I have to disagree. Trek’s theater count may be cut in half by July 4th, but it won’t just disappear. It’s still outperforming films that came out weeks later!

The next step is the 2nd run/discount theaters, drive -ins, etc. Monsters Vs Aliens is still playing in those venues, and it opened March 26th!

110. RD - June 22, 2009

#101 Roderick wrote – The International gross is not going to effect the budget of the next ST film.

In this case, that’s true. Assuming Paramount wants to be in the business of Star Trek, they will have to pony up a minimum amount to remain competitive with the box office and provide the same or better experience than the original. In this case, Trek will most likely have a $150M budget again if for no other reason than inflation.

One does not have to look very far for a model. “Batman Begins” had a budget of $164M (adjusted) and grossed $416M (adj.). However, despite not doing that well, especially internationally, the budget for “The Dark Knight” was bumped to $185M. Why? Because that’s what it takes to make this kind of movie and a franchise film will always bring in revenue from DVD and merchandising.

The idea that existing sets and wardrobe costs will reduce the budget is not a practical one. One needs look no farther than the $175M budget of “Up” or “Monsters vs. Aliens” to understand most of the costs in a film like ST09 are in CGI vfx. Besides, unless the next film takes place exclusively on the Enterprise bridge, transporter and corridors, there are going to be some considerable new expenses in building new sets, and rental and dressing new locations (all of which are a usually very tiny part of a film budget of this type anyway).

So, no, the foreign grosses are NOT going to affect the next ST09 budget, unless Paramount decides to take the cheap way out.

111. james vincent - June 22, 2009

It was a great action movie, but its not the best Trek movie ever. for canon reasons. i know this has all been covered, but can change history. not in the movies and not in REAL life.

reasons why its not for me:

– spock kisses uhura
– red matter
– real spock leaves the real universe for the secondary universe even if its felt all sh**y (even kirk didnt mess with time, how can the real logical spock)(Guardia of Forever episode people.)

The only way to fix this, is a sequel were spock uses the Guardia of Forever to fix it all.

112. james vincent - June 22, 2009

left not felt. sorry. mistype

113. Morn - June 22, 2009

It’s pretty funny that suddenly international box office is considered sooo important by everybody. In the 90’s and early 2000’s, studio execs only seemed to count _domestic_ box office, so e.g. “Pearl Harbor” was considered a flop, although it made a hundred trillion or thereabouts in Japan and generally did pretty well overseas. Or is this just a case of always seeing the glass as half empty on the part of the studios?

114. Brian Kirsch - June 22, 2009

#111 –

For many reasons, your post is illogical. Not to mention badly written.

115. james vincent - June 22, 2009

114º- please explain. i live overseas and cant really talk to anyone about this stuff.

badly written? what?

do i have to be an english teacher to post hear?

-wheres the logic of star trek never using red matter for example, and now all of a sudden, it exist, for time travel. please.

-wheres the logic of spock never being involved with uhura, and now: no thats logical, we just never heard about it. please

-wheres the logic, in that kirk couldnt save his “true love”, and now spock can screw up a whole universe, and on top of that, he gets to stay. please.

please explain!!!

I love star trek. i even got the original series command symbol tattooed over my heart. hell, im probably the biggest trekkie living in spain (at least thats what i believe) LOL

PLease, wheres your logic run off to. LOL

116. james vincent - June 22, 2009

and i totally respect JJ Abrahms and like his series and movies. there full of action, and thats what star trek nowadays needed to get a larger public, but you cant just play with star trek, you must leave it believable to all, new and old fans.

117. Brian Kirsch - June 22, 2009

#115 –

No offense meant, really. I (wrongly) assumed you were from an English speaking country. You gave no indication you were overseas. Again, my apologies. I’ve learned a lesson, always a good thing.


Spock acquired the red matter in the future, sometime after Nemesis, in an effort to save Romulus.

THIS Spock is greatly changed by the events of the movie. He has witnessed his planet being destroyed and his mother killed before his eyes. He is emotionally compromised. He is half Vulcan/half Human. His emotions take over. The way it is portrayed in the movie is quite realistic. Just because it was never seen before doesn’t matter. That was a different time, a different Spock. But still Spock.

Spock was pulled through the black hole accidentally, against his will. As was the Narada. He did not do it intentionally. And in fact he tries to repair as much damage as possible.

Hope that helps!

118. james vincent - June 23, 2009

117. Brian Kirsch

Thanks for replying nicely. im sorry if you took offense to my earlier comments. sometimes my thoughts get ahead of my fingers and thats when mis-types happen. and just so you know, i was born in the USA but lived in Spain for the last 9 years. LOL. i still cant comprehend that OLD spock wouldnt try and travel back to fix what was wrong. i think that would have been the logical choice. and what OLD spock does, has nothing to do with NEW spock kissing uhura. maybe it was felt out of the original series, i dont know. it would have been nice if Gene Roddenberry were alive and comment on these new developments.

Again i respect your view and thank you for replying. and sorry for any bad spelling. i get a little rusty all alone out here in spain.

119. Dovile - June 23, 2009

@ 52.pizi ant 79. Mel

Here in Lithuania, they also dub only children movies like Shrek etc, most likely because kids can’t read or at least read slower than adults, and these dubs are done by good and locally well known actors, but all other movies come to the cinemas with subtitles, which are quite annoying (well, at least to me as I don’t need them at all) and are of course shorter than what is actually said, besides, they are usually lamely translated, so people who don’t know English don’t get half of the movie. Dubbing is much more expensive and takes longer that making subtitles, so movies get dubbed only for TV (and really, really poorly dubbed), although sometimes some movies can be shown without subtitles, in special, usually very late, sessions, but that’s rare and usually depends on the cinema’s marketing strategy, or whatever.

There’s another problem with sci-fi popularity here, namely, sci-fi is considered geeky and/or for kids only (Star Wars, for e.g.), both by the masses and the media. Well, the last ST movie will hopefully adds to changing this attitude.

120. FredCFO - June 23, 2009

A bit surprised to see Nemesis at the bottom. ST5 hands down was the worst of the bunch, but is at twice the number of tickets and just slightly below ST9. Hmmm…

121. Closettrekker - June 23, 2009

#120—STV had the benefit of following a tremendously successful feature film (TVH). The expectations were there.

I also think it is no coincidence that the top 5 Star Trek films (in ticket sales) all feature the original characters. And, had TUC not followed the horrendous TFF, I think its ticket sales would have been better. But without question, the ST movies with the most general appeal were the first four feature films (1979-1986) and ST09 (2009).

Ticket sales:
1.ST09 (2009)
2.TMP (1979)
3.TVH (1986)
4.TWOK (1982)
5.TSFS (1984)


My list of favorites:

(big dropoff)
(another dropoff)
(yet another dropoff)
(huge plummet)
10b.TFF (cannot decide which is worse)

122. james vincent - June 23, 2009

Excuse me, but couldn’t it be that the new star trek movie made lots of money because ticket cost now-a-days is much higher?

123. Closettrekker - June 23, 2009

#122—That’s the reason for breaking it down by number of tickets sold, rather than by total gross.

The bottom line: ST09 has already sold more tickets than any movie in the history of the Star Trek film franchise, including TMP.

124. Son of a Maui Portagee - June 24, 2009

If you are going to use Mojo’s numbers you might want to read his analysis:

“With $240.3 million in 45 days, it edged past Star Trek: The Motion Picture on that front, though it may still have a ways to go in terms of attendance: around $22.3 million of the new Trek’s total comes from IMAX runs, which typically cost a few bucks more than regular shows.” – Brandon Gray, BoxOfficeMojo.com


125. Closettrekker - June 24, 2009

#124—-I would think that when Anthony uses the phrase “actual ticket prices”, that is exactly what it means.

Gray states that it “may still have a ways to go”. Anthony, whose interest in the numbers is far more specific than Gray’s, says it doesn’t. Perhaps Gray didn’t feel like doing the math. If he did, he would have been more precise—without the need for the word “may”.

126. Son of a Maui Portagee - June 25, 2009

Hmmm…this seems to imply CBS in the Viacom split has shut out Paramount from Trek merchandising? Does anyone have any details on how wide or limited this goes with respect to ST09 merchandising?


”That year[2005], the corporate behemoth Viacom, which owned “Star Trek,” was splitting itself in two, divorcing its CBS studio (which made the “Trek” shows) from its Paramount studio (which made the films). “Trek” was likely to go to CBS, where another television show might eventually be developed. Gail Berman, then the president of Paramount, convinced Leslie Moonves, the chief executive of CBS, to allow her one more chance at a “Trek” film; he gave her 18 months to get the cameras rolling or lose the property. (Under the arrangement CBS retained the “Star Trek” merchandising rights.)” – Dave Itzkoff, NEW YORK TIMES

127. RD - June 29, 2009

123. Closettrekker wrote: #122—”That’s the reason for breaking it down by number of tickets sold, rather than by total gross.” The bottom line: ST09 has already sold more tickets than any movie in the history of the Star Trek film franchise, including TMP.

I’m not sure how you can make this claim. Anthony is getting his data from Box Office Mojo like the rest of us. There is no ticket data provided. All they have is the gross receipts, which must also account for more expensive IMAX tickets.

Given that TMP was a G rated film, far more children’s tickets were sold, which accounted for lower gross receipts. There were no so-called premium or IMAX theatres in those days, so there would have been more tickets per dollar. In fact there were many more “dollar theatres” which would have accounted for a much greater number of tickets per dollar.

Presumably BOM’s inflation adjusted ticket price takes into account an average of all sales: child through senior, matinee, premium theatres, dollar theatres and IMAX.

Nevertheless, using BOM’s figures, TMP still made close to $400M, far more than Trek has yet earned. Slicing those grosses up using BOM’s adjusted formulas, TMP is still the highest earner of all of the films in the franchise. Even if ST09 equals TMP, I’m not sure BOM’s formula adequately takes into account all of the variables which favor TMP’s greater number of tickets sold per dollar. Without an actual ticket count, I don’t know how you can say any differently.

This is why I would prefer ST09 to clearly and definitively pass that $400M mark thus ending the debate for all practical purposes. Until then, TMP will always be the largest grossing, highest ticket count film of the franchise. Not because it is the best of the films, or even the most successful, but simply because it is the most logical conclusion given the known variables.

128. Son of a Maui Portagee - June 30, 2009

127. RD wrote “There were no so-called premium or IMAX theatres in those days…”

Actually there was a premium theater chain in the 70s called the Cinerama Dome(?) that either got the studios to release in 70mm or would transfer 35mm prints to 70mm stock for an “enhanced” movie experience. They also promoted their’s was the best sound system in a theater possible (I believe they were all THX rated sound systems by the time of 1979).

I can’t recall if STTMP had a run there but if there was a 70mm release the chances are good that’s where it played and this could be used to make an IMAX equivalency.

129. RD - June 30, 2009

#128 – except, since I was a teenager in ’79 and aware of such things, I can assure you there was not such a theatre within 500 miles of middle America. I may be exaggerating, but you get the idea … today you can find an IMAX in every major city across the country, not to mention multiple IMAX theaters in the same town. Unless BOM is taking it into consideration with their adjusted ticket price average, then the B.O. gross is not an adequate representation of the actual ticket sales.

However, at this point, with a $247 domestic gross, I would be willing to concede it is likely the most popular film in the franchise, both in terms of dollars and ticket sales domestically, and if not now at least by the end of its domestic run.

130. Son of a Maui Portagees - July 2, 2009

#129 – FWIW I did some digging:


The Cinerama Theater chain got started in the 50’s to exhibit films filmed in a special three projector process.

It evolved to the 70MM exhibitions that I recalled.

STTMP apparently had a run because its special fx were all filmed in a 65 MM process which lent itself well to the huge screens these theaters employed.

As for the number of IMAX theaters today, well, STTMP got its total ticket numbers in only about a maximum of 1000 theaters domestically too.

I suppose you are making a good argument that we should consider a margin of error in this conversion process.

I’ve been sticking with + or – 10 percent. To that end, I hold the domestic and international numbers currently show that Paramount successfully activated the same core group of TOS fans that launched the film franchise in 1979.

Unless the worldwide takes a big jump and starts tracking ANGELS & DEMONS’ numbers, I doubt there’ll be any statistically significant (i.e., outside the margin of error) attendance difference in 79-09 numbers to indicate a significant number of new fans.

131. {{I {hardly|rarely|seldom|almost never} {comment|leave a response}|I {hardly|rarely|seldom|almost never} {leave|drop|{write|create}} {comments|responses|remarks}|I {don't|do not|usually do not|tend not to} {leave|drop|{write|create}} {many|{a lot of|a ton - February 17, 2012

I usually do not leave many remarks, however i did a few searching and wound up here ‘Star Trek’ Passes TMP To Become Most Attended Film In Franchise (Domestically) | TrekMovie.com. And I do have a couple of questions for you if it’s allright. Is it only me or does it look like a few of the remarks come across like coming from brain dead folks? :-P And, if you are posting at other online social sites, I would like to keep up with everything new you have to post. Could you list of the complete urls of all your shared sites like your Facebook page, twitter feed, or linkedin profile?

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