Viacom Chief Touts Star Trek As ‘Unqualified Blockbuster’ As Film Reaches $380M Globally |
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Viacom Chief Touts Star Trek As ‘Unqualified Blockbuster’ As Film Reaches $380M Globally July 29, 2009

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

The Star Trek box office performance is almost in the history books, but the film is still out there and has finally hit the $380M globally. Yesterday Viacom’s CEO touted the film to investors as a ‘unqualified blockbuster’ and talked up the future profit potential of Trek as well. Details and the latest box office below, plus another Star Trek musical interlude.


Viacom Chief Talks Trek
Yesterday afternoon Viacom (the parent company of Paramount Pictures) reported its financial results for the second quarter. Although profits were down from last year, Paramount still beat industry estimates for earnings per share by a little bit. In discussing the performance of the various parts of Viacom, CEO Philippe Dauman again touted the performance of Transformers and Star Trek

Paramount Pictures’ performance in the second quarter was highlighted by the box office success of its tentpole films STAR TREK and Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen. Both films are unqualified blockbusters that will generate substantial profit as they move through their windows

Picking up on that future profit, Viacom’s CFO Tom Dooley noted that Star Trek and Transformers 2 will ‘drive a lot of profits’ later in the year as those titles become available on DVD & Blu-ray.

Dauman also noted that franchise sequels (like Transformers) enjoy savings in "awareness marketing" costs, which boosts profitability because consumers are already aware of the brand. That same logic would be applied to the next Star Trek film as Paramount already invested significantly this year in re-building the Trek brand, and so a future film could be seen as having greater profit potential.

Box Office Update: $380 Million
After 82 days in release Star Trek is now in just a few hundred theaters around the world, with probably just a few more weeks before it is gone completely. Last weekend (its 12th weekend) it was ranked 18th with $439k in domestic sales. As of yesterday Star Trek had a domestic total of $254,170,379 and an international total of  $125,814,933. Combined with the domestic sales, Star Trek’s global total gross is $379,985,312. So (when today’s numbers come in) Star Trek will have passed $380M, which was always the upper range of our estimates. And Star Trek may still have some life left in it. It is actually now outperforming Iron Man on a day to day basis, and that film went on to make another $4M after its 82nd day.

Star Trek’s spot on the various charts has mostly remained steady over the last couple of weeks, with Harry Potter 6 pushing it down one spot on the yearly global rank. Within a week or so Star Trek will drop a couple of points to 5th on the 2009 domestic chart (and all time domestic charts) as both Harry Potter 6 and The Hangover pass it.

‘Star Trek’ Ranks Domestic Global
2009 films 3 6
All time 47 124
All time (adjusted) 182 NA
Trek franchise 1 1
Trek franchise (adjusted) 1 2


Enterprising Young Men – Live
Finally we leave you with another live performance from the Star Trek score. Here is "Enterprising Young Men" from the V Festival Internacional de Música de Cine in Ubeda, Spain.



Bring it home
You can pre-order Star Trek on 3-disk Blu-ray, 2-disk DVD, or 1-disk DVD, at Amazon. Or pre-order get the 3-disk Blu-ray Gift Set at Best Buy.




1. Triad - July 29, 2009

gives me chills:) beautiful stuff!

2. John Kirk - July 29, 2009

Awesome Trek!! Best year ever. Can’t Wait until 2011

3. Red Shirt Diaries - July 29, 2009

Unqualified? That doesn’t sound right.

4. Harry Ballz - July 29, 2009

Why did Transformers 2 make a lot more money than Star Trek????

5. David - July 29, 2009

Sweet. Nothing beats a live performance.

6. Dab - July 29, 2009


Because most of the movie-going public are barely one step above lobotomized. ;) But they like to spend money on “shiny” and “noisy”.

7. Connor Dyer - July 29, 2009

I love that soundtrack!


8. Shaun Bryer - Morrisville, Vermont - July 29, 2009

Beautiful rendition of “Enterprising Young Men”! Wish I could have been there to hear the live performance. Can’t wait for the movie release on DVD!

9. Connor Dyer - July 29, 2009

Wow, I was way off…

10. Hawaiian Trekker - July 29, 2009

Transformers may have made more money than Trek in the theaters but it wasnt a good movie. Once these movies are available to own, Trek will be sought out much more than Transformers.

11. Mr. Atoz - July 29, 2009

I never get tired of say it…I told you so, Star Trek Lives!

12. Mike Ten - July 29, 2009

I think I might have to break down and get this movie in Blueray. I have a blueray player but have been slow to buy the discs since my TV is only 720p but maybe this Christmas Santa will allow me to buy myself a 1080p TV….


13. Commodore Lurker - July 29, 2009

Decloaking . . .
#4 Harry ole boy: because people are idiots and love to buy crap.
Recloaking. }:-D>

14. magnumpc - July 29, 2009

Bravo! Fantastic live performance! Often times, when I hear other performances of well known scores (esp. Trek scores), the timing is off (too fast, too slow, or, worse, speed up and slow down throughout). These guys were right on!

Did they do more from the score?

Thanks for posting that!

15. jmralls2001 - July 29, 2009

I agree with Red Shirt Diaries at #3. “Unqualified” doesn’t sound right. It sounds like Star Trek, according to Viacom, doesn’t meet the qualifications to be a blockbuster. It more than meets them.

16. James "Tiberieus" Pewterschmidt - July 29, 2009

I’m one of those dusty old ‘trekkies’ (yeah..I said trekkie) who only had the original series growing up, I was very surprised how much I liked this movie and have watched it more times in the theater than the previous films

17. Andros - July 29, 2009

Enterprising Young Men is one of the best tracks on the OST. Its incredibly bombastic, epic and it makes me remember that title card slowly spinning into view from the intro.

18. Grady Christie - July 29, 2009

It’s been a phenomenal year for the Star Trek franchise.

19. Jeyl - July 29, 2009

“Enterprising Young Men”

Cause women are just receptionists.

20. Randy H. - July 29, 2009

#3 and #15: In the business world, an “unqualified” statement means that the statement stands without any limitations, commentary, or other hedging. In other words, it is a good thing.

#6: “Because most of the movie-going public are barely one step above lobotomized.” We should be careful at dismissing the movie going public. It is difficult to justify saying “Yay! Big box office for Trek means people appreciate what we love” while at the same time saying “Boo! Big box office for Transformers means people are idiots”. We can’t legitimately have it both ways.

21. allister gourlay - July 29, 2009

Man…….amazing live performance!

22. Driver - July 29, 2009

…”that will generate substantial profit as they move through their windows.”
So that’s the industry’s speak when moving from theatrical film to various home video and PPV incarnations. Ahh soo.

23. John from Cincinnati - July 29, 2009

I like the fact they kept the original series font for the DVD’s and Blu Ray boxes.

24. The Last Maquis - July 29, 2009

Both of Those Movies were Shiny and Noisy and Both of Those Movies Sucked.

25. Ian - July 29, 2009

I wants it now! It may not be the best soundtrack, but it is very, very good!

26. DGill - July 29, 2009


I couldn’t agree with you more. Do you know how many kids will go to a movie nowadays, only to be doing something else entirely during the movie? I was baffled by all the teens who were texting during ‘Star Trek’. They probably did it during ‘Transformers’ too.

27. Trekkie16 - July 29, 2009

Once the DVD comes out, the ST franchise will pick up more fans. Those that say, ‘I am not watching Star Trek, I hate Sci-Fi”. By the time Something, Something is released, if the reviews are good, it has the potential to hit 500 mil worldwide.

JJ needs to do an outreach to the overseas market over the next 2 years. Really get them pumped up and bring on new fans. I would be more then happy to travel the world talking up Star Trek. JJ call me 555-1701.

28. SirBroiler - July 29, 2009

All you JJ haters can eat it! Trek is back thanks to all of the fans to were open to this strange new world! Can’t wait for the sequel.

29. AJ - July 29, 2009

That’s my favorite bit from the soundtrack. Wonderful rendition.

Good ol’ Star Trek is back again! Lots of work to do on getting it known internationally. As some have said, hopefully the home video release will hook new viewers this coming winter.

30. T'Cal - July 29, 2009

Unqualified – Definition:
1. lacking required qualifications: having no academic, professional, or vocational qualifications
2. given without reservation: not limited or modified by any condition or reservation
3. total: complete and absolute: “an unqualified success”

I’m guessing they mean the second and third definitions and not the first.

31. Shatner_Fan_Prime - July 29, 2009

#4 … Because Transformers is for kids and teens. It’s a 2 hour long toy/video game commercial. That demographic is where the $$$ is at.

32. Shatner_Fan_Prime - July 29, 2009

I couldn’t be more pleased that Star Trek did as well as it did. It was a terrific adventure that everyone I know who saw it enjoyed. And by the way, it is still playing in some first run Houston theaters!

33. Paulaner - July 29, 2009

Very nice soundtrack. It grows through the movie and builds a strong theme that could be used as the new iconic theme for all future Trek.

34. Third Remata'Klan - July 29, 2009

#47 of all time domestically?

Too bad that number has to change. ;D

35. Dan - July 29, 2009

Wow Star Trek got less money world wide than Superman Returns globaly, the future of that movie got scrubbed, thank goodness!

36. jas_montreal - July 29, 2009


37. Matt Wiley - July 29, 2009

Actually that’s the Enterprising Young Men segment in the End Titles, but awesome nonetheless.

38. Brett Campbell - July 29, 2009

# 4 – Harry, it’s also because a lot of people have fecal matter where their gray matter should be.

39. jas_montreal - July 29, 2009

@ 37. I thought of that exactly…. But i think the segment or ‘theme’ is called ‘enterprising young men’…. actually not referring to the ACTUAL track of the soundtrack. But i’m just guessing.

40. JimJ - July 29, 2009

As a high school band director, I want a group that can play something like that…someday. I teach in a very small school.

Regarding the movie, I predict $383.5 million now. I was hoping for $390-$400 million, but will have to beat that with the next one!

41. J.R.Q - July 29, 2009

A question for people who did not like the star trek movie. Why are you on this site?

42. Wes W. - July 29, 2009

That is not ‘enterprising young men’ That is actually the end titles cut up and re-edited for our listening enjoyment.

43. Harry Ballz - July 29, 2009

#38 “fecal matter”

Is that a close cousin to red matter?

(runs and hides)

44. Harry Ballz - July 29, 2009

Hey, check out the gorgeous chick playing the violin in the Youtube piece. She’s on the left!

She could string my bow anytime! GROWRR!!

45. Lt. Bailey - July 29, 2009

It will be an interesting final (if there is such a thing) figure on the gross of ST: XI once the DVD, BluRay, Directors cut, Best Buy, gift sets, re-mix, etc versions of the film come out in Nov. Since the studio gets all the profit on a DVD/BluRay sale as opposed to the split a studio has to make with theaters.

I wonder what the Las Vegas Hilton is thinking now that they saw the success of the film after the closing of ST:TE? What ever the caise or reason for the closing, Ceder Fair not wanting to pay more or Hilton asking for more rent, what ever. They should held out with a month to month lease until after the film opened. Even go so far as to have some premiere at ST:TE to rake in some money.

Now that place (still) sits empty with no takers in site it fill up the space. But there willbe some relief in that there will be a semi-Quarks at the Space Quest casino bar during the CON. One of the former Quarks bartenders is selling a new recipe book of space drinks at the CON.

46. Check the Circuit! - July 29, 2009


Superman Returns also coast $100mm more than Star Trek. That’s gonna eat into the profitability equation.

47. S. John Ross - July 29, 2009

In the news today, Corporate Guy says nice things about his own corporation’s products. World is stunned.

48. Check the Circuit! - July 29, 2009

Spend a disproportionate amount of the marketing budget for the next Star Trek flick in the international markets.

And maybe Tom Hanks should be in the next film to drive international interest. Great actor..that happens to be a HUGE Trek fan.

(Maybe the rest of the world will discover Trek on video later this year.)

49. Check the Circuit! - July 29, 2009

Can’t believe The Hangover sneaked up on Star Trek. Who’d have thought? VERY funny movie though.

50. Spock with a Crowbar - July 29, 2009


I’m pretty sure it is EYM, I have the soundtrack.

51. Spock with a Crowbar - July 29, 2009

wait, no, I’m wrong,
that is from the end credits.

52. Thorny - July 29, 2009

50… “EYM” on the soundtrack (Track 5) is 2:42 long. This Youtube version runs 3:27, so its a variation on “EYM”, which isn’t unusual for concert performances

53. CarlG - July 29, 2009

@47: It’s not like he’d slag off on it if it had been a flop; there would just be conspicuous silence.
Clearly Paramount’s happy with how Trek did, so they’re throwing support behind it. Reasonable enough, yes?

I wonder what they’re projecting Trek will make, DVD and Bluray-wise? I’m hoping somewhere between “ridiculous” and “obscene”. :D

I would love to hear the soundtrack performed live! How do we persuade Michael Giacchino to visit Montreal…?

54. Brett Campbell - July 29, 2009

43 – “(runs and hides)”

As well you should, you silly, silly man! ; )

55. Brett Campbell - July 29, 2009

53 -“How do we persuade Michael Giacchino to visit Montreal…?”

Back-bacon crepes and Bador?

56. Mel - July 29, 2009

Star Trek is still on rank 6 in the global charts because a few movies haven’t started yet in Europe and probably elsewhere or are new in the cinemas there.

Up will come into the cinemas in autumn. Hangover is now only starting its second week in the cinemas and The Proposal will start this week. I guess that those three movies will surpass Star Trek in the global charts.

Getting only 33 % of its global gross from overseas is really unusual for a blockbuster. Most of the times big movies make half and more of its gross outside the USA.

Hopefully the Star Trek movie will get more popular in Europe and elsewhere in the world after DVD sales and rentals and showings on TV. It also wouldn’t hurt if the actors would make more promotions on TV shows outside the USA. Trekmovie reported about huge numbers of shows the actors were in on US TV. But not even one time an actor was for example in a German TV show. The bigger German TV channels are also shown in Austria and Switzerland, which make together with Germany a 100 million person market. It would have made a huge effect on making people more aware of the new movie, if an actor would have been on a popular evening TV show with many viewers.

Perhaps now that Star Trek is very popular in the USA again, they can concentrate on making it more popular elsewhere in the world. Otherwise the worldwide gross will never be very impressive. Making 500 million dollars and more should be possible.

57. xai - July 29, 2009

24. The Last Maquis – July 29, 2009
“Both of Those Movies were Shiny and Noisy and Both of Those Movies Sucked.”

Yes, we know how you feel

58. sunspot - July 29, 2009


Can you do a story that will give us some insight into the relative importance of DVD sales to movie profitability? A story on NPR yesterday spoke of US film studios facing imminent mergers due to the collapse of DVD sales during the current recession.

I suspect that Paramount is counting on excellent DVD sales for Star Trek due to it’s long-standing, loyal fan following. How much will this contribute to the films overall profitiability?

The NPR story intimated that DVD sales can double or triple a film’s profit .

59. Spockish - July 29, 2009

If you can not figure out the Transformers thing, may I recommend you studying persona’s and what makes them tick.

/////it’s simple Star Trek makes you think, If Transformers made 4 to 9 year old’s think how would minds that have not been educated how to think, if such a thing as a kid happened to think to figure things out, their brains could explode or at least need to see a mental doctor. This is also why cartoons rarely are longer than 30 minutes with ads or now 13 minutes with out ads.

And if you wish to become more than a couch potato you are going to need to learn how and why people think what, and in response to what. If you can not you’ll become a 40 year old cable installer at best.

Just remember small minds enjoy small things that do not require thinking. Then teenage boys love jiggle shows because they think with the brain in their pants not with their brain between their ears. And hopefully teens grow up to realize women have brains that think not just curves that attract.

60. TheBigCW - July 29, 2009

Does anyone have the IMAX only box office figures?

The film is still playing here in Boston in IMAX ( at the Aquarum),and is running till September 7th!

61. Montreal Paul - July 29, 2009

55. Brett Campbell – July 29, 2009
“Back-bacon crepes and Bador?”

Don’t you mean smoked meat and poutine… btw, what’s “bador”?

62. Spockish - July 29, 2009

Also remember that DVD sales may double or triple mediocre film totals. But quality films with importance to quality and plot with story line sales will last some 10 to 50 or more years. Just look at THE WIZARD OF OZ or most Disney Animated films, like Jungle Book, which was the first one I remember seeing and have on VHS that I converted to DVD in 720p format using my computer. And may remake to 1080p. But I only have a 720p DLP HDTV so no need to yet.

63. Brett Campbell - July 29, 2009

61 – My bad. I guess maybe it’s Brador — a beer we always used to drive to Canada to buy when I was a student at the University of Vermont, many moons ago.

I haven’t had a drink in nearly thirteen years, so I guess I didn’t remember the name of it correctly in my earlier post. I ask your pardon.

64. Brett Campbell - July 29, 2009

61 – BTW, what’s “poutine”?

65. S. John Ross - July 29, 2009

#59: “Star Trek makes you think”

It makes you think “Man, that was fun! Imagine what it would have been like had they included a plot! Let’s see it again, but this time I’m holding my hands off the safety rail!”

66. Harry Ballz - July 29, 2009


Brett, 30 years ago I used to party on Brador beer! Pretty potent stuff, eh?

67. CarlG - July 29, 2009

@64: French fries with gravy and melted cheese. Way better than it sounds, but you’ll probably want to hit the treadmill afterwards for a mile. Or 12.

68. CarlG - July 29, 2009

@65: Way off-topic, but those are really cool fonts on your site. I’ve been looking for one like that Spacedock Stencil font for a while.

69. Brett Campbell - July 29, 2009

66 – That’s exactly why we drove to Canada to get it, Harry!

70. Brett Campbell - July 29, 2009

67 – CarlG — Thanks for the explanation. Ah, Canadian cuisine!

If you ever make it to Burlington, Vermont, be sure to try the gravy-fries at Nectar’s bar and restaurant!

71. Brett Campbell - July 29, 2009

65 – “Imagine what it would have been like had they included a plot!” LOL!!! Bingo!

72. James Heaney - Wowbagger - July 30, 2009


73. S. John Ross - July 30, 2009

#68: A way-off-topic thank you :)

74. Finding Nimoy - July 30, 2009

Isn’t it funny that they just keep coming back day after day to troll in a place that advocates the movie that they hate so much? Sometimes, misery is comedy!


41. J.R.Q – July 29, 2009

A question for people who did not like the star trek movie. Why are you on this site?

75. S. John Ross - July 30, 2009

#53: Of course it’s reasonable; it’s just not information.

76. Rocket Scientist - July 30, 2009

74. Finding Nimoy

Oftentimes people regard their own negative opinion as being superior simply because it goes against the grain.

And of course they’re mistaken. It’s just another point of view with no more validity than any other. The fact that some feel the need to repeat themselves ad nauseum is bizarre.

Although I really enjoyed this movie, upon reflection I’m having some reservations about some of the creative choices made. Having said that, it doesn’t ruin my day that they didn’t do it exactly the way I would have liked.

77. Randy H. - July 30, 2009

#65 and #71: “Imagine what it would have been like had they included a plot!”

The film is very much like “Where No Man Has Gone Before”. NBC wanted a pilot that was more “action oriented” and showed how exciting the new show might be. It also introduced some technical issues (just like this new film) that remain to this day difficult to reconcile with the rest of the franchise stories.

But the plots of both WNMHGB and “Star Trek” were both really *intended* to be a backdrop to introducing the characters and showing off how exciting the show can be. (For what it is worth, “Star Trek”‘s plot was “Kirk must overcome personal and professional obstacles to prove both to himself and to others that he can captain a starship.”)

The issue isn’t if the plot in the movie was complex; the issue is how the next films are handled now that the “pilot” has been sold. If all we see is a series of whiz-bang shows without an inner complexity then that’ll mean the franchise has been turned into a sideshow. If, on the other hand, we see plots that emphasize character growth and interesting SF concepts, the franchise will be in good hands.

Only time will tell.

78. Check the Circuit! - July 30, 2009


Indeed. The “Talifans” might be better suited following more traditional Trek sites like Memory Alpha where they can gaze at static images of the past to their heart’s content.

(No disrespect intented to Memory Alpha…a comprehensive archive of Star Trek history….while this site seems to focus on it’s future, why respecting it’s past.)

79. Brett Campbell - July 30, 2009

74, 76 & 77 – I was just enjoying Mr. Ross’s quip. My friend and I — Trek fans for over forty years — found the plot thin, derivative and not much of the film memorable.

It is possible to love Trek and not be thrilled by this film. And Mr. Pascale has stated elsewhere that all opinions, even those that dissent from the current prevailing notion that this is a great film, are welcome at this site as long as they are respectfully stated.

And I do not think that my opinion is superior to others. But I also did not find this to be a superior film. I did not find it to be a bad one either. It was okay, IMHO.

Sorry if that doesn’t comply with how some people view comments on this site should fall.

80. Doug L - July 30, 2009

re 79 Brett Campbell and 74,76,77.

Brett, I totally agree with you. 74,76, 77 – I come to this site cause i really like Star Trek. I read this particular line of posts cause I’m very happy that it’s made the grade financially meaning… we’ll see more Trek.

I think the movie is OK at best. It’s a great reboot and I have no problem with how they tackled it conceptually, no problem with the actors, the redesigns, all of this is fine.

Simply analyzing it as a movie (not just comparing it against other Trek), it has some very weak explanation of motive for a number of characters, it has enormous plot holes, and it often relies on chance coincidence to further the story. These are structural problems that take me out of the movie, and I think a lot of people go overboard defending it.

I saw it once, that was enough at the theater, but i’ll buy the blue ray… i have lots of movies in my collection that don’t qualify as favorites. I’m excited to see it again despite its flaws, am eager to see the cut scenes and waiting with baited breath for the sequel.

In the end, they had to reboot Trek, I think it was a good idea, and i think they’ve set the groundwork right for the next movie.

Anybody gotta problem with that?? ;)

Doug L.

81. Brett Campbell - July 30, 2009

Doug L., I certainly have no problem with it. I look forward to seeing where Trek goes from here.

I just hope that they reintroduce some of the more weighty philosophic and ethical issues that classic Trek managed to pull off so well, even amidst the action-adventure format. I hope the subsequent films will give a little more depth and dimension to these rebooted characters. That was challenging to pull off in a reboot, for sure.

My other favorite sci-fi franchise from childhood was “Planet of the Apes,” which Tim Burton & Co. appear to have murdered and buried successfully eight years ago. Sigh.

Thank goodness the Trek reboot was far superior to that debacle and that we will hopefully have more Trek in theaters for some years to come.

Live long and prosper, sir.

82. Anthony Thompson - July 30, 2009

3 and 5.

Are you guys kidding? I’ll bet you’re both young (our education system has gone downhill in recent yesrs). “Unqualified success” is a compliment, not derogatory! Duh!

83. Anthony Thompson - July 30, 2009

Should be 3 and 15.

84. S. John Ross - July 30, 2009

#77: I was just riffing on the inadvertent humor in post #59. Your points are all well-taken but also, I daresay, stuff we already knew …

I liked ST09 for what it was (and see post #65 for what I think it was), and I understand the business decisions that made it that way. But I also reject some of the notion that this was the only way, or even the best way, to go about it.

But I liked it for what it was; it’s a fun product. But it never let me forget that it _was_ a _product,_ first and foremost, a creative work _second_ and Star Trek, dead last.

Most movies – even most great movies – are products first, of course. Hollywood doesn’t exist to tell stories; it exists to SELL stories. But the difference is that better films don’t _remind_ me of their corporate nature constantly throughout the experience of watching it.

And for the people who seem to think this site is intended solely as a holy temple and Kool-Aid fountain for those who think the film is beyond reproach: no, it isn’t. This is a site for all fans of Star Trek (and other SF stuff!) provided we keep it civil, and it’s a source of news – not just praise but information – about all things Trek (books, TV, toys, actors) and many things not-Trek, besides. _Do_ try to keep up; there’s a good lad.

Mustn’t misbehave or the mythical “haters” will go boo at you.

85. RD - July 30, 2009

#84. It’s the same logic that says, if you don’t like the current government’s policies, you should move to another country, rather than try to affect a change.

86. Son of a Maui Portagee - July 30, 2009

Well, rosy outlooks are all fine and well. But what is significant is: 2Q was that quarter of the ST “blockbuster” in which plenty of fans were making claims it already was generating HUGE profits for Paramount and yet Viacom reports profits plunging 32% and Paramount Pictures film studio in particular losing $25 million. This, in no small part, was probably due to the fact that they had to book the marketing costs of this blockbuster and other films that quarter.

We should also note that no one from Paramount is talking about profit generated by ST at this time but are concentrating on “future” profits being generated by home video which also took a hit and future grosses of ST:SS.

I’m not saying that tentpoling this ST is impossible – just that it is not as easy as tripping over your own feet as some appear to intimate and the executives helming this freely admit that they have no experience.

Also fans should keep an eye on all the ongoing cost cutting as it could eventually impinge on ST:SS’s budget in a replay of TWoK’s production development if Paramount’s current measures fail to achieve parity.

CBS, while down too and suffering advertising losses as well, fared far better – no doubt buoyed by blockbuster merchandising.

The important thing for fans is that even if Paramount were to experience a Three Mile Island economic meltdown and fold tomorrow, CBS would be highly-motivated to keep Trek in active development one way or another.

87. S. John Ross - July 30, 2009

#85: Yeah, tragic but accurate :(

88. AJ - July 30, 2009



In many ways, the very fact that Viacom is trumpeting Trek as a blockbuster is enough for the shareholders. The marketing costs may have been frontloaded, for sure, but much of the origination work for the new film series were most likely booked into ST09.

These would be production design and physical/virtual modeling, the cost of casting the main cast (all relatively low-cost talent), and the re-launch of the franchise into foreign markets where “Trek” is less known.

They will rake in the bacon on DVD/BR/Download release, and there is still the unknown revenues they will get from hotel/airplane business, PPV, Pay channels and eventual broadcast TV, PLUS the relaunch of the DVD/BR as a ‘Director’s Edition’ which would be in line with the previous 10 films. Lots of cash yet to be made. Throw merch in there as well, as it should do just fine.

Paramount has done well this summer, and while “GI Joe” seems it may have to overcome a perceived lack of faith in genredom to get the hat trick, the strategy of reviving “tentpoles” is sound, efficient, and cost-reducing in itself. Indy V and Beverly Hills Cop seem to be on the horizon.

89. Son of a Maui Portagees - July 30, 2009

#88. “Throw merch in there as well, as it should do just fine.” – AJ

In the divorce finalized in 2006, CBS retained all merchandising of Trek as well as ownership, please educate me as to the existence of any agreement that allows Paramount to participate in profits from that.

Obviously, as I stated, it is not the tentpoling that I question but the inexperience of the hands on the poles at a time when Paramount’s canal boat is navigating some very murky waters.

In a lot of ways you are drawing parallels to what Paramount did with TMP. However with that property they wholly owned Trek. Now they are reduced to being merely a licensee of it and again, I note this is something new for Paramount. They’ve never had to generate profit from a Trek movie in quite this way before.

If I understand Hollywood’s economic model of films that don’t generate BO profit outright correctly, it will have to match the BO in dollar sales of discs to so do. According to DEG TDK only moved 14 million disc units. That means Trek fans will have to spend retail $29 per disc package and no bargain hunting allowed this holiday season if they can mange those units moved for profit to ensue by year end.

That Trek eventually turns a profit, I don’t think anyone can argue against – even NEMESIS did that. But that Paramount needs profits NOW seems more than evident. To that end we can probably look forward to all kinds of confounding mergers, cost cutting and other schemes – beyond the currently tabled DVD production costs savings one.

With 46 cents a share compared to last year’s 64 cents, I somehow doubt shareholders are doing those cartwheels over Viacom’s trumpeting as energetically as you propose.

90. Scott Gammans - July 30, 2009

Oh, how I would have loved to attend that performance!

91. RD - July 30, 2009

#89 – I would almost guarantee that when CBS & Paramount split, both were able to negotiate some profit participation within the domains that were otherwise exclusively theirs. First and foremost, I would imagine Paramount has a right of first refusal over new Trek films. The first time they pass, they lose their license to the highest bidder. In that vein, they may well get a $1 license as well. Why? Because CBS gets a royalty on everything the movie generates. My guess is CBS is a profit participant in every aspect of the film. But don’t forget, Paramount home video (a Viacom company) also has exclusive right to all of CBS Television products. Meaning Paramount gets a cut of everything CBS sells on video. CBS on the other hand is an exclusive distributor of Paramount’s properties for television, so they get a cut of every film they sell for broadcast. It’s even possible CBS has the right of first refusal over film properties developed for television (like Young Indiana Jones). FInally there is merchandising. Given the cozy relationship, I would be shocked if an inducement to enter into the split was not offered to share profits when it comes to merchandising. Certainly such rights are obtained when other properties are licensed, so I would expect the same for Trek. However their cozy relationship almost guarantees as long as Paramount produces Trek films, they will receive a profit from the ancillary sales. I would also expect that CBS cannot simply market anything they want from the film without Paramount’s permission. Certainly this must be a complex agreement that offers both parties some kind of incentive to split the companies in the first place.

92. Son of a Maui Portagee - July 30, 2009

#91 – Perhaps you would find this pertinent?:

“We are an independent company. It’s our responsibility at Viacom to drive our strategy to benefit our shareholders.” – Philippe Dauman, CEO VIACOM

“”They were always intended to be independent companies, free to compete with each other.” – Sumner Redstone, who owns controlling interest in both Viacom and CBS

FWIW here’s the latest on EPIX:

93. Doug L. - July 31, 2009

re 81 Brett

Couldn’t agree more on all points. Planet of the Apes included. DL

94. RD - July 31, 2009

#92, not sure what those articles are supposed to tell me. It speaks specifically of Showtime, not CBS TV distribution. It also doesn’t break out how much Showtime pays for Paramount vs. the others. The way it works is this … Paramount’s feature film product is brokered by CBS television distribution, itself an independent subsidiary of CBS and a separate entity of CBS. CBS TVD “sells” Paramount’s product to Showtime and takes a percentage for the distribution. But Showtime is a minor player in television distribution, which is a worldwide venture across many networks, which depends on experience and relationships which went to CBS. DItto for home video & Parmount. CBS TVD will most likely continue to “sell” Paramount’s movies to Epix, depending on how the split deal was structured and what was “grandfathered in”.

There is no way to infer the internal operations and profit participations for a whole studio from a couple of articles about one business venture. It is entirely possible that the Showtime deal notwithstanding that Paramount is still tied to Showtime on specific projects for first refusal. Despite their overall deal with Showtime being over, that may apply only to new product and not franchises which are still in production by Paramount. I guess we’ll see this Winter when Trek shows up on pay-cable. Nevertheless, CBS will get their share of TV distribution. Just like Paramount gets their share distributing TOS & TNG era DVD & BD.

Eventually I expect both companies to completely divest themselves of mutual interests, especially if Paramount merges with another studio and CBS expands its feature film business. But the deal would have been entered into to protect both companies over a period of time, for whom otherwise major profit centers were being stripped from their holdings – if for no other reason than to prevent Nat’l Amusement’s corporate holdings from plummeting dramatically while they got used to walking on their own legs.

95. Brian Kirsch - July 31, 2009

As a side note, while perusing the BOMJ site, I noticed that as of today, Star Trek lost 79 theaters, while Terminator: Salvation expanded and added 176 theaters! So I compared their daily gross and gross per theater, and neither is even close! There is obviously more business being generated by Star Trek, so what gives?

Can one of you fellow posters with more knowledge of how “hollywood” works please explain this to me? Is it a “contractual” thing between studios and theater chains?

96. Brian Kirsch - July 31, 2009

As for revenue streams, the cable channel FX has already signed a deal to air the film beginning in Nov. ’11 for $24M. That will be (at current thinking) 5 or 6 months after the sequel hits the theaters. Any idea if the film will be purchased by a major broadcast network (ABC, NBC, CBS, FOX) before then? Major TV exposure before the sequel would be wise….

97. Son of a Maui Portagee - July 31, 2009

#94. You just seemed confused about why they would split in the first place. I’m not saying the answer is there – just that the stated purpose might give some hint, i.e. might be pertinent. Also, it demonstrated that after the split, agreements such you speculated, did exist in other areas but carried expiration dates, after which, the parties involved seem more than willing to take each other on in competition.

All your other speculations on the possible internal arrangements between the two with regards to Trek are absolutely fascinating and wholly supportive of my contention that Paramount has never before had to steer a course to profit with Trek in quite this way.

The only other thing I can think to note is that since the split Viacom has had a parade of top executive firings starting with Moonves’ mirror twin. That Moonves hasn’t experienced that drama personally would lead one to speculate that if such agreements do exist: he got the better end of those deals.

You are also well aware that Moonves gave Gail Berman the Trek deadline which basically was a use it or lose it declaration – setting another one of those expiration dates, if you will. It seems clear, that if Paramount had been left with any kind of a hand with regards to Trek in the split that she wouldn’t have even had to bother with pleading for his permission? And we can speculate that ST:SS likely carries a development start window as well?

As you indicate, Moonves is film feature savvy. It seems unlikely he would settle for a “traditional” Hollywood profit participation scheme? This could mean Paramount’s Trek profit course may be more treacherous than I imagined.

98. RD - August 1, 2009

97. Son of a Maui Portagee – #94. You just seemed confused about why they would split in the first place.

My understanding it resulted from an internal struggle for control of the company. Les Moonves is a powerful man in Hollywood and the boardroom and strong-armed Sumner Redstone into the split, which also had potential financial benefits for both companies and their stock holders. If you care to share more clarity on it, I’ll be happy to receive it.

However, simply because Moonves has chosen to aggressively pursue his options, as has Paramount, is only evidence of a continued rivalry and efforts by both companies to autonomously control their fiefdoms. It does not preclude the existence of arrangements to protect both parties from profit losses in the first place. I have no doubt that Viacom did not give up profit participations on properties they otherwise owned outright. Why do you think Moonves would lower the hammer on Gail Berman in the first place? So he could sell an extremely profitable franchise to the highest bidder and be out from under a profit participation scheme and sweetheart deal structured as part of the separation package to remunerate Paramount for the loss of a massive franchise. Paramount executives were likely tasked with the duty of exploring the film potential of the entire television catalogue before they loose exclusive rights to the product. Trek is of course the most devistating blow of all … it’s a 30 year film franchise that has begat billions of dollars for Paramount in box-office, home video and merchandising. Now all they have are the films and extremely lucrative home video sales. It is in Paramount’s best interest (and National Amusements) to keep the franchise at Paramount so that they will continue earning off of a guaranteed franchise. Of course there are sun-down clauses on everything. At some point in the future CBS will likely assume their own home video distribution and Paramount will distribute its own TV. But individual properties will most definitely be grandfathered to conclusion. As long as Paramount produces Trek, whatever arrangement was in place at the time of corporate dissolution will remain in effect (unless Paramount merges with another studio). That is the nature of the Hollywood deal. I know producers who hate each other who have been tied at the hip by a single successful partnership which ran for years beyond their expectations. Paramount is undoubtedly hoping for this, while CBS can’t wait for them to fail.

99. Son of a Maui Portagee - August 5, 2009

About the only thing I thought to mention was that Norway Corporation seems to still be a factor but the reporting is sketchy so it is difficult to discern to what extent:

100. RD - October 5, 2009

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