Variety is reporting that Paramount has pushed the release of the new Star Trek movie from Christmas 2008 to May 8, 2009. Apparently the reason is to go for bigger box office during the summer season. Variety quotes a studio insider saying “Star Trek has the potential to gross more in May than in December.”
UPDATE: Trek move part of larger reshuffling at Paramount
Apparently this is all part of a larger plan on the part of Paramount and the decision was likely made by new Film Division Head John Lesher. Here is more from Variety’s Blog.
John Lesher is starting to make his imprint felt at Paramount. (And make no mistake, he’s still overseeing Vantage too.) Paramount is changing a number of release dates on their 2008 and 2009 skeds, moving J.J. Abrams’ Star Trek from Christmas, 2008 to May 8, 2009. David Fincher’s Brad Pitt-starrer The Curious Case of Benjamin Button will move from November 26 to December 19, 2008.
DreamWorks Pictures’ comedy Tropic Thunder, originally scheduled for July 11, will now be released on August 15 by DreamWorks-Paramount. And Sam Mendes’ Revolutionary Road, starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet, originally announced as a DreamWorks-Paramount release, will now be distributed by Paramount Vantage. Which makes perfect sense; who better to handle it as an Oscar contender?
UPDATE 2: Nothing to do with script
The Hollywood Reporter also notes that Paramount’s reshuffling of six films was due to a rethink after the strike and that in the case of Trek it was not related to the script.
Dramatically underscoring the need for movie-side execs to review slates following the long writers strike, Paramount on Wednesday bounced six films to new dates and moved two unslotted films to next year’s calendar.
Other distributors were scrambling to complete similar reviews of their upcoming productions to determine what can or can’t be delivered on scheduled dates. In some cases, films will move because of talent issues, but many film projects have been frozen in time when script rewrites weren’t completed before the 100-day scribe walkout.
“Star Trek” arguably was the biggest film moved, with the intended Christmas Day release now set for the first prime date in the following summer boxoffice season: May 8, 2009. But “Trek” appears something of an exception in the mix of itinerant pics, with its shift unrelated to script or cast considerations.
” ‘Star Trek’ is moving to summer because its has so much boxoffice potential,” Par spokesman Michael Vollman said. “It does not need any script tweaks. They’re two-thirds of the way through shooting, and we would have delivered a great movie at Christmas.”
Summer a better move?
Although winter release films can make a lot of money (like the recent Lord of the Rings films and last years Bond film), the biggest film’s tend to come out in the Summer. Due to the writer’s strike, the summer of 2009 will be a bit lighter than 2007 and 2008. Right now there are no movies slated for the 8th of May 2009, although the week before is X-Men Origins: Wolverine and the week after is Angels and Demons (ironically this sequel to The Da Vinci Code was originally slated to come out the weekend before Star Trek in December 2008). Of course, there is no guarantee those films will stay in those slots. As for Christmas this year, Star Trek was one of three films being released that day (although the other two were likely more aimed at different markets).
The move could be to help fill Paramount Dreamworks 2009 line-up after 2008 which already has a number of strong entries (Spiderwick, Iron Man, Indy 4, Madagascar 2, The Love Guru, Benjamin Button, etc.). The only other big films currently slated for Summer 2009 are Transformers 2 on June 29th and G.I. Joe in August.
As more details emerge, TrekMovie.com will report them.
Obviously my first feeling is disappointment. No one saw this coming and all reports from the production and Paramount are that things are looking great. Looking at the landscape I think it is likely that Paramount feel their 2008 lineup is already strong and their 2009 is looking a little thin. Plus 2009 has less competition and more summer movie goers. Of course it should also ensure a better film as all that time can be spent on more polishing and more post-production. So in the end we can get a better movie that appeals to a larger audience (translating into more strength for the franchise) which is all good. But it still means waiting twenty more weeks for the film and that is not fun.