Today it was announced that Paramount CEO Brad Grey’s contract has been extended until 2014. One of Grey’s first actions after joining Paramount in 2005 was signing JJ Abrams and his Bad Robot production company to a multi-picture deal, which included Star Trek as its first big film. Abrams and Trek are now being cited as part of the reasoning for Grey’s extension.
Hollywood vet predicts Grey’s Trek will be a ‘blockbuster’
If it weren’t for Brad Grey, there may not be a tent pole Star Trek film in production now. After the box office failure of Nemesis in 2002 and the cancellation of Enterprise in 2005, there was not a lot of appetite for Trek at the studio. Before Grey joined Paramount there was a script in development ("Star Trek The Beginning" written by Erik Jendresen), but that project was going nowhere by time Grey came on board. In 2005 Grey became impressed with how Abrams was handling Mission: Impossible: III (which was directed by Abrams and co-written with Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman). During that same period Abrams, Orci and Kurtzman began talks with Paramount about their idea for bringing back Star Trek. Shortly after M:I:III’s release in 2006 Paramount announced Abrams’ new multi picture deal (including Star Trek), with Grey calling Abrams "the next Steven Spielberg."
Today former Warner Brothers chief Bob Daly, who is now consulting Paramount, cited the Abrams deal and Star Trek as key feathers in Grey’s cap, telling THR:
I think Brad’s done a very good job. The place was pretty empty when he got there, but he’s developed some franchises. Getting (producer-director) J.J. Abrams was a really big coup. I think ‘Star Trek’ is going to be a blockbuster. Brad’s Chapter 1 was getting his own team in place. In Chapter 2, he’ll have to watch costs, watch overhead and come up with a couple of hit movies a year. That’s the way it works.
For his part, Abrams is also quoted in the article, saying of Grey:
I could not ask for or imagine a better creative partnership.
What does this mean for Trek?
This may all seem like Hollywood studio politics, however any student of Trek history (and reader of the various biographies and ‘making of’ books) can tell you that having the head of the studio in your corner is very important for Star Trek. Right now Abrams and Trek have Paramount (and its parent Viacom) very excited. Hopefully Mr. Daly is right and they will still be excited after the returns come in, which means that we could be talking seriously about the next Star Trek movie before the year is out.
TrekMovie.com Trivia Alert:
The article linked above ("Paramount Signs JJ Abrams For Star Trek XI" on July 15, 2006), was the first ever article for TrekMovie.com. It was originally published at the beta site (stxi.blogspot.com) and then moved over to the permanent site in August 2006 (without the original comments). And in case you are wondering, this article is the 2,082nd.