Burk Talks Bigger Movie, Budgets, 3D, Roddenberry Vision & More At Star Trek Into Darkness Moscow Event

As we have been reporting, Star Trek Into Darkness producer Bryan Burk has been on a global tour showing footage of the movie at special preview events for industry and press professionals. One of his stops late last week was in Moscow. TrekMovie Russian partner site trekker.ru was at the event and have provided us with an exclusive report.  


Burk Talks Into Darkness Differences, 3D and Big Budgets At Moscow Event

Late last week Star Trek Into Darkness producer Bryan Burk took his tour of showing footage of the film to industry and press to Moscow. At the event he introduced the footage by talking about the film and post-production. He began by describing the differences between 2009’s Star Trek and Star Trek Into Darkness, saying:

When we released our last Star Trek film we were fortunate to have a wonderful reaction from around the world. But when we started talking about doing a new film my fellow producers and I really didn’t want to take the success of that film for granted. We knew if we were going to do a new film we had to earn doing a new film. It had to be better than the last film. It had to have more drama. More action than the last one. More emotion than the last one. It had to have more impossible odds. It had to be bigger.

Burk’s global promotional tour does not include any 3D footage. While explaining why to the Moscow crowd he detailed the laborious process they are undergoing for the 3D conversion:

We decided for Star Trek we wanted to make [the 3D conversion] special, which is why nothing you are going to see tonight is in 3D. It turns out that the process that we chose to use is significantly more laborious and precise than we ever imagined. We are literally going shot by shot and frame by frame pushing things further than they have ever been pushed. Our stereographer – the guy who is in charge of doing 3D – we regularly have these conversations and he says ‘you can’t further than this, nobody goes further than this’ and we say ‘go further!’ So when the movie comes out we will have it in IMAX and in 3D – hopefully like nothing you have seen before.

Bryan Burk (with translator) talking to Moscow press and industry professionals
(Photo by Denis Ananiev)

It is noteworthy that this new tour Burk is on showing the first 30 minutes of the movie does not include any events in the USA. The reason for that is clear, Paramount is putting a lot of effort to boost Star Trek internationally – especially in non-English speaking countries where the franchise has never had big box office success. Specifically for Russia, 2009’s Star Trek was the first film in the franchise to get a wide release. So for this audience Burk emphasized how Star Trek Into Darkness was made for anyone, even those who have not seen the last movie, saying:

We also knew that if we were making this film, it would have to work for people who have never seen Star Trek. They had to be able to walk into the theater, sit down, and completely understand what is going on — learn to love these characters instantly with no knowledge of anything before. We didn’t want it to be a sequel, we wanted it to be it’s own film. So we thought we could do all of those things without compromising we could make a film for everyone.

We have reported before that of the five producers (Abrams, Orci, Lindelof, Kurtzman and Burk) that Bryan Burk was the one member of the group who wasn’t a Star Trek fan before getting involved with the franchise. In Moscow he spoke about his experience with Trek and how Bad Robot got Paramount to spend more on their Star Trek movies in order to attract a wider audience (including people like himself):

I quickly was thrown into the world of Star Trek and started learning a lot about it. Here is what I learned: Gene Roddenberry – the man who created Star Trek – was a genius. He made a [show] about us, about all of us getting together. And all of our problems, all of our wars, had all gone away. And we were all working together to survive. What is better than that? It is not about far away planets and distant aliens, it is about humans, about us, about Earthlings. Where we have to combine forces to explore and protect and to fight and to love for everything that is out there. So then I start wondering how is it I didn’t get that before. Why wasn’t I a Star Trek fan?

What I realized was, for years the old studio regime – many studio executives – always made Star Trek films for a very small segment who did love Star Trek films. They did not make them for me. They never spent the money on it – the resources were not made available like they were for other Hollywood films. Not to say that Gene Roddenberry and all the writers that followed him – let alone all the craftsmen and artists and production designers, cameramen and visual effects people – all these people were brilliant. Particularly because they had to make these films with limited resources and limited funds. So we said, if we were going to do a new Star Trek film we need more money. And we were going to put up all that on the screen. And fortunately for all of us, Paramount Pictures went beyond our expectations and supported it not only financially, but also creatively. Allowing us to do anything we wanted to do.

Russian poster for "Star Trek: Vengeance"
(aka Star Trek Into Darkness)

Special thanks to Oleg Ryzhikov (@elfwine) and Tatiana “JLPaparazzzzi” Gomozova of our Russian partner site trekker.ru  for providing Moscow reporting for this article.

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I like what Burk said about what Star Trek means and how he was drawn into that. I hope that “Into Darkness” represents more of what Star Trek means than the previous film did. Although I liked the last film quite a lot, it lacked the message of prior Star Trek outings. If they can find a way to make a big action movie that includes the message of Star Trek, then the franchise will be well-served for many years to come and the public will be better off for it.

Traveling man…

Where was Chekov?

Translated to normal, non-salesman speak:


“Gene Roddenberry – the man who created Star Trek – was a genius.”

…and a truly visionary adept! =D

If any of the trekker.ru guys.пшкды are here, can you please let us know what cinemas will be showing the film in Russia this summer? I will be living in St. Petersburg most likely until the end of the year from mid-April.

По-русски разговариваю

Courting international interest is fine, and I cant blame Paramount for wanting to make as much money as they possibly can…but all I really care about is that bottom line that allows that magic green-light to turn on. Rake in enough dough domestically for another sequel to get the “go-ahead” and I really couldn’t care less about the box office take overseas!


Today tentpoles have to compete world wide. International is no longer just ‘extra’ on top of Domestic, it is now essential. Star Trek has under-performed and Paramount are trying to turn that around. If they cant, then Star Trek will no longer be seen as tentpole material and will return to 2nd class status at the studio, behind even the GI Joe franchise.

…all about the (domestic) “benjamins”?

…all i need is enough money for another load of crap?

…no wonder “rest of world” could give a damn… =(

Right on #1!

…in my eyes, JJ-trek is already WELL behind GI Joe! LOL! =D

…will be interesting to see how they compare this summer! ;-)

Due do very bad marketing and voice acting, STXI did worse than Nemesis in Germany… the need for better worldwide attention is definitely there.

Good stuff here. Yes, I wonder where Anton Yelchin (Chekov) is. Surely, this would have been an excellent opportunity for the Russian speaking actor to speak on behalf of his character and for STID.

I have to wonder – does Chekov die in this movie?…:(

I hope that STID does well all over. Fingers crossed that it is everything I hoped for and more!

What must it be like? To play russian roulette with the studio’s money? :)

…if ya’ SMELL what THE ROCK is COOKIN’! =D

…you damn JABRONIS! ;-)


(Rock was great as special guest star on ‘Enterprise’…)

Paramount *did* give Gene Roddenberry the resources to make a huge, epic film in 1979. Despite making a modest profit, it was still incredibly expensive to produce. Once Harve Bennett and Nick Meyer showed that you could make a well-received Star Trek film with a limited budget, Paramount never looked back.

Do the Star Trek movies screened in non-English speaking countries use subtitles or voice actors? Having watched foreign films, subtitles seem to work better. Given that English as a second language is a compulsory subject in many European schools, it makes sense to do what was done with Top Gun.

I recall the first time I ever saw Top Gun (with Tom Cruise) was on a ferry going to Norway/Sweden. Many of the passengers were Swedish and so the subtitles were in Swedish (I think), with the English audio left in. A lot of the younger people on the ferry were fairly familiar with English anyway, so hearing it in English with subtitles was no bother for them. BTW – everyone loved the movie!

7. Except Paramount does. That’s where the real money can be made, I’m guessing. A lot of these massive, expensive movies get as much as 3/4 of their money from international box office. But Trek 09 got only 30% from the worldwide take. When movies cost $200 million+ to make (sure, Trek costs less, but still), they gotta do well worldwide, it seems. Heck, a lot of these movies did just fine even if you don’t include the North American box office.

Avatar made 720 million domestically — and an extra 2 billion internationally.

Avengers (2012): $623m D + $888m Int.
Skyfall (2012): $304m D + $803m Int.
DKR (2012): $448m D + $643m Int.
A. Spider-Man (2012): $262m D + $490m. Int
MI:4 (2011): $209m D + $485m. Int
H. Potter 8 (2011): $381m D + $947m Int.
Transform. 3 (2011): $352m D + $771m Int.

Trek 09 (2009): $258m D + $128m Int.
ST: Nemesis (2002): $43m D + $21m Int.

17. Often dubbing in much of Europe, I think. Subtitles in Asia. I could be wrong.

GI Joe 2 Retaliation : Meet Storm Shadow


THIS is how you KICK ASS!!!

I share Keachick’s apprehension about Chekov … especially since he’s now wearing the oft-fatal redshirt [I know, I know, dark humor]

It is really too bad they didn’t have Anton Yelchin on tour with Mr Burk. At the least a financially stupid decision, at the most insensitive to Russian viewers, whose interest they are trying to stimulate!

“at the most insensitive to Russian viewers”


19. I actually have no idea what I’m talking about. When I was in Europe it was mostly dubbing. Korea and Japan mostly subtitles. But I don’t really know the norm.

insensitive? seriously?

Some people seem to go out of their way to gin up controversy and offense where there is none. The Russians I have talked to were impressed that Paramount even held the event and sent a producer. This event was for industry and press to build buzz for distribution and promotional partners. This wasn’t a media event with celebrities type of thing. That comes later. They brought Anton to Moscow for the premiere in 2009. I wouldnt be surprised to see them do that again.


The bigger the country/market, the greater the chance that you get a dubbed version. I live in Germany and Star Trek here is always dubbed.

Scandinavia is a too small and a not so significant market, therefore expensive dubbing is not worthwhile (subtitles are relatively cheap)

I dont agree with Burk that the suits at Paramount did not put enough money into the Trek-Films. Star Trek for years was primarily a TV-Franchise, and it was THE biggest TV-franchise ever. The movies were just icing on the cake, a bit more expensive TV-episodes. Yes Star Wars had bigger movies, and bigger success at the Box-Office, but Star Wars had never a TVseries. You cannot compare that.
The impression that Trek was always mistreated is wrong.And now that Trek has been not on TV for a long time Paramount has finaly the ressources to put much money to solidify Trek as a Film-franchise. Now it can compete with Star Wars.
But only because there are currently no TV-series on air.

I am proud of these guys, GR would be proud to see how far ST has come and it is in good hands.

I cant wait to see the new trailers and the film in IMAX 3D, will there be a novel or anything collectable to buy? Scrapbook of day to day on set, script process, special effects and concepts etc

Collectable autographed cards by upper deck?

I want a dual patch numbered autograph card of pine and nimoy, boboci and court etc…

“Our 3D conversion goes up to 11”

/This is Spinal Trek

Seriously.. I can’t wait. My friend in the cube next to me and I are regularly talking about the movie…He and his wife are big Trek fans.. And I…Well I started attending Cons with EquiCon in LA back in ’75.

I’m glad they have more money, but I think they spent most the extra funds on CGI. Not on sets or costumes. Specifically, the brewery engine room, the Vulcan outpost with its cinderblock walls, tiled floors and crash-bar equipped doors. And sundry poured concrete, girders and draped plastic inside the Enterprise.I think their interpretation of TOS costumes is interesting — layering — but obviously these uniforms are not tailored like the TV clothes. Maybe they want to feature the undershirt? And the biggest battle since the Dominion War, or Wolf 359 – in which Starfleet is wiped out by Nero — is not shown at all. CGI looks good, sometimes, but the “cheap” Trek movies managed to get some interesting sets (bar,security room, lounge in STIII) and iconic costumes (ST2 jfield jacket) with few bucks to spare. I’d like to see some of the extra dough spent on more than CGI.

Nice work ;)

I’ll say it again in case you missed the subtlety. I Am Herbert. You are a complete douchenozzle. Go see GI Joe and have fun in their thread. If they even have one. You are growing quite tiresome (to quote Sprockets).



Anton went to Moscow for the last one, and, having lived there at the time, the impression my Russian work colleagues had was that this was “Star Wars with that Russian guy.”

Not that that’s bad, as it may put butts in seats, but Russia has no TV tradition of the “Trek” on TV. I think they had the death-throes of TNG with the last few films, but what the average Russian knows of Kirk and Spock, etc. came from the ’09 reboot.

The hope is,obviously, that STID will make the franchise stand up for itself in Russia and all countries that seem to be raking in profits these days.

@26 “I dont agree with Burk that the suits at Paramount did not put enough money into the Trek-Films. Star Trek for years was primarily a TV-Franchise, and it was THE biggest TV-franchise ever.”

Where do you get that from??? Gunsmoke ran for 20 years, Law and Order ran for 20 years, ER ran for 15 years, and MASH and Hawaii Five-0 ran for 12 years each.

@35 MJ, Star Trek has 3+2+7+7+7+4 seasons of television. I do believe that adds up to 30 years of Trek seasons.

I AM SO SORRY! It is “I am NOT Herbert” On analysis, you do sound like a Herbert. Or Eugene.

I am letting this get to me. I have loved the TOS for a long time. AND I love what JJ has given us. The pedantic “aahh lens flair, Jar Jar Abrams, you ruined old trek, it is THE END OF THE WORLD, crap has me on edge.

A great cast. An interesting, thought provoking premise (time travel has altered the universe as we knew it) and great care put into the visuals… how is that not great news for trek fans?! We have a summer blockbuster instead of some ho -hum boring ass Christmas release of a movie that no one wants to see. And dare I say ..at this point with the Next Gen, would never get made! I am happy. VERY happy we have a re-imagined Trek with our favorite characters. It escapes me how some hold it in contempt. An action adventure. With some heady topics woven within. And to boot, our favorite characters in the middle. How is this a bad thing? In comparison to…NO MORE TREK. Because folks…after Enterprise and Insurrection, that Universe was DONE. Over. No more. Someone please explain to me why this attempt to give us this Universe and group of characters back is a bad thing? 2009 Trek was a good movie! Maybe not totally the vision held dear, but it was fun! And balanced several intriguing ideas. Time Travel Alternate universes. (Red)Anti-matter creating travel able white holes. For cryin out loud! Inception didn’t turn your head around so much. So please enlighten me. What would YOU have created to #1. SELL TICKETS AT THE BOX OFFICE (um…reason movies are made). #2. Stay true to what Star Trek is. Please. One idea. Mic drop. I am done.

I am not Herbert but I am a troll – Star Trek 2009 made more money than GI Joe, and Into Darkness is going to beat Retaliation too.

I do take slight umbrage, however, to Burk’s comments about how Paramount only made the ST movies for the fans. What’s wrong with that? It was, after all, the fans that kept the franchise alive during the dark days of the 1970’s and made it possible for Paramount to make all those billions.

Besides, surely a sufficiently clever writer (or writers) could have made a film that could appeal to the masses while at the same time staying true to the fans – in fact, they did: Star Trek IV The Voyage Home, a solid crossover hit.

@37. Edshrinker

Agreed, wholeheartedly.


Come on, you can’t compare today’s market with that of twenty-five years ago.

The movie business is much bigger now than it has ever been. There is far more competition. The increase in the budgets of blockbusters is part of the “arms race” between studios who need to keep their film franchises going. With all the money spent on cgi and visual effects as well as massive sets and elaborate costumes, simply making movies strictly for the fans is suicidal for the studio’s bottom line.

Also, you can’t do the epic-scale, effects oriented, action-packed thrill rides like “The Dark Knight Trilogy”, “Star Wars”, “The Avengers” on a budget of merely $80 million. “Star Trek” eventually got to the point where a low budget showed up badly on screen, especially in comparison to the “Lord Of The Rings” movies and the “Star Wars” prequels.

A movie like “The Voyage Home” might have done well almost thirty years ago, but it would bomb at the box office today if that type of film were made today. There wasn’t nearly the same amount of competition that there is today. Movies today only have a window of maybe two months at the most to make money in the theatres. It has to also do well on home video, something that wasn’t as important back in the eighties.

@36: “@35 MJ, Star Trek has 3+2+7+7+7+4 seasons of television. I do believe that adds up to 30 years of Trek seasons.”

Oh, we are adding all the series together the? Well, OK, I can do that math too:

Law and Order = 20 seasons
Law and Order SVU = 14 seasons
Law and Order Criminal Intent = 11 season
L&O Trial by Jury and L&O LA = 2 seasons

Law and Order TV Franchaise Total = 47 Seasons

Law and Order is thus the most successful TV franchaise of all time, with over 50% more episodes that all of the Star Trek series.


Anthony: “Jonboc, today tentpoles have to compete world wide. International is no longer just ‘extra’ on top of Domestic, it is now essential. Star Trek has under-performed and Paramount are trying to turn that around. If they cant, then Star Trek will no longer be seen as tentpole material and will return to 2nd class status at the studio, behind even the GI Joe franchise.”

Anthony, I agree with you completely here. Jonboc simply does not understand the significant importance of growing the overseas market for Trek.

@37 / Edshrinker,

OUTSTANDING post, dude. I agree 100%


I agree. “Law & Order” is the most successful tv franchise in history. Not even close. Just look at the number of high-profile guest stars. Heck, even Captain Janeway appeared on SVU. :-)

Those shows (specifically the original plus SVU) also got better ratings than either TOS or TNG, both of which were the highest rated of the Trek franchise.

I will say though, that “Star Trek” would be the most successful TV/Film combo franchise in entertainment history.

And it is certainly the most successful sci-fi property (alongside “Dr. Who”) in history as well.

I will also say that Jonboc needs to do some research on the importance of overseas revenue for Hollywood films. And when I say research, I mean Jonboc taking the time to read Jack’s excellent factual post at #18.

For far too long, Paramount had ignored the huge markets in India, China, Russia, and South America.

@46 “I will also say that Jonboc needs to do some research on the importance of overseas revenue for Hollywood films. And when I say research, I mean Jonboc taking the time to read Jack’s excellent factual post at #18.”

Exactly. The facts on this are out there to be found if Jonboc is willing to at least do a little bit of research in learning about how major movies are marketed internationally these days.

These aren’t the 1990’s anymore, Jonboc. I recommend you update your knowledge in this area.

@6 AJ
I think in late may and early june you will have a chance to see STID in ALL and ANY St. Petersburg movie theater.

@21 Marja
Anthony is right, we are really glad, that there was any kind of preview event, and we were invited to it. Any famous guests, like producers or actors, are just extra icing on this rare Star Trek cake!

And about Anton Yelchin. He is a fine actor, and his Chekov is fun, but he really doesn’t attract hordes of crazy fans to Russian cinemas.
In fact, there are a lot more fans of Pine, Quinto, Urban or even Greenwood in Russia. And don’t get me started on Cumberbatch!!

Chekov seems to have exactly one scene in the movie, so I doubt Yelchin will be doing much promoting anywhere.

@Oleg, not really. Most have never heard of either of these actors. There are definitely not “hordes” to speak of. And those who have seen ST 09 have all mentioned Chekov in some way.

Overall, I don’t think the movie is going to do too well in Russia, since Star Trek is still virtually unknown and ST09 just didn’t really create much of an audience and the producers must know it, hence they don’t bother too much with the marketing anyway.

Yeah, the know Chekov – “that strange funny russian from Star Trek”, but no fans of Yelchin.

When talking about fans, I was referring to sci-fi and other tv show fandoms. Quinto is known for Heroes, Urban for Dredd and other stuff. Sherlock is also well known, of cause.