Shuttle Pod 28: Fiftieth Anniversary Roundup

As 2016 comes to a close, the Shuttle Pod crew take a look back at Star Trek’s 50th anniversary. How did Star Trek Beyond fare at the box office, and will there be a fourth Kelvin universe film? What do we know about Star Trek: Discovery and what does its success (or failure) mean for the franchise? And, what are Trek fans hopeful for for the 51st anniversary?

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Star Trek Beyond – How did it do?

The final box office tallies for Beyond are in…

  Domestic International Total
Star Trek (2009) $257M $128M $385M
Into Darkness $228M $238M $467M
Beyond $159M $184M $343M

Here’s what that looks like visually…

Kelvin universe box office totals

Kelvin universe box office totals

Will there be a fourth Kelvin-verse film?

Simon Pegg’s twitter account sent out the above photo that set the internet into a flurry of speculation. IS STAR TREK 4 CONFIRMED!?!?!? The answer may not surprise you… probably not. The picture, which shows the writers of Star Trek Beyond Simon Pegg and Doug Jung set up at Bad Robot studios typing something up.

Pile this image on top of J.J. Abrams’ various announcements that a fourth film is in the works and other rumors circling around the internet about the film being at some level of production, it’s no wonder lots of blogs assumed that ‘Star Trek 4’ is a sure thing.

But, reading between the lines, it seems completely uncertain whether another Kelvin-verse film will be made, at least in the short run. Based on the box office numbers alone, it would seem exceedingly doubtful that the studio would take a risk on a fourth film, given that Beyond was the lowest grossing film to date (despite high praise by critics).

Star Trek: Discovery – What we know and what DSC means for the franchise

The biggest thing on every Trekkie’s mind right now is the upcoming new television series, Star Trek: Discovery. Here’s a breakdown of some of the latest news for the new show:

Bringing the 50th to a close

As 2016 winds down and 2017 begins, what are you looking forward to on Star Trek’s 51st anniversary? Tell us in the comments!

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If you take a good look at Paramount statistics at Box Office site, you will see that the Studio has only 3 franchise money-maker: Transformers , Mission Impossible and Star Trek.
2016 – Top Gross – Star Trek Beyond and Arrival
2013 – Top Gross – Star Trek and World War Z
2009 – Top Gross -Star Trek and Transformers
Star Trek is always the first or second top Money-maker movie by Paramount. The Studio Will try another movie because there is no other option to invest.

Good point, and an interesting stat I hadn’t noticed. Hopefully they’ll slash the budget and force the filmmakers to be more inventive, and focus on characters and drama.

Oh please! Of course there will be a 4 film! ST movies before have had a problem with diminishing returns and still more were made. They just found a way to do more with less. Some say they do better that way anyway.

Beyond looks OK looking at the numbers. They are not catastrophic or anything! Internation gross was good. Beyond seems to have done poorly in America more than anything else. But I do think its a dead given that we get one more movie with new-kirk and crew because another reboot would be a big gamble during uncertain financial times. The studio wouldnt risk that when theyve got a stable movie franchise already going.

Will be astonished if there’s no fourth film. This one was a rushed job that was poorly marketed. Paramount have stated that it will happen, key cast members are locked in and JJ Abrams who turns everything into gold is behind the idea.

Very worried about STD. Seems like it’s set during a war with the Klingons. I think the prequel timeframe is too limiting and Trek should keep the format simple. Set it on a starship called Enterprise and explore strange new worlds and new civilisations.

Yes because the last series set aboard a starship called Enterprise was such a roaring success.

What would I like to see for the 51st? A proper STTMP – Directors Edition Blu-Ray release.

AND a blu-ray release of the original star trek BLOOPERS!
The Roddenberry Vault release was and is awesome!
Come-on YOU can do it Paramount/CBS!!!!!!!!!!

Happy new year! Love the podcast, especially the interplay between the ages and experiences in Trek. Keep up the great work!

The 50th was celebrated by the fans, it wasn’t by Paramount / CBS.

Yep would agree whole heartedly on that one.

The 50th Anniversary was a complete fail, especially if we compare it to other big past franchise anniversaries (Doctor Who 50th comes to mind).

Para/CBS really fudged the 50th up big time. Think ST Beyond would have done better if it were released and billed for the Anniversary instead of when they released it, and if they did some decent advertising instead of relying on word-of-mouth tactics.

Let’s hope they do better with things to come (though I can’t say I feel very optimistic about it).

Spot on

Of course there will be a fourth film. The question should be if BR and the present cast will be involved…

Well, that was a very pleasant episode of Shuttle Pod to end the year with. And I have to mention that I share Jared’s affliction with regard to lap-top track-pads. Notwithstanding peoples’ indomitable willingness to suffer through using those things, the verdict is in: they suck.

Hopefully, 2017 will be full of good Trek news. DSC will be a good show, faithful to the spirit and values of TOS. And hopes of the shameful, Bad Robot Trek movie series finally being over will be confirmed with some sort of announcement followed by a glorious celebration.

To the future: the undiscovered country.

And to Kayla, Brian, Jared and everyone else who contributes to this site, including my fellow members of the TrekMovie rabble…


Happy New Year Cygnus, and thanks for listening!

Star Trek can be successful at the box office. Putting it in the late fall or very early spring might be a better place for it. Not in December though. Star Wars will destroy it, as it can and should, being the superior franchise. That aside, a smaller budget with a more character driven narrative would be in order. The actors are doing a great job and are very likable so leaning on them to drive the flow and emotion of the movie instead of the plot or action isn’t difficult at all.

I predict a fourth movie will get made despite the whining of the self proclaimed eurdite “fans” of Star Trek who would rather boycott Trek and spend their time weeping and gnashing their teeth while wearing sackcloth in the dust over those devilish Bad Robot movies. Oh the horror!

I’d personally argue the toss on the “superior franchise” remark. Star Wars seems to be more generally accepted/embraced by the public as ultimately it is a space opera (simple good vs evil story) and not true science fiction. Star Trek will always been seen (unfortunately) by the general public as the more “geeky” of the two (you know the one where all the fans appear to be like Sheldon from The Big Bang Theory) and a such typically less embraced…

All the anticipation for the 50th anniversary celebration- gone. All the excitement for the new series- squandered. The hope that Beyond would be properly marketed and released at an appropriate time- misplaced. What did we as Trekkies get in 2016? Rogue One.

That says it all.

Well, I have not given up hope for more adventure in the Kelvin timeline.
Happy New Year everyone.

My name is Zefram and Im an alcoholic

Paramount spent more money advertising BEYOND than it did on either of the previous two Bad Robot Trek movies. And the bulk of the ad spend for BEYOND was closer to the release date of the movie than it was for STID and ST09. So, complaints about BEYOND not having been “properly marketed” must be construed to take issue with the style and content of the ads for the movie. I know that the first trailer didn’t go over well, as was mentioned in this podcast, and I was among those who found it very wanting. However, having now seen the movie, it’s clear to me that the main source of the lacking content in the ads was simply the lack of content in the actual movie to draw from.

Try this little experiment: sum up the story of BEYOND in one sentence, and see what you get. You’ll have a hard time summarizing the story, because the central theme of the story is muddled and disjointed. If you want more in-depth detail, I did a synopsis explaining all of this like a week ago. But, to sum it all up, the motive of the villain (Krall) is not a counterpoint to the motives of our protagonists (Kirk, Spock, Bones). Krall’s motive is not even consistent with itself, as expressed by his own dialogue, specifically his great tagline, “This is where the frontier pushes back,” which suggests that the movie is going to be about Krall judging the Federation as overly expansionist and hubristic, when Krall’s subsequently stated motive is actually based on disgust at the Federation having become too soft and weak—pretty much the diametric opposite of his first stated motive (the aforementioned tagline).

At any rate, one can quibble about the style of the trailers for BEYOND, whether the first one should have featured “Sabotage” and so forth, but the lack of inspiring dramatic content in the trailers is simply due to the lack of dramatic content in the movie, itself. Frankly, for what little content there is in the movie to draw from, the trailers actually gave the impression that there was more to the story and the characters than there actually is in the movie. Which is a long and roundabout way of saying that you can’t pin the failure of BEYOND on its advertising. As for its release date, there’s even less reason for casting blame there. As was mentioned in the podcast (and as I offered an abundance of evidence in support of some months back), BEYOND actually had far weaker competition than its predecessor, STID. BEYOND’s failure is due to two main causes: disappointment about STID and poor word of mouth from people seeing BEYOND.

P.S. My little critique of BEYOND here is actually covering two main problem areas: (1) the movie’s central theme is muddled and disjointed; and (2)there is a lack of dramatic content in the movie. And those two problems aren’t necessarily related. For example, the scene at the beginning of the movie, with Kirk lamenting to Bones, is a good example of dramatic content that was totally unrelated to the movie’s would-be central theme and motive of the villain. If that early Kirk/Bones scene had been expanded upon, it could have made for very moving dramatic content, portions of which might have been used to make compelling advertising, though it really had nothing to do with the main story. But, advertising for action and sci-fi movies used to be (back in the good ol’ days of the 20th Century) more of an abbreviated, teasing synopsis of the story. The story, itself, informed the narrative in advertising. The reason they didn’t do that with BEYOND is two-fold: firstly, the conventional style of action movie trailers has changed to become intentionally more vague (presumably in an effort to not give away too much of the story); and secondly, there’s simply not much of a story, and not a clear through-line in the story, to synopsise for a BEYOND trailer. Hence, the trailers for BEYOND try to use vagueness in order to puff up the movie’s anemic story-line, which is a fairly common technique.

‘ For example, the scene at the beginning of the movie, with Kirk lamenting to Bones, is a good example of dramatic content that was totally unrelated to the movie’s would-be central theme and motive of the villain. ‘

it was another call back to ‘khan’ where kirk laments his lot and then is pressed into action and out of his funk by an attack on his ship.

Yeah, you’re definitely correct. Although I think Beyond’s quasi-plot made it an undesirable summer release candidate regardless of the overall level of competition. Then again the stronger the product the less important the release date. My overall point about marketing is rooted in the fact that I saw few cross-promotional efforts and zero linking to the 50th anniversary. It came off as if Paramount didn’t realize they were releasing a Trek movie in the year of the 50th anniversary. If so, that is the ultimate example of an idiot savant (Paramount) blissfully unaware of a wonderful coincidence. At least CBS sort of celebrated the anniversary.

My name is Zefram and Im an alcoholic

Paramount’s failure to capitalize on (or even to really celebrate) Trek’s 50th anniversary is, in the words of Picard, something of a minor mystery. Obviously neither ST09 nor STID had the advantage of a big anniversary cross-promotion, so the lack of same for BEYOND can’t rightly be characterized as BEYOND being hamstrung with sub-par marketing; but you’re correct in pointing out that Paramount quizzically let pass a relatively easy opportunity to give BEYOND special marketing that would probably have boosted awareness of the new movie, if not also ticket sales. BEYOND’s opening was relatively on-par with those of its predecessors, but ticket sales dropped at a faster rate after people started seeing BEYOND. I’m not sure that a 50th Anniversary cross-promo would have done much to compensate for BEYOND’s poor word-of-mouth, but it surely wouldn’t have hurt. In line with your own reasoning, a weak, mediocre movie, receiving poor word-of-mouth, that more people were aware of (due to 50th Ann promo) would still have been a weak, mediocre movie receiving poor word-of-mouth. My impression is that Paramount simply didn’t believe in their product, and was perhaps advised by CBS not to tie it into the greater Star Trek brand, in order to avoid confusion (and/or tarnishing of the brand) with the new Trek TV series, DSC, due out this year, which might well be promoted with a 50th Anniversary theme and cachet.

Interesting thought that perhaps Paramount was less than confidant in Beyond and therefore decided that the less exposure the better. That doesn’t bode well for Bad Robot.

problem is that krall never has enough scenes with kirk where they can verbally clash over their prospective positions as we have seen kirk do with other antagonists in the OS.
if they had then their final confrontation would have had more weight instead of it being another punch up in 3D.

and it would have been better if edison, not ‘krall’, had led the assault on the enterprise.

50th anniversary was a complete joke.

Paramount and CBS barely did anything. Hell compared to what Sony did with James Bond several years ago for their 50th anniversary….Star Trek’s can not even hold a candle to James Bond’s. For one thing they acknowledged it in the posters, the trailers, and in the movie! Why couldn’t they do that with Beyond?

Were they ashamed?

I haven’t seen this bad of marketing since Palm Inc. killed itself trying to fight the iphone back in 2011.

I was trying to listen the podcast but all of the negativity about the prospect of future Trek films bummed me out, So i stopped listening.

Gary 8.5,

Re: all of the negativity about the prospect of future Trek films bummed me out

You weren’t listening carefully enough. There was absolutely no negative consensus that future Trek films were not going to be made — only that they won’t take place in the KT with the current entire cast which is par for the course for Paramount’s movie franchises, i.e. changing casts and settings.

Why are you doing a 50th round up when both CBS and Paramount didn’t even bother with it? There’s nothing to round up?

Lots of complaints about CBS and Paramount either not or inadequately promoting the 50th anniversary. Well, let’s give credit to one outlet that DID: BBC America. It started running the TOS Remastered episodes UNCUT on Sept. 8, kept it up every Friday evening, and has had various marathons since then. Not sure if that will continue in 2017, but BBC America’s bumpers made it clear that it was 50 years since “Trekkies were born.” I’ve really enjoyed watching the remastered episodes, which I haven’t seen since 2006. Cheers.

Indeed. BBCA is now showing Voyager as well. That’s three of the Trek series they have. Might as well give us DS9 and ENT and call it the Star Trek channel. Come on, Beeb. You know you want to.

Great discussion. The importance of re-invention is essential in keeping the franchise fresh, but so is keeping the spirit of exploration and message of hope at the core of what makes Trek Trek. This is especially important in a world increasingly xenophobic and nationalistic. Let Trek be as much a leader in what we can become as it is a reflection of today’s society. I’m enjoying your podcast immensely and find the personalities of the three of you meshing very well together — each bringing a view from a different angle. And thank the Lords of Kobol that you got Jared a better sound input device!

Thanks for the kind words! Glad you’re enjoying it!

I’ll be fine with it either way. I liked Beyond but this is still just a reboot, something different and what’s coming on TV would/will be fine.

was the problem for ‘beyond’ that is was ‘episodic’ at time when most of the big fantasy franchises are now sagas/serialised?

even the recent 007 films now form a 4 part saga where bond battles blofeld.

maybe a return to a trilogy like ‘khan/search/voyage’ is called for….


There’s no script so that’s discouraging, but one has to wonder that something must be up if Paramount went to all the trouble of having their cheerleading infotainment arm float this Hemsworth sound bite on the next possible Trek film during their Golden Globe coverage?