Paramount Hires Jim Gianopulos As New CEO

As we reported earlier this month, Paramount Pictures has been on the hunt for a new CEO after former studio head Brad Grey was shown the door following the studio’s dismal box office performance in 2016. This afternoon Viacom, parent company to Paramount, announced former Fox Filmed Entertainment Group Chairman and CEO Jim Gianopulos has been tapped to take over The Mountain as Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. Deadline, who actually broke the news before the official press release went out, reports Gianopulos will “be in charge of re-invigorating a studio that was all but financially picked clean by the previous regime.”

In the official press release Viacom CEO Bob Bakish said:

“Jim is a remarkably talented executive with all the tools – strategic vision, strong business expertise, deep industry and creative relationships – to bring films to life that resonate throughout culture and deliver commercial results. I’m thrilled we will have the benefit of his experience, savvy and global expertise as we lay out a clear path forward and begin the next chapter in Paramount’s storied history.”

In the same release Gianopulos states:

“Paramount is one of Hollywood’s truly iconic studios, and the role it has played in shaping the entertainment industry cannot be overstated. Looking ahead, I see a strong opportunity to position the studio for success by creating valuable franchise opportunities, developing fresh creative ventures, and mining Viacom’s deep brand portfolio to bring exciting new narratives to life. I am eager to get to work with Bob and the rest of the Viacom and Paramount teams to ensure Paramount continues to deliver rich, powerful films and television programming for all audiences.”

A turnaround CEO who is genre tentpole friendly

Gianopulos has over 30 years of experience in the industry, working in distribution, marketing and production, including 16 years heading up Fox. This will be a homecoming of sorts, as he started his career at Paramount before moving on to international distribution at Fox.

He also has some experience with turnarounds. A 2014 Variety profile of Gianopulos notes:

Before being plucked in 2000 to co-run Fox’s movie operation with Tom Rothman, Gianopulos rebuilt the studio’s moribund international division into a powerhouse that today generates an average of $2 billion a year at the box office.

He is also no stranger to genre tentpoles, as also noted in the same Variety profile:

Fox became the first studio to cross $3 billion in global box office revenue [in 2014], and is tops in market share. It achieved those lofty heights on the success of a combination of well-received sequels, such as “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes” and “X-Men: Days of Future Past,” which were initiated under [Fox co-head Tom] Rothman and Gianopulus.

As of now it is unclear what effect this hire will have on the next Star Trek movie, which was announced by Paramount eight months ago. As previously reported by TrekMovie, the new CEO of Viacom said the corporation was looking to have a more integrated strategy, with more movies tied into Viacom TV properties, and a smaller slate for other Paramount projects. However, he also specifically cited Star Trek as part of the studios tentpole strategy. 

Focused on international

In his time with Fox, Gianopulos was particularly focused on global markets, where he significantly expanded the studio’s market share. According to the LA Times, in addition to implementing Viacom’s new integration strategy, Gianopulos is also tasked with. “expanding the studio’s global footprint.” X-Men franchise star Hugh Jackman had this to say about Gianopulos to Variety:

“He told me that careers go through peaks and troughs, so it’s important for an actor to be mindful of their international profile,” recalls Jackman. “He said there have been actors who may no longer pop in America, but who have a big enough international profile to still get movies made. I’ve always been mindful to promote my movies globally.”

Fox tentpole’s under Gianopulos’ watch typically made two-thirds or more of their box office overseas, whereas the last two Star Trek features were closer to parity between domestic and foreign sales. It is unclear if Gianopuluos will see Trek’s lagging other franchises internationally as a liability, or an opportunity for growth. 

Paramount’s money problems are job one

As noted in the last article about corporate dealings within Viacom and Paramount, no big decisions about the future of the Star Trek film franchise could take place until a new CEO came on board. That milestone will get passed next Monday when Gianopulos takes the reins at the studio. It is likely he will start off by focusing on some shorter term issues, such as securing the previously reported Chinese financing. Viacom is currently holding $12 Billion in debt and so Paramount really needs that $1 Billion in Chinese money just to keep its current development state moving forward. He will likely then begin to implement Viacom’s new integration strategy with their TV properties.

Hopefully he can soon turn his attention to the future of the multi-billion dollar franchise that has been part of the studio through thirteen feature films over four decades. 

Keep up with all the news regarding the next Star Trek film here at TrekMovie.

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I’d ditch Star Trek movies until they can actually come up with a finely

analyzed story that is TRUE Star Trek and not all these films that are

pure trash. They need character development to go along with the story

being told. I can’t believe that the movies released in the name of Star

Trek are allowed. Just get a good story and bind in the characters to the

movie – story being presented. It is so damn difficult?

So JJ Abrams raped your childhood? Grow up…it’s fiction. Trek isn’t real. It doesn’t even exist in the real world. It’s fake man.

No, I think he gets that Trek is fiction, as do the rest of us. That said, it’s important enough to him that he actually wants it to be as good as it can be, which is probably the reason he’s here. Why are you here?

So by that argument, we should all get a life and never return to this site or ever discuss Star Trek again, unless it’s with unswervingly positive words. Welcome to the real world, where everyone has their own opinion and ideas. Stop being a child.

Fake but IF they try to pass garbage as entertainment and expect

people to pay for it then that the shit hits the fan. Now if you

enjoy crap in your face that fine….I however do not!

There’s been plenty of character development in the new movies. It is different, and flashier than the first ten movies and the TV shows, but that doesn’t make them trash.

To you they may be trash. To others they are respectful to what has come before by charting their own path and to even more fans than you can imagine, they are the movies that made Star Trek watchable again.

Don’t be so quick to generalise your opinion. This new guy may look at Star Trek as an opportunity rather than dismiss them completely.

Personally I think all three movies have shown that Star Trek could be making Paramount more money if they were better integrated with what CBS have done and are doing with Star Trek: Discovery.

Furthermore. What this new guy may think is by integrating these movies with something more than just a movie every three years, for example how about an animated series shown on Nickelodeon that ties into the Kelvin movies? Possibly with the agreement from CBS and working with Bad Robot, perhaps DC? Perhaps IDW?

I think these movies have shown both Paramount and CBS that there is the potential there to make a ton of money.

The question is as it has always been; how do you convince people to go to see a Star Trek movie and how do you pull back the loyal fan base in the way that Lucasfilm and Disney have done with Star Wars.

Star Wars is an example of how Star Trek could do things. The studio’s realise that people identify Star Trek as a TV series. But how do you build upon that across multiple platforms? Why not an Anthology movie series?

I think that the new guy will see the potential there in Star Trek – it’s how they develop new material, how they integrate Star Trek with its CBS half and how they market it that will be key

“I can’t believe that the movies released in the name of Star Trek are allowed”

I know, like Motion Picture, Final Frontier and all four Next Generation movies. How that trash could possibly carry the name “Star Trek” is shocking.

I’m glad you aren’t in charge of anything Trek.

All the TOS and TNG Movies had a little respect for star Trek . William Shatner , Leonard Nimoy and jonathan Frakes made great movies ! The new stuff is for kids . Let’s develop some in-depth stuff !

All three of the new movies are better than nearly half of the first 10. ST5, Nemesis and Insurrection for sure, and debatably better than Generations and TMP.

Say what you will about “respect” (which is also debatable), but they are better than those films.

In what way ? I know they look flash but do they engage ?

Well if you just look at it objectively and use barometers like Rotten Tomatoes, IMDB scores, etc the KT films actually rank higher than most of the other Trek films. Obviously not all but most. Now it doesn’t mean you have to agree but thats what I mean by objectively. In terms of critics and basic audience satisfaction they actually score really high. It seems like its mostly the hardcore fanbase that hates them. I don’t love them for the record, but they do seem well liked by the general audience.

The problem is, especially as Beyond proved, there is just not a lot of hype by the casual audience regardless. I mean sure STID made the most money (while trashed the most by hardcore fans) but box office wise it was still tame. Ant Man made more money about a guy who can shrink down to an ant but also cost $60 million less. But again in terms of rating score all three films beat that one too.

I disagree. ALL the TMP films and Generations and FC are easy to watch over and over again. Great stories (various levels of great ofcourse). JJ films…meh. Watch them once and thats about it.

Yes that’s damn good because I’d toss in the burning barrel all

half baked idea’s and then maybe one could get serious about what

what Star Trek should be.

I’d argue 09 and STB did a fine job with character development. Even STID which I am not the biggest fan of actually focused on Kirk’s arc, even if it was somewhat superficial and backtracked a LOT.

What STID did right and what he should focus on for ST IV, is attaching a big name guest star. There is no doubt that STID did well for two reasons; it had big bang action appeal, and Cumberbatch is a HUGE international star. You can’t deny that’s a big reason why STID was such a huge financial success, the numbers are there. Elba did an admirable job but wasn’t really allowed to cut loose like Cumberbatch was, figuratively and literally with the prosethetics.

ST IV should be a blend.. the treknobabble and fan service of STB with an international star who is allowed to shine.

Yeah, Kirk’s arc. Wrong arc for the wrong guy unfortunately.

the new trek films are take you brain out and enjoy the ride films,once you start to even use even a small part of your brain they fall a part,now if that the sort of film you want fine,just please dont do that to star trek , for a real brain dead and not to think about films watch transformers instead,please return star trek to good characters and a good story

While they’re definitely more popcorn entertainment than most TV Trek, I wouldn’t say they’re Transformers-level “turn of your brain” movies. They’re really just modern-day versions of the likes of ST3 and FC. There’s good character stuff in there, interesting stories, and good performances.

I think I actually like STID more than most because I *didn’t* turn off my brain. While hidden under big FX and bombastic action, there’s a lot being said about military and politics, and the nature of friendship. I really liked how they subverted the TWOK storyline, with Kirk’s “death” being the moment that Spock realized the meaning of friendship (which if you were paying attention was a thread from the start of the film), and that moment being start of their relationship– as opposed to Spock’s “death” in TWOK being the culmination of a decades-long friendship.

The problem with STID is not the framework of the story – War on Terror. Its not even Orci’s self-indulgent desire to paint American as the bad guy and the terrorists as the misunderstood sympathetic good guys.

Its that Orci was so consumed with his own agenda, he sacrificed a good film to state his message hoping that it being hidden in a mindless action film would trick the general public into embracing his ideology.

If he actually cared, and this is a problem of both sides of politics but more so the left, they dont want to consider the other side. There is no compromise. There is no “you’re perspective” and “my perspective” there is only “right” and “wrong”.

So Orci never made the case for the other side. And thus his own agenda was left hollow at the end.

Marcus was the most interesting character in the film. And he was excellent every time he was on screen. And he had nothing to work with because Orci couldnt write him to have any perspective.

The real story that needed to be told was Kirk realising that both sides of the argument are valid. OUR Kirk was not a diplomat. And he was not a warrior. He was both. Show us why. Orci didnt. He couldn’t. because of his personal agenda.

And thats a shame because there was a really good story somewhere within STID that was dying to get out.

I caught exactly what you’re talking about in the friendship thread, but for me, it felt like it was backtracking on “Star Trek” (2009) which went to such lengths to establish the friendship… yet STID immediately opened by throwing it into doubt yet again. It’s not terribly creative, especially because the tension rests primarily on your knowledge of TOS informing you these characters should be friends. Instead, I felt like the characters were just incompatible.

That arc would’ve been better for a “Star Trek 3”, after the second film had developed them as friends first, and it would’ve therefore been more structurally poetic, seeing how far they had developed yet that the arcs were not complete. Seeing them as friends first would make the stakes feel higher when we see them fighting again. In a lot of ways, I wish “Star Trek Beyond” had been the SECOND film.

The ideas about military and politics had some interest to me, and that’s coming from a leftist. I would have loved more focus on Admiral Marcus, who could have had something really interesting to say, but it’s reduced to feeling more like a plot twist for plot twist’s sake – and in the end, it just makes Khan seem more sympathetic, which was a stupid move. Khan has different moral and ethical questions behind him. Trying to turn him into a Federation rogue, a pawn in Marcus’ plans, was never the right story for that character.

John Harrison would’ve been a better villain for STID than Khan Noonien-Singh – a character from Starfleet who was turned into a weapon purely. Unfortunately, marketing and mispronounced public expectation lead them to mangle an existing villain instead.

I agree wholeheartedly with you Duane Boda. Don’t disgrace the franchise anymore. Make great films that will honor the true spirit of Trek and the profits will take care of themselves. I’ve got high expectations for this new guy. If course, I also did about each of the last 3 movies.

Funny you mention profits considering that even adjusted for inflation, ST09 and STID were the two highest grossing Trek films of all time.

Funny you mention grosses considering high grosses are NOT the equivalent of profit. Read the article again. Viacom is heavily leveraged with 12 BILLION in debt.

The Bad Robot Trek films were entirely conceived and executed as part of Brad Grey’s FAILED tentpole strategy which got him fired and left Paramount seeking 1 BILLION so that they can turn his failed policies around.

And if you think that making a film that honors the true spirit of Trek will naturally lead to big profit, The Final Frontier and Insurrection say hello.

The TRUE spirit of STAR TREK that carried it across the decades were the heights that the writing in the scripts were able to achieve despite the lows in lesser scribblings that Paramount somehow found acceptable after the bar had been raised.

Great would be nice but worthy and actually watchable with new theme for the

movies other than saving worlds or being threatened by some outside and

unknown force….and of course time travel would be refreshingly quaint.

JJ Abrams never met a checkbook he liked, and therein lies the central problem so far as the Trek franchise is presently concerned: JJ makes expensive films, but they don’t always return the investment.

Actually Super 8 was only $50 million but it was not a high profile tentpole film like Trek is today. But yeah they can certainly make them cheaper. I argued this before but the films don’t need to be $200 million but if they want them to compete they still have be high quality looking films or the studio won’t really see it as a priority. The films have to be on a big enough level to deem it worth it.

I mean even the Power Rangers movie cost $100 million lol. Based off of a kids program that was so cheap they actually just used footage from a Japanese show and just inserted American actors in the non action scenes and called it a different name. Now even that series got the big A list treatment.

I think they have to lower the cost for sure though. If Bad Robot can’t get it under $150 million then yeah maybe its time to hire someone who can at this point because these films just aren’t big of a hit for what they cost.

And we’ve been through this: a cast is going to soak up a lot of that budget. These are bona fide stars now who won’t come cheap anymore. They alone could cost the studio about 50 million.

Agreed. But also why they could shelve these films and just do something different if they can’t make the films cheaper or the cast want too much money. They can always reboot and start again. We now live in an age of rebooting the reboot. Several examples: Terminator, Spider-Man and Superman all comes to mind. And Beyond didn’t do well, less than Terminator Genisys in fact so I can easily see them starting over if they just don’t feel these movies are worth the money.

But I’m still on the fence if they won’t try and make at least one more film. If Beyond was a hit, no doubt, but who knows now, especially with the shake up. But Star Trek is going nowhere obviously. They may just find something that could be more appealing and maybe a little cheaper. Or they could go even higher lol, just with a different approach. Never know with these studios today.

If the sole criteria for success is a 500MM box office project on a 10MM budget, there are few directors on the planet who could be defined as successful. Both of the Cloverfield movies were on small budgets, and did well, too.

Be interesting to see where Star Trek goes now. This guy sounds like he’s into big tentpole movies and values internationally box office (but what studio doesn’t today lol). I always said the KT problem is the international box office has never been a big draw compared to other franchises this size and can be an issue long term because thats where the bigger money is today, outside of America (although America is still very important obviously).

Star Trek may just be put on the back burner for awhile but I truly hope not. They just have to find a way for it to be a bigger success. But no matter what they do with the next film it has to be big and with a big hook. Beyond just had no hook for the average movie goer or Trek fan and a big reason why it failed.

Gianopulos was employed by Paramount in the 80s and in that decade advanced to International Distribution. That’s the STAR TREK film property that he first came to know. It will be interesting to see if he uses anything he learned from the era when Paramount relied on TREK, as a dependable revenue generator, to keep the rent paid and the lights on.

LOL man, yeah and its no longer the 80s. Back then international distribution wasn’t that important AS it is today. For god sakes Paramount has a deal with a Chinese company to push their movies in that country. Wake up, its a different world today. The Star Trek back then were different movies for a different time. Stop living in the past.


LOL. Talk about beyond annoying; your constant strawmanning me and claiming I’m advocating things, that I’m not, like a return to Paramount Trek policies and movie making that I wasn’t exactly happy about the first time around.

Gianopulos is older than ME. All that I was doing was musing on what he might have learned from treating Trek like that back then, because if he failed to learn from that past then he will condemn himself and US to relive it.

I’m not living in the past when I say Paramount as to innovate, but you sure sound suspiciously as if you are living in their recent failed past when you keep harping that there’s ONLY one way, and that’s to continue trying to do what everyone else has done, which, to me, is the antithesis of innovating.

Disinvited I clearly hit a nerve with you but get over it.

I’m not talking age, ONCE again lol, I’m talking about relevancy. And where did I say there was only one way? I’m sure they can find a few ways to make Star Trek great again, I’m only saying that will be done by getting as many eyeballs on it as they can or its not worth doing for them. If you claim you are about innovation then clearly you don’t know what that word means as nothing that was done in Trek back then would have any relevance today. Those movies were made for a different time. The only thing that can be learned is don’t be an idiot and give William Shatner a way to direct again. ;)

How about this. You stop responding to me since I clearly hurt your feelings somewhere and I will never respond to you about anything (although you do pretty much all the responding in the first place) so I can stop wasting my time with these constant replies. Agreed?


There you go again, I’m NOT saying what you keep saying that I’m saying. I’m saying that everything about Paramount’s Trek filmmaking back then was NOT perfect and I certainly hope he DOESN’T make us relive the pitfalls of Paramount attitudes and practices from back then because that’s the only STAR TREK that he knows and he failed to learn what NOT to do.

You are confident that he won’t and can’t, and that’s fine. I’ve never been disappointed expecting Paramount Pictures executive suite bungling that makes STAR TREK films suffer right along with it.

You say there’s nothing relevant from the 80s films? Well, I would hope that good writing, directing and acting were always relevant. But I want modern filmmakers to best that.

OMG fine man. Done.

Kill it with fire

My (very limited) understanding is that lots of explosions and car chases have been shoehorned into a variety of movies because the huge Chinese audience is very fond of explosions and car chases. If Gianopulos wants to grow the international market for Star Trek, I hope that won’t mean even more explosions than the Kelvin Timeline movies have already been giving us … but I’m afraid it might.

You know what else international audiences like? Huge stars. Cast Matt Damon as Kirk and try that. Or get a new ship and captain altogether and cast Hugh Jackman, and Scarlett Johansson, as the first officer. Put Bingbing Fan in it to draw the Chinese audience. Put Dwayne Johnson in as the villain. Trek has always suffered at the box office with TV actors elevated to leading roles because of their origination of the roles. Even BR Trek has a fair share of TV actors in lead roles. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, but let’s see an all star cast and see what that does for Trek. Then write a good story, with some exciting action scenes, and see if the star names are able to crack open a franchise for new fans that the brand otherwise fails to do on its own, unlike Marvel and DC comic book properties.

Heres what I’d demand if Im the studio guy. Write me a wonderful, intellectual Star Trek adventure. Have it include William Shatner in a meaningful role.

Dont force giant robotic spiders or stupid crap. Just write whatever story flows organically.

Then, when I like the story. I will bring someone in to add explosions and blow em ups where appropriate. You can always make a scene more explosive, more action, more intense. Thats easy. The STORY is the hard part.

But JJ’s Star Trek felt like set piece ideas loosely connected by a tenuous story.

Not to mention, i’d have a canon guru (I’d do it myself actually) that would then go through the GOOD story and provide notes where it screws with canon and solutions to GET TO THE SAME END by respecting canon. We’re not talking about being beholden to canon. We’re talking about RESPECTING it.

Part of why STID failed (the war story and its ridiculous anti-American government stuff aside) was Khan. A pale Brit who acts nothing like him, looks nothing like him with powers not related to him with the same name is NOT Khan. Dont even try.

And then maybe give it to a “common sense” producer who can look over and see where its still STUPID and suggest changes. Like the super emotional Spock (hopefully the canon guru will have weeded this out) or the whiny teenage relationship angst between Uhura and Spock.

Filter this crap through whatever you have to to get a GOOD story at the end. It will sell.

And bonus points for not hiring a production team that will jack the budget in an unreasonable way based on their name value but not on their actual ability to make a GOOD film.

Give me 1% of what you paid JJ and Ill give you script notes. And it will be ten times better the garbage they actually shot. And the same can be said for probably a dozen people that post here.


I keep reading that all these studios can plan to make all the yuan they want in China but it doesn’t amount to a hill of beans if they can’t convince the politburo to let them take it out of the country. Supposedly that’s what recently squelched Paramount’s 1 billion dollar financing deal.

Hire someone who understands Trek. And not someone who thinks they’re a fan but is clueless and has an agenda (like Orci) or a guy who openly admits he never cared for it and doesn’t understand it (like JJ).

or like lin who grew up loving trek and simon pegg who loves trek… and… whatever… there’s no point talking to you people

LOL yeah its true.

And as pointed out you can still find the biggest Trek lover of all times and they can make bad films and shows. You can also find people who never seen a single episode of it and make a great story.

I don’t think it matters how much they love it or knows it matters, just how much they get it when they are exposed to it. Everyone LOVES to trot out TWOK for everything and as known neither Harve Bennet or Nick Meyer were fans of it before and made a great film. Roddenberry, the creator of the thing made TMP before that, the most boring thing since sliced bread so yeah it doesn’t really matter how much someone knows or loves it before hand.

the reality is trek fans are mostly a miserable bunch… maybe it’s inevitable when something is around that long… with so many incarnations and producers running it… there’s no way to make them all happy… so simon pegg for instance with the new movie assuming he’s still writing it can’t worry about making all these miserable fanboys happy and needs to just write what he thinks is a good story and fun adventure… as soon as you start pandering to fans it’s over… and what is a good trek movie?… tmp has it’s haters (i think it’s boring but at the same time a well made movie)… as does search for spock and final fontier of course… generations, insurrection, nemesis are crap and many know it… and if you go by fanboys all the new ones are the worst thing ever created in spite of great reviews and boxoffice… so what do we have after 13 movies? khan, whales, klingons, borg queen… 4 good ones mostly agreed upon and 9 shitty ones… like i said before it’s amazing this franchise is still running with so many unhappy fans…

Nick Meyer didnt love Star Trek. He immersed himself in the original series so he understood it. He recognized what was lacking from TMP and created rules and an environment. He understood what the characters would be feeling and thinking so many years later.

Meyer didnt love Trek. He GOT Trek.

I believe Orci when he says he loves it. But he never got it. And the issue was, the other guys on the team never got it or loved it so they conceded to Orci, the expert, and it went downhill. And ultimately JJ called the shots. He allowed the stupid idea (not Orci’s mind you) to use Khan in STID. He approved the awful War on Terror/Terrorists are sympathetic idea (which was Orci’s).

And no one at the studio either understood what was happening or had the balls to tell JJ “no”.

“Meyer didnt love Trek. He GOT Trek.”

LOL that’s my entire point. You don’t have to love or be a big fan of any of this, just understand it enough to make a great film. But this bizarre idea you have to have been a huge fan of it and love it is a barometer of making a good show or movie is nonsense. MANY directors out there make great films on on material they knew nothing about until they were asked to make a movie around it.

And you can still love it and be passionate about it and still make a poor product. Look how much bad fan fiction is out there lol. It doesn’t matter if you can quote lines from every episode and film ever made if you don’t have the first clue of how to make an original story out of it yourself. That’s what I’m saying here. All you have to do is understand it, research it and find a way to come up with a great story. Obviously not always easy but you don’t have to have a single passion of it yourself although people like Meyer and Abrams became fans after the fact which is great.

And we have to agree to disagree about Orci. I think he gets it just fine. He just made something you didn’t personally like, which is fine. But just because people don’t like his interpretation of it doesn’t mean he didn’t get it. He was making a reboot, thats the point, they were adding a different spin on it and modernizing it for today. Again you can certainly disagree with the approach but Orci seems to understand Star Trek like all the other nerds here. The only difference is we’re not in a position to make these stories and I suspect most people’s here would be pretty bad lol.

Where are people demanding someone LOVE Trek. We want someone that GETS Trek, that RESPECTS Trek to helm Trek. I dont care if they love it. It would be nice if they did. One might argue that Meyer loved it once he took it on since he’s returned to it several times.

Meyer is unique in being someone who respected it enough and wasnt arrogant in that he was willing to LEARN.

And ofcourse you still had Harve Bennett there who knew Trek.

Paramounts first mistake was hiring Bad Robot. It would be like hiring a company that makes really really nice cars and handing them the keys to your condo and saying “Ill leave you alone for six months, renovate the place as you see fit”. Well no surprise when the car guys dont build a very nice condo.

And look what happened with Star Wars. JJ gets hired. Says its a dream job. He had respect for the franchise in a way he didnt have for Star Trek. He immediately brings in a new script writer and together they throw out Lucas’ stories and make new ones that more heavily involve the original cast…you know, those old people no one wants to see anymore. The old people that demand too much money (like $20 million Ford got).

But rumours abound JJ is mad he isnt calling the shots, that Kathleen Kennedy is keeping him on a short leash, that he doesnt get to do whatever he wants. Rumours were JJ was opting out of future films.

And then, TFA comes out, is a huge success and JJ is playing nice in the sandbox. Kennedy called his bluff, had the balls to stand up to him and JJ got it.

No one at Paramount is Kathleen Kennedy. No one in Star Trek is Kathleen Kennedy. That’s the problem.


Re: No one at Paramount is Kathleen Kennedy

I think you are right. Grey started his STAR TREK with Gail Berman but his fire/hire rapid turnovers largely left his “franchise” rudderless as a business, not to mention creative, enterprise package on the whole.

On the other hand:

I wonder if Paula Block counts?

I agree trying to please the Trek fanbase is almost impossible which is why I don’t understand why ANYONE even wants to make Star Trek for these people? Look I think most Trek fans are reasonable people. The casual fans seem to like most of it or at least not so bitter about it. But like everything its usually the most hardcore that is the most vocal about it and those are the people that are hard to please. Now this isn’t a Star Trek issue alone, you will find this in every fanbase.

I would say the same about the Star Wars hardcore as well. I don’t think any movie has pleased them all that much literally since Empire Strikes Back. ROTJ probably gets a meager pass by most though. Most loath the prequels, hated the special editions and now think Disney is just turning the new movies into a farce. Again NOT all but the biggest critics are usually the people who have lived and breathed this stuff too long to the point of embarrassment. But the thing is they will pay to see it ANYWAY and thats the catch 22. They hate it all and can’t stop watching it just the same.

And for the record I consider myself a hardcore Trek fan. Of course I have my issues with some of it too but I don’t treat these people like they are comic book villains. This is really the sad thing to me about the internet. You can certainly not like the product but stop treating these people like they were trying to ruin your precious childhood. Berman spent 20 years of his life making the franchise. He stumbled at times but he was a great producer. Abrams was pretty new to it all but he only wanted to make films people loved, especially for new fans like himself who never watched Star Trek and appreciate it more and he did.

And then its this weird opposite effect anytime someone succeeds once at it, they are looked at as a god UNTIL they stumble as others did. I look at Nick Meyer. The guy is treated like he can do no wrong because his films were good. But sadly watch what happens if Discovery is not to their liking and this guy will go from angel to devil over night even if he has little real power on the show. Or his episodes just suck. Internet prop you up as a god but then bury you the second you don’t deliver to their ridiculous expectations.


Geesh, the unsubstantiated things that you believe:

From THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER Martin Grove column’s June 8, 1989 edition as recounted in this FILMAKER FLASHBACK segment:

“The irony is that the reason I’m doing STAR TREK goes back to the fact that I had just gone to Paramount. I was courting a lady and we were in that indefinite period of decision. She was a Trekkie. I mean, she would sit at the set and mouth every line of every episode. I was called into (then Gulf + Western chairman) Charlie Bluhdorn’s office, whom I had never met, with my friend Barry Diller and my friend Michael Eisner (who were running Paramount at the time). Charlie Bluhdorn said, ‘What did you think of STAR TREK?’ I froze for a minute and said, ‘Well, I thought it was boring.’ He said, ‘Can you make a better movie than that?’

I said, ‘Yes, I think I could.’ He said, ‘Fine.’ That’s the way Charlie Bluhdorn did things. The first person I called was my dear, dear lady. I said, ‘Guess what I’m going to do?’ Not specifically because of that, but we (Harve and literary agent Carole Bennett) have now been together for nine years and we have a couple of kids and we’ve been happily ever after…’” — Harve Bennett


You’re just beyond annoying at this point lol. Trying to start a little fight for everything. And even weird when you’re 100% wrong. I don’t even understand what this quote was for? All I said was Bennett wasn’t a huge Trek fan and nothing in there actually disproves that. Dude all it said was the woman he was trying to score was the Trekkie lol. Where does it say ANYWHERE that Harve Bennett himself was the big Trek fan? You can’t even comprehend the stuff you link man which is embarrassing. Please quote me the line in there where he said he was a big fan before doing TWOK because I read it three times and it doesn’t say it anywhere.

Here Disinvited, I hope this makes this clear because AS usual you have no clue what you’re talking about. An interview from just a few years ago:

Other than a passing awareness of Kirk and Spock and the knowledge that TOS had broken ground in terms of casting and stories, you knew little about Trek when you started developing Wrath of Khan. How did you familiarize yourself?

“Bjo Trimble’s Star Trek Concordance became my first reading, the next day, and for three months thereafter I went into the dusty old 16-millimeter screening rooms at Paramount and watched the 70-something episodes of Star Trek. I watched the entire three years. I found myself fascinated. I found that one third of the episodes were brilliant, that one third were good and that one third were eh-eh; I didn’t like them.”

From the guy’s own mouth man lol. You feel silly and ridiculous now? Good! ;)

God I wish this place had an ignore button. Stop wasting my time man.


You try to obscure it but your posit that you FALSELY claimed TWOK proves was :

“You can also find people who never seen a single episode of it and make a great story.” — Tiger2

The man was dating someone he identified as a “Trekkie” and he correctly described how a (that) Trekkie watched an episode at that time. Clearly, he’s seen an episode.

But even if you dismiss that, your own anonymous interviewer article says that he watched 16mm episodes BEFORE he wrote so I’m totally lost as to how you believe that makes your point?

As far as I know, the only great award-winning STAR TREK story, written without the benefit of the writer viewing a single episode, was Harlan Ellison’s ORIGINAL script for THE CITY ON THE EDGE OF FOREVER.

Disinvited, I never claimed HARVE BENNET never saw the show before he made it moron lol. Dude are you SENILE or something??? Read EXACTLY what I said:

“Everyone LOVES to trot out TWOK for everything and as known neither Harve Bennet or Nick Meyer were fans of it before and made a great film.”

Thats ALL I meant. They weren’t fans BEFORE they were asked to do the film. I never said they personally never watched it before they made it. You’re extrapolating something from one statement and generalized it for everything else. In fact if someone actually read the post with with a high school degree then you would’ve noticed I implied the guy already watched it with the sentence BEFORE said that one when I said this:

“I don’t think it matters how much they love it or knows it matters, just how much they get it when they are EXPOSED to it.”

I emphasized exposed to make it pretty clear that I was saying people could make Star Trek as long as they seen enough of it to get it. Or is there a different meaning of ‘exposed’ you think I was using dude? Yes I’m implying they saw some of it before they made the freakin movie. Read the entire statement again please.

My guess is you definitely are not a lawyer…or an English teacher lol.

All I said he was’t a fan until they asked the guy to make the movie, ie, he didn’t make it because he was a fan. He made it because someone told him to make it and he did what ANY writer/producer would do and RESEARCHED it. Thats just a big ‘duh’, right? That was my ENTIRE point lol. I’m saying you don’t have to be a super fan to make a great film or show, you simply have to understand it enough, which he clearly did after he watched it.

Disinvited, PLEASE stop responding with this inane, childish pettiness. My god man. Whatever I did to get under your skin, believe me I didn’t mean to but please just IGNORE my posts and stop wasting my time. Thanks. I can’t believe I spent this much time explaining something a fifth grader with solid reading comprehension skills could figure out .


Look, you can’t deny that you made the claim, “You can also find people who never seen a single episode of it and make a great story.” What you are helping me to understand is that you never intended for yourself to be included in the “Everyone” that “…LOVES to trot out TWOK for everything…” such as substantiating that for the films.

Re: My guess is you definitely are not a lawyer…or an English teacher lol.

If you only knew how many times a certain now banned troll accused me of quite the opposite as a pejorative, you’d realize that, much to your chagrin, you’ve made a new best friend.

Disinvited a fifth grader can clearly see I was making TWO distinctions. Jesus man. Why do you think it was two different paragraphs? Genius, I clearly KNEW Harve Bennet had seen the show beforehand as I have heard this story over and over again for decades now lol. Thats how Khan showed up in the first place because he saw that episode and HENCE thought he would make a great follow up for the sequel. Obviously he had to seen that episode lol.

You simply assumed I was implying Bennett never saw the show before making the movie. I NEVER said that. I only saying he was never a fan of it. Christ, move ON man. Trying to start a silly petty fight over nothing. Its been explained to you and you still want to fight about it anyway. Are you this bored? I wish this place had an ignore button.


Again, you misconstrue. I am willing to accept your explanation that you didn’t intend your overly broad TWOK statement to brush your contention that there are great Trek film stories that were conceived by writers without ever having seen an episode.

However, I still object to you offering that claim as I see no substantiation for it?

What are these great Trek film stories that you believe were created by what writers without recourse to having viewed a single episode?

Please note: I have already stated that I believe such a thing possible on the TV production side. I just don’t believe that you have evidence to substantiate that on the film production side.

Can you just move on already? You’re the only weirdo trying to make a silly argument over something everyone else clearly got, jesus.


A civil request is always easy to acquiesce, and I suppose for some weirdo is as civil as one can expect. Done.

@Khan – you people? What people is that? Lin did a perfectly serviceable job directing someone else’s work and maintains the vision that had already been established. He didnt create the look of the Trek films.

Pegg didnt create the universe that Beyond operated in. I thought Pegg had better dialgue and a more grounded story. But the humor was awful (especially the beginning scenes that took me out of it) and his story was fairly pedestrian but also too convoluted.

Pegg’s story is the type that gets sent to a script wizard to punch up and ends up a really good film.

But the horses were out of the barn. STID killed Star Trek. Orci should be prosecuted for murder. Credit to him for finally realizing, too late, to try and tell a Trek story with Trek actors. We wont know if he could pull it off because the studio quickly soured on him.

Re: Harve Bennett Fan Before TWOK? You Be The Judge

“I have to backtrack a moment to explain all this. I live with a wonderful lady
who’s been the joy of my life for years. She is a Trekker. She is, was, and always will be a Trekker. During our long time together, I’ve been force-fed Star Trek re-runs . . . literally.

She’d be sitting there, in front of her TV set, and I’d be moaning ‘How many times do we have to see these things?’ She’d sit there like a stage mother, muttering, ‘Now watch. Spock is going to say this.’ She’d recite the dialogue with the characters. I’d say clever things like ‘Look! Why do you persist in watching this stuff when you know everything that’s going to happen?’ Her response was ‘Shhhhh.’

Since I always was being told to shut up during the 17th showing of ‘The Tholian Web,’ I finally gave in and started watching. I became hooked.

I became fascinated by the show. You see, although I’d never watched it before, I’ve always had sort of a peripheral involvement with it. My first successful show was The Mod Squad. It competed with Trek one season. We even filmed on the same lot. I used to see Leonard walking by with his ears on but I never actually saw his work.

I knew Roddenberry but had never worked with him. The times we met I liked him a lot. For some odd reason, I’ve always been drawn to paramilitary types. I’m a pilot. Gene was a pilot. One thing I’ve always perceived in Star Trek was the fine hand of that odd paramilitary mind that was trying to preach peace. That’s a very interesting effect, rivaled in intensity only by the feelings of, let’s say, a reformed drunk. You’ve seen the horror. Now, you want to save others from it.

I had a very close relationship with the late Gene Coon as well, Trek’s line producer. I worked with Gene a lot during the last years of his life when we were both at Universal. Interestingly enough, Coon was also a paramilitary man. Crew-cut. The whole bit. He was an exmarine who preached peace because of his own experiences in war.”

A few years ago, when I came to Paramount for a three-year contract deal, I found myself a bachelor. My lady had moved out. I was sitting with Michael Eisner, the head of the studio, in his office. The studio hadn’t lost all interest in Star Trek at that point. He asked me if I’d be interested in making Star Trek II. It was to be a television movie with the potential for theatrical release. My answer was, having seen all the episodes of Trek, knowing and respecting both Roddenberry and Coon and wanting that woman back in my life… YES!” — Harve Bennett, STARLOG, July 1982, Issue 60, PAGE 20-21

If Trek is going to be part of Gianopulos’ agenda, there will be an announcement pretty quickly that a new movie is in development. However, I fully expect the intricacies of the licensing deal between CBS & Paramount, and the expensive and fruitless firstlook deal with Abrams to be seen as a hindrance, which most likely result in Trek being mothballed until Abrams’ overall deal expires (next year I think). The only thing preventing Paramount from waiting would be another ticking clock on the licensing deal with CBS, requiring Paramount to produce by a certain deadline or lose the rights. CBS could then sell the license to the highest bidder, or keep it in house to help propel its feature film division to the next level. Or, Moonves may want to keep Trek with Paramount in anticipation of merging the two companies in the near future, and allow it to rest while he reinvigorates it on TV, supplying the only new Trek to help launch CBS All Access.

From my understanding there is no licensing deal between CBS and paramount. CBS owns star trek TV properties and Paramount owns star trek as a film property. This was the agreement when CBS separated from Viacom. Basically a divorce like she got the house he got the boat truck and the hunting cabin.
So there is no ticking clock so to speak CBS can’t get the film rights unless they buy them from Paramount and I don’t think that’s gonna happen lol

Joe blah,

Re: …understanding…

All you have to do is look at the bottom of this page to see that STAR TREK and its various marks are trademarks wholly owned by CBS. Ergo, Paramount can’t use the name, etc. without licensing from said CBS.

Paramount has derivative copyrights which are better than NO copyrights but are secondary to the ones CBS has for the original TV series creation and its scripts. Ergo CBS has a veto over any action taken by Paramount that may dilute the value of the copyrights granted it for the original series.

As such, logically, whether you want to label it a “license” or not, Paramount would be wise to have a legal agreement to ensure that it can make a movie as they see fit with minimal blindsiding from CBS.

Can CBS make Star Trek films with nothing to do with Paramount?


Re: Can CBS make Star Trek films with nothing to do with Paramount?

The long and short of it is, yes. But that doesn’t mean Paramount won’t have their lawyers enter the fray even if they don’t have a legal leg to stand on.

As proof of concept, I offer when CBS upgraded TNG to blu-ray they sold tickets to several TNG “movie” TV episodes from the series at the same theater that exhibited the Bad Robot films.

Just to be clear, they didn’t produce that movie for theatrical release during the license with Paramount. That was a retrospective re-release of a first run produced TV series, in a different medium; in the same way STID was released theatrically first, then broadcast on TV, would not be considered to infringe on CBS exclusive TV rights, since it was not produced for initial exhibition in that medium. In both cases, this is ancillary market distribution.

Your understanding is wrong and uninformed. Please see @Disinvited’s excellent explanation below:

Is Brent Spiner Paramount’s New CEO ?!

Other Franchises are shaming the Star Trek Franchise . Star Wars & Disney intend putting a movie out regularly till 2030 , and another 3 tv series as well . NBC’s mystery/thriller The Expanse is making Star Trek Serial Tv look tawdry and simple . When a Franchise’s focus is only profit , and neglects the creative thought process , it is definitely doomed to fail publicly .

Isn’t The Expanse a SyFy channel series? At least it was last time I watched it,lol.

You’re right JRT ! But because of production cost , apparently is jointly financed with NBCU .

so the question i have is why so many star trek fans hate star trek… it’s kind of amazing it’s lasted so many years… many of the original movies have haters… when tng came around an army of fans from TOS hated it… and ever since from ds9 to voyager… to enterprise… to many of the tng movies and the new films to beyond have an unending supply of geek self torment… and anger… why? can’t you guys just enjoy it? everyone working on these things for the last 50 years enjoys what they do… they like trek… they try to tell a good story with fun action… this hasn’t changed… some people prefer TOS to TNG… some like DS9 better… sooooo many hated it back in the day… some prefer Nemesis to Into Darkness (amazingly) but that’s what we got… a crazy group of series and movies… is it possible to love your corner of trek without hating someone else’s?

The only thing I want is a focused film strategy, similar to what is being done at Lucasfilms and Marvel Studios. In particular, tie the films to popular merchandising (like comic books, books, video games and toys) and television properties. Personally, I want a film per year (serial and stand-alone formats), as well as more flexibility in the fan film production with more support (I would allow for a longer running time, for instance). Just a thought.

Paramount probably wouldn’t do a yearly film , Dswynne , and their worry would be franchise overdose . I honestly don’t think they will change direction from what they’re already providing .

No probably not every year but it certainly shouldn’t be every 3-4 years either. In fact if you look at the first 10 films the average was about one every 2 and a half years. The only time it went longer than three years was between Insurrection and Nemesis but there was three shows on between that time as well.

Today franchises compete harder. Yeah you do have stuff like Mission Impossible and POTC that comes out every 4-5 years but those are dependent on one main star. Stuff like Star Wars, Marvel, DC, etc are spread wide with multiple actors and characters so they bring out a lot of different movies. If Trek can’t do spin offs they should try and at least get the schedule down to every 2 years in general. STID did better than the first film but I honestly think waiting four years hurt it. The demographic these films are aiming for lose interest more quickly these days. Franchise films are almost coming out yearly in some areas today. Its crazy because no one seems to worry much about franchise fatigue when you see how much is pumped out from Star Wars and Marvel.

Trek proved long ago if its good it will get a good size audience returning but they can’t expect it to be on a huge level like those either.

I agree. Im not a huge Star Wars guy but Rebels is better written, better acted and produced with far more care then any of the series since DS9.

Berman had a TV Trek Making Machine and he just pushed replicate and away they went. garbage.

And then with the films, they hired the wrong people for the wrong job at the wrong time.

But until Viacom puts film and TV back together, there will never be the opportunity to have a Kathleen Kennedy or the Marvel guy, someone who friggen GETS IT to be the torch bearer for the franchise.

We can hope Discovery is SO good that paramount backs off and CBS gets to make Trek films based on Star Trek, not whatever it was JJ made.

If anyone is looking closely at Marvel and Star Wars, DC, and other very successful franchises, they won’t think that. I’ve never believed the franchise fatigue argument. Trek suffered from formula stagnation, and one generic series after the other. A film franchise could easily be modeled on the one Disney is currently pursuing for Trek. They could do TNG era films every 2 years, an origin story film every other year focusing on young Kirk, or Spock; they could even do DS9-based films. Or the main franchise could be a brand new crew picking up after the TNG era. They could even take a chapter out of the DC TV world and have the multiple universes and alternate realities interact with each other. What it gets them besides building a big unified world upon which to draw new fans and immerse them in a cohesive web of interrelated stories that give breadth to the entire franchise quickly, are films that will likely draw different audiences every other year — in other words something for everyone, at a pace that keeps the momentum flowing for aspect of the fanbase at all times.

that would be great… paramount though has always been disorganized when it came to trek… up until the new movies they’ve been pretty cheap too… first roddenberry was in charge then harve bennett then rick berman… now sort of JJ… but we actually still don’t know who is running the ship like with lucas/disney and kathleen kennedy… there’s never been an overseer or where things should go… JJ tried doing what your suggesting and paramount wasn’t interested which is why i think he jumped to star wars… (though he still produces the new movies) it’s always one movie at a time… i wish it would change… maybe the new head of paramount will point it in that direction

It’s time for something big regarding the Star Trek brand. Back in the 90s, when franchise building was a fairly new thing, Trek was THE archetype of a multimedia franchise, basically the first modern movie and TV franchise.
Twenty years later, we’ve been challenged by basically every power in the quadrant and beyond. Star Wars is bigger than ever, churning out annual movies til kingdom come. The MCU has turned out to be a franchise powerhouse that could easily outgun all of Star Trek in a decade. If combined, the same applies for the Arrowverse and the DCEU. Even Alien seems to become a viable ongoing brand again.

13 movies and 5-6 TV shows (+ 1 animated one) may seem a lot by nineties’ and aughties’ standards, but now – with two shows missing in HD – it’s only years away from becoming a third-rate catalogue property compared to the “big players”…
Star Trek needs annual movies – or at least one every other year – and at least two TV shows on multiple networks / internet portals. It needs an animated companion show to draw in the little ones and yeah, it finally needs women in tank tops to compete with Wonder Woman, Lara Croft and Felicity Smoak. LOL
Just kidding, but the rest is inevitable. If Star Trek wants to play with the big guys again, it should hurry up and establish a writers’ room to set up the franchise’s future ASAP…

Just leaving a major scifi movie up to one writer is foolhardy , Smike ? One movie can only do so much , my money would be on a series . I hope they discover that ! (hehe)!

Yeah it is amazing how Star Trek has went backwards on this lol. Its even funny now how people say it was ‘too much’ Star Trek on back then when you had two shows on the air and ONE film every few years.

Twenty years later, say hello to Marvel everyone: Currently has FIVE shows on the air which will only expand and 2-3 movies PER year. I mean thats crazy and yet people can’t get enough of it. At the rate its going, MCU will have logged as many hours as Star Trek in the next 5 years. And MCU is not even a decade old yet.

I agree though, I want Star Trek to go BIG again and I don’t mean just the movie budgets, which btw the last two KT films movies have been more expensive than all the Marvel films minus 4 of them, the two Avengers movies, Civil War and the two Iron Man sequels. How crazy is that? And the only reason why all those films costs more is because of RDJ pay check…literally lol. Those are all the films he has been in minus the first IM movie.

So yeah they can definitely spend a little less and still make a great movie since Marvel films average around $160 million WHEN RDJ isn’t in one of them. ;) And those come out great usually.

But yeah, do the shared universe thing again. Its crazy to me that we have two productions: Discovery and the KT films are LITERALLY in two different universes. These people should be trying to tie in as much as possible and cross promote. Its so weird how Star Trek really did the shared universe thing before so many called it that with ease back then and now today its like they are trying to avoid it when everyone else is doing it.

Make some big Trek films, throw in a war trilogy if you have to, make it connect to the show, add spin off movies in time, make Star Trek compete with the big boys and cross promote it all to death. This one stand alone film every 3 years is just old hat when you now have Star Wars out EVERY year with multiple casts, time periods and characters. I love when I heard Iger say they will get away from the Sky Walker clan and base future Star Wars movies on new characters.

Again something Star Trek has been doing for decades and yet we are back at TOS? C’mon, think bigger again!

Good info Tiger2 ! I haven’t really followed Marvel or DC , but of course I’ve heard how many movies etc are in the works . Viacom’s decision to separate the Star Trek Movies and TV Series has really slowed the Franchise to pedestrian pace , for sure !

Agreed. CBS is either planning to take the film rights back from Paramount, since they were granted the exclusive license to make feature films (likely theatrical exhibition rights), or Moonves is hoping to be handed the keys to the merged kingdom in the near future. Star Trek will continue to percolate along making heaps of money until that happens. Discovery could be the first plank toward the franchise reboot, giving audiences some time to forget the Bad Robot films, and rekindle its TV relationship roots. I clarified theatrical distribution rights, because CBS could likely make Trek TV movies, mostly indistinguishable from a feature film, but wouldn’t be able to distribute it in theaters — at least in first run. There may also be a format restriction as well — no single first run episode formats over 1-hour, regardless of distribution method, which may have been part of the reason Paramount jumped onto the Axanar movie lawsuit with CBS (as well as copyright infringement claims unique to Paramount).

Curious Cadet

Re: clarified theatrical distribution rights

Hasn’t CBS already broken any such 1 hour theatrical limit when they exhibited the HD upgrade of TNG’s THE BEST OF BOTH WORLDS in the theaters as a single movie feature, as I seem to recall?

Also, doesn’t the studio’s love for getting ppv streaming of features out ASAP mean that regardless of whether or not CBS gets their movies into the theaters that the two direct to streaming Trek “movie” products are going to compete regardless?

@Disinvited — the key distinction in my wording was “first run”. It’s a retrospective. TNG doesn’t compete with the BR movies, it was a limited release, and there’s little chance that modern audiences that aren’t already fans are going to flock to it. Likewise with the Menagerie theatrical release. And who knows, there might even be a clause that CBS has to pay Paramount something when they do those kinds of exhibitions. At a minimum, they might have to agree not to do it during the first run release of the feature film.

As for streaming, “first run” still applies, as the movies right now are several months after the box office release. Maybe when Paramount starts releasing movies via streaming the same day as it is released in the theaters, which is arguably still some time off, CBS will have something to complain about. Or maybe CBS was prescient enough to build something in along the same lines as the reverse situation. Regardless, I don’t think streaming is the issue here. I’d say the feature-length status drives the distinction more than anything.

Curious Cadet,

Re “first run”

I must confess that I’m not entirely clear on what the “first run” distinction would be when we have the likes of SHARKNADO making apparently successful theatrical runs including sequels? This may be overstating it, but maybe that’s more of a ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW event thing?

The Fathom theatrical distribution of THE BEST OF BOTH WORLDS came out the April prior to the May release of STAR TREK INTO DARKNESS. Not sure whether we can say that’s an indicator they block their exhibitions so as to not overlap? As I recall, it seemed STID got its release date bumped around to the point that I never knew for certain when it was in my local theater when it was released. I clearly remember deciding to go to the theater to see it and being shocked to discover that it had been there and gone.

I agree with you that CBS movies are not likely to be a threat to Paramount’s theatrical, but one never can know what might ignite the public fervor and favor. I heard Trump’s pumping up NASA’s manned space budget. Maybe that kind of STAR TREK can ride NASA’s coattails, yet again?

The TNG movie, might have been seen as publicity to energize the fans, which both sides agreed to. As you pointed out there are all kinds of hurtles involved in releasing a product shot under one contract under another. Bad Robot wants to release Hulu’s upcoming Castle Rock series in IMAX theaters, but the costs to do that are likely going to be prohibitive. As far as I’m aware Sharknado appears in first run on the cable network that originated it, not the box office. Not sure how they are handling the union transition to film exhibition, other than there may be fewer Union issues to address for that franchise, which may have been non-WGA, or even DGA and SAG. They might also intentionally produce it for first exhibition for film, due to its popularity, as taking a film to TV is much easier. Amazon produces films for a brief release in theaters in order to qualify for oscars, even though the intended venue is streaming (also far easier transition). Either way Sharknado likely doesn’t have a non-compete license with itself, the way Paramount and CBS do for Trek.

Trump did authorize 19 billion to fund NASA’s mission to Mars (despite pulling money from many other more important domestic issues), which is many years off, so it’s not quite like the heady atmospher of the 1960s or late 70s with the space shuttle, which brought us Trek and Wars. Trump also said he wants to send astronauts to the moon again, explicitly to claim it for the US. Can’t say that inspires the same kind of idealism that fueled the Trek vision of the future. But any things possible.

Curious Cadet,

Re: Just to be clear, they didn’t produce that movie for theatrical release during the license with Paramount.

I don’t think it is splitting hairs to point out that they didn’t show two TNG episodes but edited them together into a feature-lenghth movie first exhibited in the theaters. This seems closer to when Universal in the 60s edited together episodes of the MAN FROM U.N.C.L.E into movies for theatrical distribution in execution. The difference being that Universal gave those movies much longer theatrical runs but they did ride on the coattails of a larger sibling’s movie franchise, Fleming’s other creation, JAMES BOND.

Curious Cadet,

Re: Just to be clear, they didn’t produce that movie for theatrical release during the license with Paramount.

Also keep in mind that all NEW fx footage was filmed and edited in to produce that “new” TNG feature DURING the license with Paramount.

Universal did something similar to “remastering” with their MFU movies in that they filmed new footage to sex it up and make the action more intense. Where they diverged is I recall that in a couple of them they added new characters and dialogue. The most memorable being Yvonne Craig.

Again, splitting hairs. The vast majority of that exhibition was decades old. There was no infringement upon their license. And to the extent that there might have been, CBS might have actually gotten a waiver from Paramount to do it since it was promotional for their blue ray release, and not real competition at the box office. Once again I direct you to the limited release window clearly indicated on the advertising and your own experience. Moreover, Paramount might have actually seen this as exciting the fan base for STID, since it was unlikely to attract any mainstream audiences. But again, I seriously doubt their license with CBS would have enabled them to stop it. The language would most likely have stated something to the effect that ‘CBS will not engage in any new, original theatrical productions, wholly conceived, written, developed, and produced during the license period’.

It actually is splitting hairs. They did not create a new first run movie, they edited two very old TV shows together and exhibited them as promotion of the TV release on BluRay. It is not the same thing as producing a brand new movie never seen before for first run exhibition in theaters to compete with other motion pictures created for that purpose.

Curious Cadet,

Re: Hair splitting

Well, I did think it was swimming around close to splitting. But I’m a little confused as to the significance of being “original” since the copyright office recognized it as a transformative work and gave it a newer copyright. But I get it that for Hollywood contract purposes these may be two completely different things.

Curiuos Cadet,

Re: union transition to film exhibition

In looking around I came across this blast from the past:

“A few years ago, when I came to Paramount for a three-year contract deal, I found myself a bachelor. My lady had moved out. I was sitting with Michael Eisner, the head of the studio, in his office. The studio hadn’t lost all interest in Star Trek at that point. He asked me if I’d be interested in making Star Trek II. It was to be a television movie with the potential for theatrical release. My answer was, having seen all the episodes of Trek, knowing and respecting both Roddenberry and Coon and wanting that woman back in my life… YES!” — Harve Bennett, STARLOG, July 1982, Issue 60, PAGE 20-21

Harve said “It was to be a television movie with the potential for theatrical release.” so matter-of-factly that it feels as if the legals were boiler-plate for repositioning a well-received TV movie production, such as we might anticipate somewhere down the line from CBS, to theatrical release?

Also, are we sure the non-compete clause is still in effect? Because it sure seemed as if Fuller had intimated that the whole reason DISCOVERY’s TV production was able to launch was because it was over?

Curious Cadet,

Re:…hurtles involved in releasing a product shot under one contract under another

Whatever the hurdles are, Fathom Events was able to surmount them for DOCTOR WHO’S season 10 TV premier as it will be playing in theaters on April 17th and 19th.

comment image
Poster from 2013

Curious Cadet,

Now this is interesting:

“We really can’t do the theatricals anymore, because of all these things that have come up with the guilds – the Writers Guild, the Directors Guild. All these things where we were doing theatrical releases of episodes that were meant for television. If you go into theatrical you have to factor in all these royalties. So probably not.” — Roger Lay, Jr., Star Trek: The Next Generation and Star Trek: Enterprise VAM producer

Yes that would be ideal. I’m fine personally if they keep making KT films but if they can come up with something different and tie it in directly to Discovery or at the very least exist in the same freakin universe again that would be better IMO.

I always thought Star Trek should do TV movies. Make it an anthology of them and come up with different ship and crews. Do different time periods. Less of a pressure to perform on the big screen but would be a big event for the fans to check out if they made one a year along with a show. They can just do so much with Star Trek like they did in the 90s but they all have to at least be on the same page of its direction like they did when it was under Berman.

Thats why I envy stuff like Marvel, Star Wars, etc. They all have one big studio of people who work together to come up with new stories but keep it all consistent. Star Trek sounds like it has two different groups who never even talk on the phone with each other between the Discovery people and whoever is in charge of the movie side since that seems to be up in the air at the moment.

Yeah its just crazy to me how for example you have Disney and Sony, two separate studios now SHARING a character, Spider Man, to include in the same universe for Spider-Man Homecoming and the next Avenger films. Iron Man is now a Disney character as well and yet will be appearing in a Sony film along with other Marvel characters.

And then we have Star Trek, the same freakin franchise and yet its products are treated like they are being run by two separate studios. Technically they are but are still under the umbrella of one mega corporation. If you can get two competing studios to find ways to work together to use a character in their films surely you can make Star Trek whole again since its truthfully under one company, just licensed to a sister company as well. Its just mind boggling in this day and age how many studios are trying so desperately to tie their franchise together and Star Trek is being divided as if the two halves don’t exist.

Although its true DC has its movie and TV characters separate but I can understand when you plan to make 10 different movies and you have four shows all currently running. It would just get confusing trying to keep up with all those characters and story lines. Even then they have movie shared universe and a TV shared universe all coexisting with each other. In Star Trek case we have ONE film series and one TV show on the way that will only have 13 episodes a season. This isn’t exactly some huge franchise at the moment people cant keep up with.

So yeah they can definitely do more. I don’t expect them to have 5 shows running or a TOS, TNG and Voyager film running concurrently or anything but at least find ways to make the movie verse connected to the TV verse. And the beauty with Trek you can literally do anything so find a spin off film series and not just more shows (although I personally would take more shows than films). But make Trek a big deal, not just something on the side as it feels now.


“And the beauty with Trek you can literally do anything so find a spin off film series and not just more shows (although I personally would take more shows than films). But make Trek a big deal, not just something on the side as it feels now.” — Tiger2

Agreed. Seconded. And high-fived!

There really isn’t much news here, specific to Trek. The new CEO is either going to develop new Trek projects, or not. Selling their ‘B’ level franchise could give then some much needed cash – pure speculation on my part. From previous releases, it’s pretty obvious that there won’t be any big screen Trek release next year, maybe not until 2020. Regardless of how it reappears, someone, somewhere will have their undies in a knot over it.

The new ST movies seemed to make good profit , I would have thought Paramount would be cashed up for Star Trek Movies , or are they ?

nope. the budgets were too high for the reasonable profit they did make. eventually all Trek movies recoup their losses, but right now they’ve spent much more than they’ve likely earned to date.

P.S., and the studio overall lost massively in 2016, and unfortunately even if Trek did make money the profits from it would go into the port to subsidize the rest of the studio. So they are not in a position to take a risk on Trek after STB’s performance.

The problem is, while the Trek movies turned a profit, it wasn’t huge. Lets look at the last three Trek, MI, and Transformer movies:
Trek: WWBO – 1.2 billion, on a 525MM budget
MI: WWBO – 1.8 billion, on a 445MM budget
Transformers: 3.1 billion, on a 605MM budget
(lets save the debate on WW vs domestic box, marketing costs, DVD/BlueRay/sales, and broadcast license for some other time)
Yes, Trek made money. But if money is tight, where do you put the blockbuster dollars? Where you get the most bang for the buck. If the studio wants to keep Trek, they have to decide if they can amp up it’s popularity, or make them on a tighter budget, knowing the franchise appeal may be a limited market. Despite what the armchair producers, directors, and studio heads who proliferate here think, ‘fixing’ Trek isn’t just about shooting JJ, finding someone who ‘gets Trek’, or filming whatever the hell they think made Trek ‘special’. The Kelvin movies did reinvigorate the franchise, but not nearly to Star Wars level, which, like it or not, is seen as the bar of success. I’m not sure a Trek movie could hit 500MM in revenue, let alone a billion. If the studio can live with lower expectations, great, we’ll see more movies. If not, don’t be surprised if they sell the franchise to a studio with deeper pockets.

none of the discussion points seem to be on point. I know some of you know the industry pretty well so my question is What are the Viacom TV properties they would want to explore in movies. I was looking through lists of shows and didn’t see anything interesting.

CHiPs and Baywatch are TV properties that are hitting the big screen this year – Baywatch has the Paramount brand on it. CBS has been around forever, I don’t think they are going to have any problems finding something to explore.

How long until Star Trek gets the “comedy spoof” treatment…?

Be careful for what you wish for…you might get it.
The Star Trek – Mary Tyler Moore crossover. I smell an Oscar.

Well, Paramount Television did have the GALAXY QUEST TV series for Amazon on hold, and, obviously, that and a movie sequel or reboot would meet their stated cross promotional development goals?

But the death of Alan Rickman seems to have left its developers stymied:

I think at this juncture, CBS would try to put some pressure on preventing Paramount from producing a GQ series now until Diacovery is off and flying successfully.

Paramount did a disservice to Star Trek Beyond by its lack of advertising. Local theaters here had NO posters, NO lobby ads. Where was the advertising? It was as if the studio didn’t care.

That’s like saying you have a car with no tires, no windows, no seats and no engine and saying if only it had a full tank of gas. By the time they got to advertising and marketing, it was dead in the water.

I think they were cutting their losses. Dont throw good money after bad.

There was some chatter about there being no money for marketing. Given what’s in the business pages, who knows, that might have been true. They muffed the fan event last year, didn’t leverage the shows 50th anniversary, but at the end of the day, would an extra 50MM in advertising dollars really have made a difference?

The question is whether his “strategic vision” translates into a creative vision for Trek—-whether he sees the long-term branding implications of the last regime’s handling of Trek, and whether he’s able to forgo short-term gain for much larger and more sustaining long-term value.

If he’s thinking of Trek mainly in “tent-pole” terms, then he would seem to have about as much strategic and creative vision as the last regime, which is to say not much at all. There’s no other movie franchise like Trek. Stop trying to jam the square-peg of Trek into the round hole of comic-book and other “tentpole” movie models. Let Trek be Trek, and make the best Trek that you can make.

@Cyg – Can CBS make Star Trek films or is that the exclusive right of Paramount? And along those lines, can Paramount team with CBS for a strategic Star Trek Universe?

Im with you that Trek is unique. To me it so obviously screams Cinematic Universe, in the vein of Marvel.

But if CBS is in control, Paramount might be forced into the scenario of making “tent pole” Trek films that arent very good but maybe make a few bucks…if they dont have enough control to expand the universe.

Trek movies are the exclusive right of Paramount, as far as I know.

Can Paramount team with CBS for a strategic Star Trek Universe?
I don’t see why not. Joining the movies with the TV show, to form a cohesive dramatic “universe”, would be great. From what I’ve read, it doesn’t seem that CBS has had much input on Paramount’s Trek movies beyond simply granting them the license, which they are contractually obligated to do per the whole Redstone/Viacom/National Amusements corporate relationship. The movies have been all Paramount—Paramount business decisions, Paramount creative strategy (or lack thereof), Paramount production, and Paramount(subsidiary)distribution.

What prevents CBS from producing their own Star Trek film other than Redstone saying “dont do it”? Anything…? Is there a rights agreement that reverts back to CBS at some point?

What prevents CBS from producing their own Star Trek film other than Redstone saying “dont do it”? Anything…? Is there a rights agreement that reverts back to CBS at some point?

The finer points of that licensing relationship, I couldn’t tell you. Maybe I would assume there’s a contract granting Paramount the exclusive movie-making rights and CBS the exclusive “Star Trek” copyrights (and Paramount retains the movie “master” rights for each film they’ve produced). As for whether CBS is contractually obligated to grant Trek-movie licenses to Paramount, or whether it’s done by Redstone fiat, I don’t know. Maybe Disinvited has some details on that.

*(- maybe)*

Cygnus-X1 and TUP,

Put the contracts and licensing aside for a moment.

All indications from the recent copyright case are that CBS retains the original copyright from the TV series and its scripts from whence all else was derived.

That means that the copyrights for the books, comic books, and MOVIES are all derivative of the original copyright that CBS was granted. That’s NOT the same as NO STAR TREK copyrights for Paramount, but in copyright courts derivative copyrights are given lesser regards in running up against the original copyright holder.

That means Les Moonves has a veto, a trump card if you will, that he can use against Paramount in copyright court. He can get an injunction against any of Paramount’s STAR TREK movie plans by asserting to the court that whatever those plans are that they will dilute the value of the original that CBS holds.

I’m going to make an extreme example to show that no matter how ironclad the contract or license given Paramount, CBS always retains this power by dint of the original copyright.

Say some genius in Paramount’s executive suite decides that the kick in the pants their franchise needs is to turn James T. Kirk into a serial rapist. Clearly, Les has the right to nip that in the bud.

My point is that even if such an exclusive moviemaking agreement exists for Paramount, CBS has a copyright thumbscrew that he can apply to make them buckle under to whatever he wants.

The only thing I see that can stop him are the same people that stopped VIACOM and Paramount from selling to the Chinese. And THAT may be the only thing making those two companies play nice over STAR TREK and MISSION IMPOSSIBLE.

Thanks Dis.

Im holding out hope that CBS takes over the entire franchise with the intent of building it out into a “Cinematic Universe”.

Im holding out hope that CBS takes over the entire franchise with the intent of building it out into a “Cinematic Universe”.

I’ll be shocked if that happens, but I’ll definitely welcome it as good news, if it does. It’s hard to imagine CBS doing it any worse than Paramount has, and easy to see them doing a whole lot better.


According to DEADLINE the Redstones tried to re-merge the two with Moonves in charge but threats of lawsuits from CBS’ institutional investors among other factors made it not possible.

Some industry analysts say it is against Moonves’ fiduciary responsibilities to just go along with the Redstones’ wishes in doing an immediate re-merging. They say he’s going to play it smart, wait a couple years for them to straighten out Viacom’s financing, and then swoop in scooping up a bargain.

It won’t matter if Moonves ends up replacing Redstone as chairman of National Amusements, or keeps Shari Redstones confidence if she ascends to that position. He could leverage that position to dictate terms to Paramount in order to align Treks interests as a franchise. But yes, I said from the beginning it didn’t make sense for CBS to take on Viacom and pull down its market standing until all the holes were plugged in that sinking ship. But in the end, none of it matters depending on the terms of the current licensing agreement between CBS and Paramount. Paramount could lose rights for any number of reasons, including expiration. CBS might have even renegotiated more strict control after Abrams’ resistance to cooperate with CBS in marketing the franchise. I still think Abrams is out at Paramount once his first look deal expires, which is imminent as I recall — and its that deal that I think has been interfering with CBS ability to push forward in a unified way this whole time.

The copyright is what gives CBS the right to issue the license to Paramount, and it is that document in which they exercise control — CBS almost certainly has protections built into that agreement with Paramount, to the extent they even have approval over such things as character depictions, and even blowing up Vulcan. This is Licensing 101.

Curious Cadet,

Re: Licensing 101

And its also Copyright 101 that even if Moonves were foolish enough to cede control over to Paramount for better management, say, that the rights revert on failure to “publish” in a timely and fruitful manner.


Here’s what an unnamed Viacom executive told VANITY FAIR’s William D. Cohan about how things had been done by Paramount’s now departed vice-chairman creative executive, Rob Moore:

“What each one of them [Paramount executives, John Lesher, Brad Weston, and Adam Goodman who were willing to take creative risks] told me is: working with Rob [Moore, Paramount vice-chairman creative], you just get crushed. You can’t win, and there was a culture here not of introspection, of like, ‘Hey, let’s look at why this movie didn’t work.’ It was more like, ‘Well I told you it wasn’t going to work, and you’re to blame.’

[Moore’s firing] leaves a huge vacuum. I think immediately the turmoil is that every single department head—from international to marketing to business affairs and to production—were appointed by, blessed by, and reported to Rob. He talked to those people all day long, at night, etc. . . . He taught them everything. . . . Everyone’s sort of scrambling.” — unnamed Viacom executive from IS PARAMOUNT “UNSALVAGEABLE”?; by William D. Cohan;; October 26, 2016 5:00 am


Sounds right.

Trek films today are a tough nut, simply because some fans see them as classic-Trek inspired drivel for the popcorned masses, and others as a true revitalization of the classic cast for a modern audience. Others, yet, see them as their first exposure to anything Trek. Old-timers like myself are used to the film franchise always being on the edge of cancellation due to low numbers, but, regardless of this still true fact, without a real international strategy, which includes heavy long-term marketing and awareness campaigns prior to, and during, release, the films will not be successful for Paramount. Underlying this, the films’ characters and storylines need to be active and available to younger viewers on TV and the Internet via cartoons and interactive sites. Paramount needs to invest in creating long-term franchise fans, and not just butts in seats every three years. A series on TV around the world always helps, and of Discovery succeeds, it will, but it needs to somehow hew close to the films. Let’s hope this new guy is ready to invest behind Trek internationally and still release films which resonate with Trek fans of all ages.

AJ , old-time fans (myself included) have been voicing long-term commitments for Star Trek on the internet for years ! Hopefully , Jim Gianopulos has been hired to oversee this new restoration of Star Trek !