Since re-merging almost two years ago, ViacomCBS has gone through a number of changes, moving more and more of its focus to streaming and Paramount+. The latest moves are happening at Paramount Pictures with a major management shift, but amongst all the changes we got another confirmation the studio is developing multiple Star Trek films.
Paramount has a new chief
On Tuesday, ViacomCBS officially confirmed what had been reported earlier in the trades. Paramount Chairman and CEO Jim Gianopulos is handing over the reins to Brian Robbins, who has been appointed President and CEO of the studio in addition to maintaining his current responsibilities leading Nickelodeon. Gianopulos remains at Paramount in an advisory role through the end of the year to help ensure a smooth transition.
The studio is also splitting up its film and television divisions. Paramount Television Studios will now become part of the premium network group under the leadership of Showtime CEO David Nevins, who also oversees all scripted television for Paramount+.
According to media accounts, the management changes are all part of the ViacomCBS focus on streaming. Variety reports Robbins convinced ViacomCBS chairman Shari Redstone “on his vision for the studio and his plans to shift its emphasis in the direction of feeding Paramount Plus.” According to the New York Times, Gianopulos “had, at times, resisted a ViacomCBS effort to prioritize the Paramount+ streaming service at the expense of ticket sales and theaters.” The Wall Street Journal first broke the news last week, saying Redstone was impressed with Robbins’ ability to “tap into younger audiences,” seen as key to Paramount+.
Outgoing chief memo talks Trek
Star Trek entered the story briefly on Tuesday, getting a mention in a memo about the changes from Gianopulus (via THR).
Since its inception, Paramount has been synonymous with great theatrical entertainment, and together, we have launched massive global hits like Mission: Impossible—Fallout, and helped build new cinematic worlds, like A Quiet Place and Sonic the Hedgehog, and elevated existing ones, like Transformers and, Star Trek (with new films in the works), among others.
The noteworthy bit is Gianopulus’ mention of multiple Star Trek films being “in the works.” The biggest of those is of course the one that is actually on their release calendar for June 9, 2023, to be directed by Matt Shakman, with a script already completed. It has also been reported this year that producer J.J. Abrams has a second new Trek film project in the works, based on a script from Kalinda Vazquez. It’s possible there are other projects in development as well. Developing multiple projects has become the norm for franchise films in recent years, much like the way Paramount is handling other franchises like Transformers, Mission: Impossible, and GI Joe, but it is something new for Star Trek.
Paramount Pictures has not released a Star Trek feature film since 2016’s Star Trek Beyond, which underperformed and even predates Gianopulus’ reign at the studio. In 2020, he brought in Emma Watts, who had worked for him previously at Fox. Watts put all previous Star Trek projects on hold, including one from Noah Hawley that was close to starting pre-production. Other projects including the one based on a pitch from Quentin Tarantino and a sequel to Beyond featuring Chris Hemsworth returning as Kirk’s father also appear currently dormant.
In the last year, Watts has worked with Abrams to develop the 2023 Shakman-directed film, and the Vazquez-penned movie. It’s not known if the shakeup will impact Watts’ role or if Robbins will make any changes with regard to the current Star Trek projects in the works.
ViacomCBS has made Star Trek a major part of Paramount+, with five television shows currently in production and others in development for the future. With the new emphasis on Paramount+ across ViacomCBS, it is likely that some current Paramount Pictures projects will become Paramount+ exclusives, which could include one or more future Star Trek films.
They may also start experimenting with shorter windows between theatrical releases and streaming releases, or possibly even simultaneous releases. New Paramount studio chief Robbins spearheaded the recent simultaneous release of Paw Patrol, which still exceeded box office targets, according to Deadline. And it has been reported that Robbins plans to focus more on smaller budget films. According to The Hollywood Reporter, these kinds of moves with theatrical windows and focus on costs may set up a clash between the studio and filmmakers, and could also impact the quality.
The bottom line is that for now, things continue to change at ViacomCBS and Paramount Pictures, the home of the Star Trek films. These changes will likely impact the future of Star Trek movies, which are hopefully coming to a big screen (and also possibly a small screen) in 2023 and beyond.
Find more on upcoming Star Trek films at TrekMovie.com.