Paramount+ promotes itself as the home of Star Trek television, touting “every series, every episode,” but it can’t say the same when it comes to the Star Trek feature films which come and go with regularity. And this month saw the biggest exodus in over a year.
Paramount+ home to a couple of Star Trek movies
Last November, the Paramount+ streaming service in the USA had finally become home to all thirteen Star Trek feature films. But over the last year, movies came and went from the service, sometimes appearing on other streaming services and sometimes not. By September of this year, all but Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan and Star Trek Beyond were still available. However, today the service is down to just two: the 2009 Star Trek film and 2013’s Star Trek Into Darkness.
Today, ten Star Trek movie titles were removed, which included both the theatrical and the new Director’s Edition of Star Trek: The Motion Picture. As of now, none of the six TOS-era or four TNG-era films are available to stream in the USA. And to make matters even worse, Galaxy Quest, the 1999 loving homage and parody of Star Trek, also exited Paramount+ this weekend. (Galaxy Quest is available to stream on Peacock)
This removal appears to be specific to Paramount Plus in the USA. The number of Star Trek films available in each market varies, but there are no indications of similar large exits for the various international versions of Paramount Plus. For example, in the UK the service launched earlier this year with the first 11 films, all of which are still available as of today.
Paramount+ is part of Paramount Global which is the sole owner of the Star Trek franchise on both film and television, and that includes the distribution rights. While Paramount+ USA did not provide any details on the removal, movies coming and going generally are related to licensing deals cut with other services, often years in the past. Of the eleven Trek films not on Paramount+, only Star Trek Beyond is currently available to stream in the USA (on AMC+). The remaining films could show up on AMC or another service, and they will likely also return at some point to Paramount+. For example, last year all the TOS and TNG movies exited Paramount+ for AMC only to return a few months later.
This kind of licensing is common; however, other media companies have been able to take fuller control over their own franchises by clawing back these deals. Disney pulled back streaming licensing deals for their Marvel and Star Wars movies, which have consistently been part of their Disney+ service since it launched in 2019. And earlier this year Disney even brought in all the Marvel original Netflix shows like Daredevil and Luke Cage.
Every series. Every episode… And sometimes movies.
Paramount Global has made prioritizing its own streaming service a corporate policy in recent years, which has cut into the corporation’s third-party licensing revenue, a strategy witnessed with the Star Trek television shows. With the exit of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine from Netflix in July of this year, Paramount+ became the exclusive USA streaming home of all of the legacy Star Trek television series after it let long-standing licenses with Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon lapse. And of course, Paramount+ is home to five exclusive original Star Trek television series.
This video promo released in July touts Paramount+ as the exclusive home of “Every series. Every episode.” of Star Trek.
It’s unclear if or when Paramount+ will be able to make the feature films part of its pitch as the (consistent) home of “every” Star Trek.
They can’t take away your discs
If you want to be sure to have access to the Star Trek movies, you can pick them up on DVD, Blu-ray and even 4K UHD Blu-ray. The 2020 collection of the first 10 movies is available on Blu-ray at Amazon for $45.00. Recently Paramount released a six-movie collection of the TOS films on 4K UHD Blu-ray, available on Amazon for $95.89.
Find more news on streaming and home video at TrekMovie.com.