This afternoon the Financial Times reported that a finance deal between Paramount and Deutsche Bank has fallen through. The FT report states that Paramount is seeking funds to partially finance “up to 30 films, including possible blockbusters such as the sequel to Transformers and a new version of Star Trek.” However a trusted studio source tells TrekMovie that this deal will not have an impact on the post-production of Star Trek.
According to Variety’s ‘Thompson on Hollywood’ blog, Paramount “will not be putting on any panels or bringing any stars to Comic-Con” this year. A Paramount spokesman notes that “the time is off” because all the geek-friendly Paramount movies (G.I. Joe, Star Trek, Transformers 2 and The Last Airbender) are all a year or more off.
Today Paramount Pictures announced they crossed the $1 Billion mark in domestic sales (after crossing $1Bil in int’l sales last week). Currently the #1 ranked studio (as they were in 2007), this is a turnaround for Paramount which rarely broke into the top 5 in recent years. However, changes are in store and it appears the studio is becoming more reliant on franchises (like Star Trek).
With the JJ Abrams Star Trek movie still eleven months away, is it too early to be talking about a sequel? Apparently to Paramount Pictures the answer is ‘no.’ Star Trek co-writer and executive producer Roberto Orci has revealed exclusively to TrekMovie.com that the studio is already perusing the new Trek team to nail them down for a follow-up.
After being recently pulled from both the Spike TV and G4 schedules, reruns of the Star Trek The Next Generation were off the air for the first time in years, but that is about to change. The SCI FI Channel, which currently airs Star Trek Enterprise, is now the new cable home for Star Trek: The Next Generation . TNG is as part of a newly announced package deal between SCI FI and CBS, but is the only Trek series named.
Over two months after being the last studio to announce support for Blu-ray, Paramount has finally announced titles, but so far no Trek. The initial five Blu-ray releases (coming out between May 20th and June 3rd) are catching up on previous films released on DVD like There Will Be Blood, and Cloverfield. Then, starting on June 24th Paramount will issue its first Blu-ray title on the same day as the DVD, “The Spiderwick Chronicles” with ‘more to follow.’
If you have HBO or Showtime and were hoping to see JJ Abrams Star Trek film on either, you are out of luck. Today Viacom (parent company of Paramount Pictures) announced a joint venture with MGM, UA and Lionsgate forming a new premium cable channel with exclusive rights for all four studios. The not-yet-named channel launches in the Fall of 2009 and the official press release names the new Trek movie as one of the ‘exclusives.’
UPDATE: Yesterday first word came out that Paramount were moving the release for the new Star Trek to May 8th 2009. Today a Paramount spokesman explains that the film will still be completed by this year but they feel it can stack up against traditional summer blockbusters. In addition Paramount have updated the official movie websites, but for now are only saying “May 2009” for the release.
Variety is reporting that Paramount has pushed the release of the new Star Trek movie from Christmas 2008 to May 8, 2009. Apparently the reason is to go for bigger box office during the summer season. Variety quotes a studio insider saying “Star Trek has the potential to gross more in May than in December.”
Over the weekend boards for the WGA recommended to the membership approve a new contract and end the 3 month long writer’s strike. Members vote on Tuesday to suspend the strike with a separate vote on the contract later in the Month. Picketing has been suspended and the Variety Strike Blog is reporting that ‘showrunners’ (writer/producers) will be returning to work on Monday.
The Writers Guild of America strike has entered its fourth week, but the parties actually sat down to talk to each other Monday for the first time since the strike began. Although both director JJ Abrams and co-writer Roberto Orci have stated that the script for Star Trek (currently in production) was solid and that they had planned ahead to ensure it was strike-ready, Abrams was also recently quoted as saying he wasn’t happy he couldn’t add a new line to the script. But new reports give hope that Abrams may get a chance to add that line sooner rather than later. According to today’s Daily Variety “optimists took solace in speculation that the outlines of a deal have already been hammered out.”
[WARNING: boring business article ahead] To all of us Star Trek is a hobby (or to some a way of life), but to CBS and Paramount/Viacom Trek is a ‘brand’ and a ‘franchise.’ The good news is that Trek is again getting the notice of the higher ups. In a conference call with Wall Street where he announced a big jump in profits, Viacom CEO Philippe Dauman talked up Paramount’s 2008 line-up with a shoutouts to J.J. Abrams and Star Trek…
You may have heard that the Writers Guild of America has been in negotiations with the studios and producers (along with a federal mediator) for a new contract and according to reports the parties failed to come to an agreement Wednesday before the current contract expired at midnight. Although the WGA did not call for a strike immediately, industry watchers expect one could be called for within a week. [UPDATE: Variety: Strike set to start Monday] However, it appears a strike will not impact Star Trek which starts shooting next Wednesday. Variety lists Star Trek as one of the films Paramount has ‘ready to go’ despite the possible strike. Executive producer and co-writer Roberto Orci tells TrekMovie.com that Paramount and the team have been working on the assumption of a strike for months. “The script is in great shape and we had a long lead time,” said Orci confidently.
The residents of Vulcan, Alberta are hoping the new Star Trek movie will make its first contact in their town. The idea is the brainchild of Dayna Dickens, the tourism coordinator for the small Canadian community which has been leveraging its Trek sounding name into tourist dollars for decades. Dickens tells TrekMovie.com the idea has the support of community leaders and she is currently working with the Alberta Film Commission on a formal proposal to Paramount. Landing the Star Trek premiere may be a long shot, but it is not without precedent. Dickens noted Fox held the recent premiere for The Simpsons Movie in town of Springfield, Vermont. Vulcan may have some competition from other self-proclaimed ‘Trek towns’ such Riverside, Iowa (‘future birthplace of Kirk) and Linlithgow Scotland (‘future birthplace of Scotty’). But Dickens is not daunted, observing "the worst they can do is say ‘no.’"
The first ever article on this site was about the announcement that Star Trek producer/director J.J. Abrams had inked two major deals after his contract with Disney ended. One deal was with Paramount for multiple pictures and the other was with Warner Brothers for TV. Since then Abrams has been juggling his TV and film duties, but according to Slate.com Paramount is now getting the better part of the deal. Abrams reportedly got $10 million a year from Warner but has only announced a single project (a medical drama for HBO) in the 14 months since the deal was struck. Slate notes that another TV project will soon be forthcoming, but that the new Star Trek film at Paramount "is going to become [Abrams] life" for the next 15 months. Slate quotes a studio exec saying of the dueling deals, "somebody had to get hurt" and that somebody appears to be Warner Brothers. Another development may make Abrams even more important to Paramount soon….
The stories of Leonard Nimoy’s feuds with Paramount are legendary, but on Sunday night America’s favorite Vulcan put Mr. Spock, beer bottles and Hollywood accounting behind and turned out to host "The Big Picture: The Films of Paramount Pictures" – a music tribute at the legendary Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles, CA. Despite the sweltering weather, Nimoy was classy as always and surprisingly avuncular as he introduced a litany of classic scores (and accompanying film clips) to some of Paramount’s greatest films including A Place In The Sun, Forest Gump, Chinatown, The Godfather Trilogy, Titanic, Breakfast at Tiffany’s and many more.
TV Shows on DVD has revealed the interiors to the upcoming First Season of Star Trek The Original Series on HD DVD/DVD combo. Each of the 10 disks comes in a sleeve with a description of the episodes and features on the disk. Bear in mind that the disks are double sided (DVD on one side, HD DVD on the other)…so there is no artwork on the disks themselves.
Here are some some bite sized Trek nuggets to hold you over until the next item on TOSR or STXI. To promote TOSR StarTrek.com is running a giveaway for a new poster for Star Trek Remastered. Got to this page to enter to win this 2′ x 3′ poster made for syndicated stations. SciFi.com ran a poll on who should direct Star Trek XI and Joss Whedon came out on top with almost half the votes. Abrams came in 2nd to last with only 14%, click here for full results.
Gail Berman (no relation to Rick) announced today that she is resigning as President of Paramount Pictures. Although Berman was involved in bringing in J.J. Abrams in a multi-year deal including Star Trek XI, Abrams’ primary champion within Viacom/Paramount has been Paramount CEO Brad Grey. A Paramount insider tells TrekMovie.com that Berman’s departure should have no impact on Star Trek XI as the project (along with Abrams himself) has too much support around the company. This support has recently been evidenced by the Chairman of Viacom talking up both Abrams and Trek XI to investors (on two separate occasions). Berman’s departure is mostly due to changes in the company after the Viacom split, the Dreamworks acquisition, and changes made in reporting lines by Brad Grey resulting in Berman finding she had more and more of a diminished role. More info at Variety
In speech to investors, Viacom CEO Philippe Dauman named Star Trek in his list of key components of Paramount’s future. Apparently JJ Abrams really sold the new cheif of Viacom on Trek when he spoke to him last month (story). Specifically on Trek the executive said "we’re revitalizing it in a new and interesting way." This shows how Trek has again moved to the front burner for Viacom and Paramount. Also of note is how the article states a Trek XI release date as ‘2008 or 2009’. It also claimed that Abrams would be directing the film. Abrams recently told TrekMovie that he still was not sure if he would direct and that they will start shooting in Spring 2007 to meet a Summer 2008 release date. TrekMovie will try and clarify these two issues, but it is good to see that Trek has support all the way to the top.Full story in Variety UPDATE: Abrams still not Confirmed To Direct
A couple of months ago TrekMovie speculated that changes in the leadership at Paramount’s parent company Viacom may ripple down to the recently signed JJ Abrams. However it appears that the new CEO of Viacom is a fan; Philippe Dauman had the following to say in a conference call with investors: We are doing all this while ramping up to produce a strong line-up of films including Tent Pole under the Paramount marquee. A key component to this revitalization is making sure we attract the best talent and we’ve already been successful in making deals with some of the biggest names in the business including Steven Spielberg, J.J. Abrams, whom I had the pleasure to spend some time with last night, Brad Pitt and Will Ferrell.
Like Star Trek XI, the Halo movie was one of the more anticipated films planned for 2008. Now the film is in limbo, and apparently Trek is partially to blame. After losing financing from Universal and Fox, the Halo producers (Peter Jackson and Microsoft) pinned their hopes on Warner Brothers and Paramount. According to IESB, Abrams and Trek factored into Paramount’s decision to say no. IESB quotes a Paramount exec as saying Why share a franchise with other parties when we own Star Trek and have a real director doing that film?.
Article Updated: The Christies Trek auction is over and according to their release it brought in $7,107,040 (more than double their expectations). The highest priced item was the model for the ST:TNG Enterprise D for $576k, a new world record for Trek memorabilia. Other items that far exceeded expectations were McCoy’s TOS spacesuit for $144k and Picard’s flute from ‘Inner Light’ for $48k. Christies touts it as a truly ‘global event’ with bidders coming in from all over the world, however all but two of the top 10 items went to Americans. could have been yours for half a $mil
The auctioning of Trek’s history has begun and boy did Christies underestimate their prices. Not a single item has gone for anything close to their original estimates. For example: two empty Chateau Picard wine bottles (from Nemesis) were estimated to go for $700, in the end they went for $5500…for two empty wine bottles!. Christies and CBS Paramount had made around $250,000 off just the first 50 lots (out of 1000) which was at least double what they were estimating.Other highlights from the first 50 lots (note auction started with TNG films) Enterprise E Captains Chair: $52,000 (est. $9k)Enterprise E Blueprints: $2,400 (est. $600)Picards Sextent: $5,500 (est. $300)Ent-E Dedication Plate: $7,000 (est. $600)Ent-E Engineering Table: $13,000 (est. $1200)Borg Alcove: $8,000 (est. $700)Borg Mannequin: $12,000 (est. $800) Watch the auction live at History.com Click ‘more’ to see end of day update
Next summer Paramount Pictures is bringing the Transformers franchise to the big screen in a live action movie. The film is directed by Michael Bay and written by Trek XI scriptwriters Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman. Weeks ago we covered their streaming video Q&A session where they mentioned an upcoming fan contest. This week marks the start of the contest where they are letting fans submit lines for their script. 10 entries for a line of dialog will be recorded by star Peter Cullen (the voice of Optimus Prime) with the winning entry ending up in the final film. Paramont along with Orci and Kurtzman are to be applauded for their fan outreach on Transformers. With Orci and Kurtzman also having exec-producer credit for Star Trek XI we can only hope that this kind of feedback and involvement will be in store for Trek fans as well. The Transforms film is just finishing up principal filming and will be released on July 4th. The official website promises to provide many goodies like pictures, video, blogs, etc but so far it all says ‘coming soon’ Go to the Offical Transformers Site to Enter in the Contest
StarTrek.com has posted a very belated con report from the Creation Vegas convention from 5 weeks ago (see our story here). This one covers many different people but has some more detailed comments on Trek XI from Michael Dorn, Rod Roddenberry and Paula Block…here they are… Rod Roddenberry Thinks Abrams ‘gets it” I am very open to J.J. Abrams doing this next movie. I like thefact that it’s someone new. I also like the fact that he’s an actualfan of the show … I’d be concerned that it might be, y’know, another version of ‘Star Wars’ but now called ‘Star Trek’ … [But] I think he’s one of us. He gets it, he has the passion, and I think he’s gonna do a great job. I just want to make sure he’s strong enough to stand upto the executives that say, ‘We need bigger breasts.’ That comes afterwards — let’s get the story first.
A week ago HDNet began showing Star Trek: Enterprise in HD. This makes it the sole source for any Star Trek TV in HD, as the new Trek Remastered is not being broadcast in HD (story). Since they currently have a monopoly on Trek in HD, TrekMovie.com contacted HDNet to see what is next and owner Mark Cuban himself answered our questions about the future of Trek on HDNet. Cuban tells TrekMovie.com that HDNet has spoken to CBS Paramount about the new Star Trek Remastered in HD but they are not interested in the show presently. Cuban did say he was open to HD version of other Trek series (like TNG) in HD if they become available, telling TrekMovie.com "It depends on the response to this series. If we find a lot of people are subscribing to HDNet to see Enterprise, we will of course look for more." But for the 10 Trek feature films in HD, Cuban is ready to go, telling TrekMovie "we are in discussions about them." Cuban and HDNet did not give any further details on when we might see the feature films in HD and our sources within Paramount and CBS are still trying to figure out where in the vast former Viacom empire deals with HDNet are struck.
After Tom Cruise was booted off the lot by Sumner Redstone last month it seemed the Mission Impossible franchise was no longer on Paramount’s front burner. MI:III director JJ Abrams was signed this summer to a long term deal with Paramount, but his first film was to be Star Trek XI. Then there were a few rumblings from the Paramount and Cruise/Warner camps that maybe a Cruise MI4 was possible. Now the new hot rumor burning up Hollywood is that Paramount want the series to continue, but now with Brad Pitt. The original report in This Is London states that Pitt would play a new character and Cruise’s Ethan Hunt will be ‘retired’. The report throws around some gigantic numbers related to the project, that would make Pitt the highest paid star in history. Paramont has recently signed a deal with Pitt’s production company Plan B, and he is certainly a bankable name. If the report is true (something others have not been able to confirm) and Paramount want to keep the MI:III cash register ringing, the obvious question for us is: what about Abrams?
It seems that there may be a rocky road ahead for Brad Grey, the man who brought JJ Abrams into the Paramount family and agreed to hand him the keys to Star Trek. If you haven’t heard already, Viacom Chairman and part-time Cryptkeeper Sumner Redstone fired Grey’s boss, Viacom CEO Tom Freston yesterday. It was Freston who had brought Grey on board a year ago and the word on Wall Street is that the axe may continue to fall…possibly into Grey’s neck. This has not been a good year for Paramount Pictures and Viacom stock has been falling (it fell 5% yesterday alone). It appears the split up of Viacom hasn’t worked out the way Redstone had planned, and he is pinning the blame on Freston. And it appears he isn’t too happy with Grey, recently Redstone cut Grey’s negotiations with Tom Cruise off and kicked Cruise and producing partner Paula Wagner off the lot. Cruise and Waner were the ones who brought Abrams to Grey’s attention after hiring him for MI3. The question for TrekMovie.com is, what is the shake-up at Viacom and Paramount do to the Star Trek XI project. Sources inside Paramount tell us that technically the project is not officially ‘greenlit’ and does not yet have a budget. This is not unusual because the script is still being worked on, but so far work just falls under Abrams overall 5 year deal and not part of a full-blown Trek XI development project. The project is still at a stage where it wouldn’t cost the studio a lot to put it on hold or kill it outright.
Four days ago we reported Leonard Nimoy had told the Toronto Star ” I do, by contract, have the right to approve the casting” (for a recasted Spock). Well this bombshell ran around the internet and raised 4 key questions: Is this true? Does it apply to Shatner too? Is this an old contract? What power does he (do they) really have? Yes/Yes/No/Some According to a Paramount source it is indeed true: “I can tell you what Nimoy said is accurate, and it applies to Shatner too”. The source also confirmed that no other Trek actor (including ones no longer alive) has the same deal, just Nimoy and Shatner. For the third question, a reasonable assumption would be that these must be old contracts from their heyday in the 80s or maybe during the run-up to Star Trek VI (the last time Paramount considered recasting Kirk and Spock). As it turns out, according to the source, the contracts are brand spanking new and related specifically to Star Trek XI. Which begs the obvious question…why on earth would Paramount and JJ Abrams go out of their way to hand over casting veto power to William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy?