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?
You heard it here first CBS Paramount are now confirming that Star Trek: The Original Series is coming to a HDTV near you, a story first broke by the Trek Movie Report earlier this week. TV Guide has the details, but they are pretty much what has been reported here: TOS remastered for HDTV Syndication No DVDs New CGI effects for space shots and static paintings Static paintings will add some new animation and details Will ‘honor original’, but fixes some ‘goofs’ Original title music re-recorded Starts Sept 16th First episode “Balance of Terror” One episode per week (out of order) over next two years
Star Trek XI honcho JJ Abrams got the notice of Paramount after his deft work on Mission Impossible III. Although it made $400M a sequel seemed highly unlikely after Viacom chairman Sumner Redstone very publicly booted Tom Cruise off the Paramount lot last week. However, in an interview with Newsweek, Paramount chief Brad Grey offers an olive branch. “I still admire Tom Cruise, he is a huge movie star and a great actor and I’m sure we’ll work together in the future,” said Grey. Even stranger, the Cruise camp seems open to working with Paramount and even an ‘MI4’. Cruise’s producing partner Paula Wagner tells Newsweek “If it’s the right script why not?…we created that franchise”. If this ever happens one could assume that all parties would want Abrams back in the big chair, Cruise himself delayed MI3 for over a year to wait until Abrams was ready for his big debut. Let’s just hope that any MI4 project does not bump into Star Trek XI…that other little Paramount franchise Abrams is working on.
Leonard Nimoy spoke to the Ottawa Sun about his upcoming appearance at Fan Expo Canada and took the opportunity to expand on his recent comments about Trek XI. As someone who has been around the block with Trek, he sees a lot of similarities between today and the 70s before Star Trek: The Motion Picture, telling the Sun “there was this great demand and no product.” Nimoy now reveals that both he and William Shatner have been contacted by Paramount regarding Star Trek XI, and he speculated as to why they have been showing renewed interest in the original Kirk and Spock. The head of production at Paramount called my agency to tell them about this project and they are aware of Bill’s and my contribution to the franchise, and they’d like us to know they might want some involvement. It was all very, very general…They might possibly want Bill and I to set up the story as a flashback. But that’s just conjecture on my part.
One of the persistent rumors about Star Trek XI is that it centers on the life of Kirk and Spock at the Academy. The Academy story is not a new one, it was originally proposed by Harve Bennett as an idea for Star Trek VI; the studio eventually went with Nick Meyer’s Cold War themed ‘Undiscovered Country’. Last year the Academy notion came back when William Shatner revealed that he is working on a Starfleet Academy book series with his longtime writing partners Judith and Garfield Reeves-Stevens. He also revealed at the time that he had pitched the idea as a series to ‘top executives’ at Paramount. The Trek Movie Report has learned from a studio insider that the Shat went right to the top and pitched it to none other than Viacom Chairman Sumner ‘Get Tom Cruise Off My Property’ Redstone. Supposedly Shatner went in to Paramount after Star Trek Enterprise became ratings challenged in it’s second year. Shatner believed that Paramount/UPN would replace Enterprise with his Academy show, but they stuck with Enterprise for 2 more seasons before pulling the plug. There are currently no known plans for new Trek on TV. But Shatner still plans on getting his story out there in book form,
Last night it was revealed that Paramount Pictures has ended it’s long relationship with Tom Cruise and producer partner Paula Wagner. It has been reported that Paramount Chief Brad Grey and Cruise/Wagner were in negotiations for restructuring their deal (downwards), and most expected them to come to a deal. Now it appears that Viacom Chairman Sumner Redstone (pictured with Cruise: right) has stepped in and cut off all talks and sent Cruise packing. Paula Wagner isn’t going down without a fight and has fired back regarding how much cash Cruise has brought in to the Paramount family, stated they have been responsible for 15% of revenue since they were brought on board. She also cited bringing in JJ Abrams to the Paramount family. Abrams’ work with Cruise and Wagner on Mission Impossible 3 convinced Paramount they wanted him for the long term; recently signing him to a 5 year deal with Star Trek XI as his first film.
Although it has been expected, long time JJ Abrams collaborator Michael Giacchino has confirmed he will score Star Trek XI. He tells IGN Filmforce that work is a long time off and that he hasn’t even talked to Abrams about it yet. Giacchino does say he may be picking up on some classic Trek cues, but then going his own way I think that ultimately you might pick the theme that you think is the important one and utilize that in a certain way and then go completely somewhere else with it…That would be I guess in the same way as Mission: Impossible was fun like that to take that and go somewhere wholly different with the score that the other two dudes didn’t do. Not that it’s better or worse but just different.
CNBC’s ‘On the Money‘ show took a trip to the Vegas Con to see just how much money there was in Star Trek. Their conclusion…A LOT. They estimate that the franchise has been worth $4 Billion for Paramount. A recent unnamed source from Paramount has caused a bit of a stir with his not too favorable comments to IESB about the Trek Franchise, but CBS Paramount VP John Wentworth goes on the record with CNBC: Star Trek is certainly more than a show, more than a movie. It is more than an auction, it’s more than a theme park, collectively it is just the most successful franchise I’ve ever seen in entertainment
IESB‘s Robert Sanchez is reporting some inside info on how Paramount really view the Trek franchise and its future with JJ Abrams. The report starts off with a roundup of the latest Statements from William Shatner. If their sourcing is to be trusted Paramount is very up on Abrams, but not so much for Shatner. The unnamed ‘studio source’ is quoted as saying “Absolutely not” to there being a chance of the Shat showing up in Star Trek XI. IESB’s source went on to say quite a bit about the state of the Trek franchise and how Abrams’ Star Trek XI can bring Trek back: This is not just another Trek movie but instead a total reboot, we will see things that are similar to what is known in the Trek Universe but we will not be held to every aspect of the last 40 years. We are going to introduce Star Trek to a whole new generation and many more generations to come. We have total faith that J.J. and company will take Trek to a whole new level. Trek has been going downhill for the last 10 years and if we expect it to be around 20 years from now we will have to take some bold steps that might be controversial at first but we are sure to bring new fans to the dying franchise
Variety first announced Star Trek XI with this sentence “J.J. Abrams is becoming the next Gene Roddenberry.”, referring to the late creator of Star Trek and Star Trek: The Next Generation as well as producer and co-writer of the first Trek feature film Star Trek: The Motion Picture. In the recently reported debate, Free Enterprise producers (and big time Trekkies) Rob Burnett and Mark Altman agreed on one thing: Paramount did the right thing by bringing in a new team headed by JJ Abrams. Burnett went on to say that Abrams and his team “bring Star Trek creative blood not seen since Nicholas Meyer“. Meyer is the writer and/or director of the Trek classics Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home and Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country. So which is he…the new Roddenberry or the new Meyer?
Paramount has chosen Star Trek XI producer JJ Abrams’ debut film to make a bit of Hollywood history. According to the industry trades, Mission Impossible III (which Abrams directed and co-wrote) is to be the first film to be simultaneously released on both HD-DVD and Blu-ray as well as regular DVD. Paramount Home Entertainment honcho Meagan Burrows has high praise for Abrams’ film: ” ‘M:I-3’ set a new standard for action films and is setting a new standard for the home entertainment experience.”
Some Star Trek XI numbers 2…ranking of ‘TOS’ for preferred setting of STXI on new SciFi Wire poll (#1 ‘something new’) 2…ranking of ‘Matt Damon’ for the preferred new Kirk in a StarTrek.com poll (#1 ‘total unknown’) 5 (out of 5)… STXI’s level on Cinemablend ‘excite-o-meter’. 7…ranking of STXI on Cinescape top 10 movies in development Did someone mention Matt Damon? According to Moviehole, he has pulled out playing the title role in the Lance Armstrong biopic, to be replaced by Jake Gyllenhall. The reason given is ‘his busy schedule’. Matt will be filming Ocean’s Thirteen and The Bourne Ultimatum through the winter. Leaving his spring wide open…JJ Will Paramount bring back the Star Trek spoof Galaxy Quest at the same time its bringing back Trek itself? Tim Allen tells the SciFi Wire that a sequel idea has been presented to Dreamworks (now part of Paramount). Never give up, never surrender Tim.
Trek XI Report’s campaign for IMDB accuracy pays off As reported here yesterday, the Matt Damon rumor went into overdrive after IMDB seemingly confirmed Damon would be the new Kirk. The internet feeding frenzy surrounding this got picked up by the Wall Street Journal who contacted IMDB, JJ Abrams and others involved in the story (including yours truly at the Trek Movie Report). The Amazon spokesman (IMDB’s parent company) claimed they usually get their info from studios, but when pressed he admitted that for Trek XI they were using ‘published reports’ (aka ‘rumors’). IMDB couldn’t even identify what reports they used for their Star Trek XI page, and the studio refused to confrim the cast and plot IMDB published (as Stephen Colbert would say: “Nailed!”). As a result, IMDB have downgraded Damon to ‘rumor’, removed the reference to ‘Captain’ Kirk, and removed the rumored Starfleet Academy plot summary…exactly as suggested by the TMR. Unfortunately the other errors we noted (compser, SFX, etc) haven’t been fixed…so IMDB you are still ON NOTICE.
[Trek XI Report Exclusive] Since their first announcement over 3 months ago, StarTrek.com hasnt had much content for Trek XI. Well that is all starting to change according to CBS Digital’s Sandy Stone (Content Producer for Star Trek.com), telling the Trek XI Report that StarTrek.com has been deemed the official site for Star Trek XI. The first evidence of this was last week when the first Star Trek XI teaser poster was announced on the site, as well as being made available for download. ‘StarTrek.com’ features prominently on the poster and will also adorn all future promotional materials, trailers, etc. This is all part of a new coordinated effort between CBS and Paramount Pictures (now separate companies after the split up of Viacom) . In addition the Trek XI section on ST.com has already been expanded to include some news and interview reprints, bios & photos of the creative team as well as some downloads. .. “and this is only the beginning” says Stone promising much more in terms of exclusive content.
In a live chat with fans on her official site, Marina Sirtis (TNG: Troi) didnt seem too happy with the direction Paramount is taking for Star Trek XI. "I agree with you all about the prequel, Gene Roddenberry always said that Star trek should go forward" she replied to the sentiments that the next Trek film should be set after Star Trek Nemesis, despite its disappointing box office. Her fans seem to want the new Trek film to focus on the Rikers abourd the Starship Titan. Star Trek Nemesis established that Sirtis’ Troi and Jonathan Frakes’ Riker were married and went off to have their own adventures. The Titan has become the basis for a series of popular Star Trek books.
In the immortal words of Yogurt from Spaceballs (pictured right holding Spaceballs-the Flame Thrower…kids love it) “Merchandising, merchandising, where the real money from the movie is made.” To that end Paula Block from CBS Paramount consumer products announced at a Comic-Con that CBS Paramount will be handling the licensing for Star Trek XI. CBS Para has been on a bit of a roll lately for Trek liscensing, bringing Star Trek back into the world of gaming after a 3 year drought, along with a new magazine and even a Manga comic book. Block summed it up thusly: “Contrary to some people’s opinions, Star Trek isn’t dead”
Star Trek XI isnt the only big comeback for the Trek franchise in 2006. This year also marked the return of Trek to the gaming community with the announcement of a deal with BethesdaSoft last January. Star Trek had been out of the gaming world since Activision sued Paramount to get out of its licensing deal back in 2003.
During a panel about various Trek issues, Mike Okuda (long time Trek graphic artist) told the audience that the set built for the Enterprise episode ‘In a Mirror Darkly’ is one of the many lots being auctioned off by Christie’s this fall. The original series sets were of course destroyed decades ago, so Paramount spent a considerable amount of money recreating the TOS era bridge set required for that popular episode. Since then it has been in storage, but as Mr Okuda stated “storage is expensive”. I spoke to the people at the Christies Star Trek Auction booth and they confirmed that the entire set is being sold as a single lot and they expect $25,000+ for it.
3 months to the day after the first leak hit Variety Paramount released the first teaser poster for their 11th Star Trek film at ComicCon. Even after all the confirmations and discussions about Trek XI from Abrams and even Paramount themselves (especially in the last week), there is something about a visual image that makes it seem even realer.
News of the JJ Abrams deal with Paramount and Warner TV hit the wires and the trades on Monday (2 days after your humble blogger brought you the news). For the most part the reports focus on how amazingly rich and powerful Mr. Abrams is about to become, but our favorite topic (Trek XI) is mentioned in almost every report…most like this tidbit in The Hollywood Reporter Abrams already is attached to direct and produce a revival of the "Star Trek" film franchise for Paramount, which is his first project under the new feature deal. but Variety (who were first with Trek XI news in April) has a bit more info on how Paramount views the Trek franchise and Abrams place in it:
Was Trek the clincher? It has been reported that Paramount’s Brad Grey has been actively pursuing Lost co-creator and MI3 Writer/Director JJ Abrams to sign on with Paramount after his deal with Disney ended this summer. Although Abrams had many suitors (Sony, Disney, Warner, etc) Grey had something the other studios didnt…Star Trek. Grey went so far as sheving another scifi project (Jon Favreau’s John Carter of Mars ) in the pipeline for 2008 to make room for a new Trek feature. Getting hold of this venerable (but now dormant) scifi franchise was a fanboy dream and something it appears that Abrams and his band of brothergeeks couldn’t resist. On Saturday the LA Times is reported (reg required) that Paramount had finally got their man for Trek XI and beyond.