It’s no longer a big surprise: Paramount has announced the theatrical release of another “Star Trek’ sequels removed from the calendar. This was to be expected after Matt Shakman, who was actually planned as director, was poached by Marvel, where he now also “Fantastic Four“ to stage. But that’s not the only reason why the whole thing is considered a very embarrassing affair for Paramount in Hollywood.
The fact that Shakman went to the competition does not simply have to do with the fact that Kevin Feige made him a better offer there, but also with that it is seriously up for debate whether “Star Trek 4” will ever come.
Because Paramount has speculated heavily. As part of a large presentation to investors, the studio left the for the new “Star TrekFilms Executive Producer JJ Abrams has announced that the sci-fi adventure will begin filming in late 2022 and will feature “our original cast.” The investors were – as probably intended – happy that the popular brand is finally going on. But there was a problem…
Then The stars, dubbed “our original cast” by Abrams, had no prior knowledge that such an announcement would be made, nor that they would have a fourth “Star Trek’ movie. Nobody had spoken to Chris Pine (Captain Kirk), Zachary Quinto (Spock), Zoe Saldana (Uhura) or Karl Urban (McCoy) and they have no contracts at all for another sequel. The result: To keep investors happy, Paramount has put itself in an incredibly bad negotiating position with its stars.
Because they knew after the announcement that they absolutely needed Paramount (after the studio had previously also several “Star Trek“-projects with other casts) as well as a certain amount of time pressure. And they wanted to be rewarded accordingly.
Because the actors* received relatively little money for the first films, but are now bigger names in Hollywood and can demand higher salaries and the remuneration increases from sequel to sequel anyway, Paramount suddenly found itself confronted with a personnel budget that was far in excess of its own planning.
Chris Pine’s circulating figures serve as an example: He allegedly received $600,000 for “Star Trek’, $1.5 million for ‘Star Trek Into Darkness” and then through renegotiations six instead of the originally targeted three million dollars for “Star Trek beyond”. At “Star Trek 4” there is said to have been an agreement for 13 million dollars.
Also annoying for Paramount: As part of the renegotiation of the salary for “Star Trek Beyond” the studio concluded with Pine (and probably also other co-stars) actually much cheaper options for a fourth part. But they were limited in time, so they had to be drawn by a certain deadline. The window expired because you weren’t sure for too long whether you really “Star Trek 4” continues.
While Pine reportedly reached an agreement, negotiations with some of his co-stars have been slow to progress, jeopardizing the schedule. This was probably one of the reasons Shakman left. The director saw the danger that he worked for almost two years on a film that ended up not being made because the stars weren’t on board.
With the cancellation of the launch date, Paramount has at least taken a little pressure off the boiler. It may be the end of “Star Trek 4 “is, but it is also possible that fans can now hope again.
Without the specific deadline and clinging to a project with the old cast, the Hollywood studio is in a better negotiating position. Now it’s time to explore other options and make it clear to the stars that they need to accommodate the studio if they want to reprise the role.
For fans, however, it definitely has the disadvantage that the cinema ebb at “Star Trek’ will continue beyond 2023. The franchise continues to thrive where it began: on the small screen. There are currently a whole handful of series here.