Star Trek will live longer, and undoubtedly prosper, now that the U.S.S. Enterprise is out of mothballs.
The franchise reboot engineered not by Scotty but by Lost 's J.J. Abrams has grossed more than $80 million domestically since opening last Thursday, and it snagged the largest debut haul of any Trek feature.
Jeremy Devine, vice president of marketing at Rave Motion Pictures, says the new Trek clicked with audiences because Abrams and Paramount “understood that a fresh but still reverent take was an absolute necessity.”
“They let a gifted filmmaker with a clear love of the source material have a lot of creative leeway and it paid off handsomely in an artistic and quality way,” Devine adds.
The source material didn’t hurt, either.
“You had a great franchise from which to draw from,” says Dale Hurst, director of marketing for Carmike Cinemas.
The new Trek follows in the rebooted footsteps of the Bond and Batman franchises, two rickety vehicles handed over to younger, more vibrant casts.
Director Christopher Nolan shook off the hard feelings left by 1997’s Batman & Robin in creating 2005‘s Batman Begins. The latter earned an impressive $205.3 million domestically - $230 million adjusted.
And the Bond franchise, which looked as tired as a tuxedo run over by a steamroller, seemed revitalized when Daniel Craig took over the role in 2006‘s Casino Royale. Craig’s first Bond film earned a solid $167 million domestically - $183 million adjusted.
Since Hollywood can’t resist copying a success story, it’s likely we’ll be seeing more reboots in the years to come. Could that mean a fresh take on Die Hard featuring a young John McClane? Lethal Weapon ? Smokey and the Bandit ?
“I don’t know if Smokey and Bandit would appeal to a younger audience,” says Hurst. After all, moviegoers today want their car movies fast and furious, not full of convoys and slow seductions.
The key is to come up with new twists on the same material, says Hurst. Audiences will smell a crass franchise reboot.
“Our audiences are more educated ... They’re not as easily impressed,” adds Hurst.
The latest Trek treated its patrons with respect and the result was love letters disguised as film reviews and an audience made up of more than Trekkies. The few hardcore fans who groused about some inconsistencies with the Trek canon were quickly drowned out.
“This should be a guide to other studios as they attempt to revitalize other franchises,” Devine says.
Any franchise hoping for a similar reboot “needs to have a rich human component to explore, not just a tradition of grossing,” adds Devine.