Now that "Star Trek: Into Darkness" is mostly out of theaters, questions are being asked if the latest film in the franchise lived up to its predecessor, and how will it be treated among other films in the franchise in the long run?
Of course the biggest question of all is why we explore it in the first place, and that's because fans want to know if there will be a "Star Trek 3" or not. Since Paramount Pictures has already answered that with a big-time yes, it might seem a bit academic to go into the discussion now. But curious fans want to know.
First some really good news: "Into Darkness" slipped past "Star Trek: The Motion Picture" as the highest-grossing Star Trek film of all time, when adjusted for inflation, in terms of world box office. That was a feat even the 2009 "Star Trek" could not achieve.
"Into Darkness," which cost $190 million to make, earned $225.4 million at the domestic box office. That fell short of the $257.7 million domestic take of the previous film, 2009's "Star Trek," despite adding premium ticket sales from 3-D screenings. That means fewer people checked out "Into Darkness" than the previous film, especially since these numbers do not reflect the slight inflation that occurred during the four-year span.
Yet "Into Darkness" excelled in another area that Paramount focused on this time around: international sales. The latest film practically matched its North American box office take with ticket sales of $223.5 million overseas. The 2009 film had just $128 million international -- a little more than half. That brings the total box office for "Into Darkness" to $448.9 million, up more than 16 percent from the $385.7 million earned worldwide from the first film.
This was exactly what Paramount wanted, considering Star Trek has never really been a big seller overseas as a film franchise. The foreign box office more than made up for any shortcomings domestically for "Into Darkness," and all but assured that Paramount is willing to try it again -- this time for the 50th anniversary of the franchise.
Paramount will also look at where it may have made mistakes for the "Into Darkness" release. Unlike the 2009 film, "Into Darkness" premiered during a very busy box office season. Other studios decided not to clear the way for "Into Darkness" and seemed quite content to go head-to-head with the film.
"Iron Man 3" had opened two weeks earlier, but was still commanding solid box office by the time "Into Darkness" premiered, grabbing $35.8 million of the overall $136.1 million available to the top five films that weekend. Also doing solid numbers in its second week was "The Great Gatsby," which had pulled in $23.9 million that same weekend. Combined, the top three films -- including "Into Darkness" -- earned $129.9 million.
That was a far different story when "Star Trek" premiered in 2009. There, the top five films grossed $126.7 million with the top three totaling $115.9 million. The competition back then was "X-Men Origins: Wolverine," which in its second week earned just $26.4 million, while the other top three film was "Ghosts of Girlfriends Past," which earned $10.3 million. The other two films in the top three stole about $36.7 million in 2009, while in 2013 it was closer to $60 million -- a big difference.
Despite that opening weekend stumble, "Into Darkness" did recover. While it was a little more than $30 million off the domestic take of the last film, projections after the first week had the gap much greater. And because of the competition "Into Darkness" had at theaters, there is some belief that DVD sales may more than top the $100 million or so Paramount made from the 2009 "Into Darkness."
But then again, we won't know that until Sept. 10.
Top Star Trek World Box Office - Adjusted For Inflation
|1.||Star Trek: Into Darkness (2013)||$448.9 million|
|2.||Star Trek: The Motion Picture (1979)||$447.1 million|
|3.||Star Trek (2009)||$419.8 million|
|4.||Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home (1986)||$283.4 million|
|5.||Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (1982)||$234.2 million|
|6.||Star Trek: First Contact (1996)||$223.2 million|
|7.||Star Trek III: The Search for Spock (1984)||$195.5 million|
|8.||Star Trek: Generations (1994)||$189.1 million|
|9.||Star Trek: Insurrection (1998)||$168.8 million|
|10.||Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country (1991)||$166.1 million|
|11.||Star Trek V: The Final Frontier (1989)||$132.2 million|
|12.||Star Trek: Nemesis (2002)||$87.4 million|
About the Author
Michael Hinman is the founder and editor-in-chief for 1701News, Airlock Alpha and the entire GenreNexus. He owns Nexus Media Group Inc., the parent corporation of the GenreNexus, and a co-founder of 1701News. He lives in Tampa, Fla.