While speaking to investors at the UBS Global Technology, Media, and Telecommunications Conference, ViacomCBS CEO Bob Bakish said that two new Star Trek movies are officially in development. This news may come as a bit surprising to Star Trek fans, especially after the series’ history of diminishing returns at the box office. Earlier this year, it seemed as though Star Trek 4 was still far away from production and had some big hurdles to overcome.
In 2009, a full reboot of the original story was released under the direction of J.J. Abrams. 2009’s Star Trek movie went on to enjoy wide critical appeal and global box office success. Although the film’s two sequels, Star Trek Into Darkness and Star Trek Beyond, were admired in their own right, they simply didn’t cast as wide of a net at the box office. After the release of Beyond, CBS put the Star Trek films on the back burner, instead opting to focus on their upcoming TV show Star Trek: Discovery. For the last several years Star Trek has been unable to move forward with a cinematic production because of three reasons. The first is that CBS prioritized Star Trek TV projects over films, the second is due to complicated ownership rights between CBS and Viacom, and the third is because of contract stalemates between the studio and the films stars. However, many of these problems were solved when CBS and Viacom merged earlier this year, allowing Star Trek to have new productions with more money and less restrictions.
The CEO of the newly-merged ViacomCBS Bob Bakish had much to say to investors at the UBS Global Technology, Media, and Telecommunications Conference, first reported by The Hollywood Reporter. In talking about the potential for corporate synergy across studios, Bakish says:
“Through the combination of CBS’ and Viacom’s complementary assets, capabilities and talented teams, ViacomCBS will create and deliver premium content for its own platforms and for others, while providing innovative solutions for advertisers and distributors globally.”
One example of such premium content is Star Trek, now wholly owned by ViacomCBS. Bakish suggests that the merger will allow ViacomCBS to broaden their horizons, so to speak, and build brand synergy across markets. Instead of having two isolated Star Trek properties between TV and film, they can now coalesce. Importantly, The Hollywood Reporter also announced “Bakish said there are currently two new Star Trek films in development,” leaving many fans to wonder just exactly how new Star Trek movies could interact with currently-running Star Trek shows.
It’s only been three years since the release of Star Trek Beyond, but they have been a long three years. There has been constant speculation as to what the future of Star Trek on the big screen will look like, but now it seems to finally be clear: ViacomCBS is developing two new Star Trek movies and planning to synergize them with their television projects. How the company begins to do so is entirely unknown, but it could be said they aim to boldly go where few mega-merger studios have gone before.
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