Although J.J. Abrams’ rebooted Star Trek movies have proved popular, the franchise’s future is currently in doubt following the disappointing box office performance of Star Trek Beyond in 2016. The film received positive reviews overall, but only managed to gross $158.8 million domestically against a $185 million production budget (though it performed much better overseas). So where did Beyond go wrong? According to Simon Pegg, who starred in and co-wrote the film, it all had to do with how Star Trek Beyond was marketed.
“I think it was poorly marketed, to be honest,” Pegg said. “If you look at a film like Suicide Squad, that was around for such a long time before it finally came out and people were so aware of it. Whereas with Star Trek Beyond, it was left too late before they started their marketing push. It still did great business, but it was disappointing compared to Into Darkness.
“From a professional standpoint for me, it was such a great experience in the end, because the critical response that we did get was exactly what [co-writer] Doug Jung and I and [director] Justin Lin had hoped for, which was a much more favorable response in terms of being Star Trek and not just something there that’s disguised as Star Trek.”
In particular, Pegg takes issue with the film’s first trailer, which was set to the Beastie Boys song “Sabotage,” claiming that it ruined one of the film’s best moments.
“I was really angry about that,” he says, “because it used ‘Sabotage,’ which was our surprise moment in the end. It was supposed to be a very fun and heightened twist, and something that was a big surprise and they blew it in the first trailer, which really annoyed me. They also made the film look like a boneheaded action film. And they were scared, I think, of mentioning the 50th Anniversary. It was fumbled as a thing; they didn’t know what to do with it and it’s a real shame. But I came away from it really, really happy and very proud of it.”
It’s unclear what the future of Star Trek at the multiplex may hold, with Quentin Tarantino having pitched an idea for an all new movie (though Pegg has stated that there is a separate Star Trek 4 script). Let’s hope both films see the light of day!