Despite starring in and co-writing the last Star Trek film, Simon Pegg fully admits that they’ll never come close to being as popular as the Marvel movies.
Star Trek came to theaters in 2009 with a new cast and new perspective and became the most successful entry in the franchise’s history. A domestic haul of nearly $257 million is impressive. But a closer look at the numbers reveal that the reboot made just $127 million internationally. Still, it was enough to warrant a sequel and four years later came Star Trek Into Darkness, which currently stands as the highest-grossing Trek movie at $467 million worldwide. But those numbers still pale in comparison to Marvel. For context, Thor: The Dark World, considered one of the worst Marvel pics ever, made $644 million globally.
Pegg is well aware of this fact, too, which is why a Star Trek 4 has yet to come to fruition. According to him, the series has a specific fan base that just doesn’t travel as well as superhero films.
“The fact is, the appeal of Star Trek is slightly more niche than the appeal of, say, the Marvel movies, which make huge amounts of money, and have this really, really broad appeal and they do very well. I think Star Trek is just a little bit more niche, so it isn’t gonna hit those kind of numbers. So yes, the obvious thing to do would be to not go for that massive spectacle, go for something a little bit more restrained in the vein of the original series. Yes, that would be a brilliant thing to do, and I’m sure it probably has been discussed… You specialize a little bit more.”
Of course, Pegg and company did go for more restraint in Star Trek Beyond. The third entry in the reboot felt more like an extended episode of the show rather than a massive spectacle. Unfortunately, it also earned less than the first two movies, with $343 million.
If there’s a silver lining to all this, it’s that Paramount doesn’t exactly have a lot of franchises at the moment. They sold the cinematic rights to Iron Man and Captain America back to Marvel (oops!) and Transformers, which was their number one money-maker, has hit a downward trend. They are planning to reboot G.I. Joe though and want the Russo Brothers (ironically) to direct, and Noah Hawley is still developing a new Star Trek movie. So, all hope isn’t lost just yet.