Star Trek Beyond hit theaters with high hopes on July 22, and following a stellar opening weekend, ran into a brick wall with audiences.
While it's uncertain where the blame lies for that — there are theories that will be covered in a moment — the question remained as to whether it would be considered eligible for the dreaded four-letter F-word, "flop."
What does it take to be a flop? There are two schools of thought. Firstly, you don't make your money back. Secondly, you may or may not make your money back but you severely underperform.
From @geekdotcom: Star Trek Beyond was great, so why is no one seeing it? https://t.co/CxTkwndElv pic.twitter.com/KgAv2zhTBrStar Trek Beyond certainly falls into the latter camp, and there is some discussion that it may cover the former as well.
— ExtremeTech (@ExtremeTech) August 11, 2016
Looking at Star Trek Beyond's massive production budget of $185 million, the third film in the so-called Abramsverse version of Star Trek — this time with JJ Abrams handing off to director Justin Lin — had a high benchmark to reach from the outset.
The studio expected a domestic premiere of between $55 million and $60 million, which it got. But with that high of a production budget, Star Trek Beyond had to have legs to make money.
It did not.
In week two, the film dropped more than 60 percent. Now closing out its third week, Star Trek Beyond has barely covered production in combined domestic and international takes.
As of Thursday night, Box Office Mojo has it at $198.2 million. So, $13 million profit except …
The Ghostbusters reboot that premiered one weekend earlier than Star Trek Beyond had a production budget of $144 million, but the studio is estimating that it will lose $70 million by the end of its theatrical run.
The final tally estimate from the studio is $225 million, but business has grown sluggish with the film currently stuck at $181.6 million. Break-even, according to the Hollywood Reporter, is $300 million, so it's possible the film could end up losing as much as $100 million.
Extrapolate that to Star Trek Beyond.
If the break-even is the same — unlikely since Star Trek Beyond got as big of a marketing push as Ghostbusters and cost $41 million more to make — then it's possible the film would need $340 million to cover costs, putting it at a $142 million deficit as of Aug. 11.
The bad news for Paramount, CBS, and, possibly, Trek fans — Star Trek Beyond pulled just $10 million last weekend. Furthermore, it dropped 58.2 percent in weekend two and 59.5 percent in weekend three. A similar drop would see this weekend's tally at around $4 million, effectively placing the film at the end of its run.
In fact, Star Trek Beyond could be fortunate to hit $230 million worldwide by the time it's pulled, thus setting up a potential $110 million loss.
Translation: Star Trek is no longer a sure bet.
That's bad news for the already-announced fourth film and the Star Trek: Discovery series that has only a 10-episode commitment and a showrunner in Bryan Fuller, who has struggled to keep his efforts on the air (Pushing Daisies, Mockingbird Lane, Hannibal, Dead Like Me).
That leaves one question: what happened to the franchise?
Some will blame Star Trek Into Darkness, which left fans largely disappointed in spite of making a profit. Others will blame the statistical fact that fewer people are going to the movies in lieu of rising ticket costs. Still others have laid blame on political correctness and the decision to alter Sulu's sexuality.
Star Trek sequel's #gay Sulu prompts controversy https://t.co/SRULoG5uEW pic.twitter.com/NevaDdVEBFBut what do you think, readers?
— SouthFloridaGayNews (@soflagaynews) July 29, 2016
Is Star Trek Beyond a flop, and does it bode poorly for the future of the franchise? Sound off in the comments section below.
[Image via Paramount]