Star Trek 4 may boldly go into the history books as an unmade film. Hollywood lore presents tales of nearly produced motion pictures that found the plug pulled for one reason or another. With Star Trek 4, a breakdown in contract negotiations with two top stars places the sequel in doubt. Actor Karl Urban, Dr. McCoy in the reboot, thinks everything will work out fine in the end. Urban could be overly optimistic in his assumptions. Or, perhaps, he is stating more than just wishful thinking. Star Chris “James T. Kirk” Pine and co-star Chris “George Kirk” Hemsworth could not come to a contract agreement with Paramount Pictures and Skydance Media. Both Pine and Hemsworth opted to exit further negotiations. In essence, they quit due to displeasure with the deals the studio and production company offered them.
Concerns existed about whether the new Star Trek film franchise would continue. The first film scored a hit at the box office. Ticket sales declined with the next two features. Neither feature, however, reached the level of failure. Beyond ticket sales, DVD, Blu-ray, merchandising, television rights, and more draw in millions of dollars. None of this means the franchise is indestructible. The loss of the lead actor could ruin the series. Perceptions of the franchise can’t avoid taking a big hit. When Captain Kirk walks away from the Enterprise, fans know things are bad. Loyalty to the franchise could diminish. Ticket sales drop as do other forms of ancillary revenue. And this occurs on top of the added costs of rewriting the screenplay and changing up the production schedule.
Paramount and Skydance Media have much to lose if the new franchise dies due to a contract negotiation collapse. The executives did not bend to the actors’ demands, but this could change in the future. Again, Star Trek makes money for the companies.