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Old 09-16-2011, 02:18 PM
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horatio horatio is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by samwiseb View Post
I'm sorry, but... seriously? I'm afraid I just don't follow on this one.

Star Trek has been a cash cow ever since Paramount pulled the plug on their aborted TV series and decided to make a movie instead.

Then they green-lit a second feature film, on a TV budget, and even tried to strong-arm the director they hired into not bringing in a music composer they didn't want to pay for (Nick has gone on record griping about this). They readjusted their expectations following TMP's figures, and decided to make every last bit of money off the ST banner, quality be damned. Then when there was 'talk' about 'possibly' making a third movie, the producers suddenly got cold feet about killing off a major character.

Then they allowed an unqualified writer/director to manage the fifth film because they were still high off their success with the fourth. When they saw they were in trouble, they lowered their budget accordingly. What the hey, as long as they were still making money. Then they got cold feet about making a sixth film, and by all accounts might never have gotten around to it had it not been a ST anniversary year. There was still 'some' money that had not yet been sucked out of the cash cow. We can't have that.

Next you have the TNG spin-offs: three consecutive series worth, no less. One spin-off I could understand, because TNG actually had the ratings to justify it. Could DS9 say the same? Sure, I realize "we all like DS9", but... That show started steadily declining immediately after the pilot. I vividly remember press interviews going into VOY's premier: with questions like "You don't think there's a danger of oversaturation?" being answered with Berman's usual PR speak "Well, of course we're very much aware of the dangers of making 'too many trips to the well', but I can assure you the matter has been given all due consideration." Translation: the studio was milking their cash cow yet again, and the producers having to put their positive spin on the situation knew it all too well. But at least they had job security (something most people don't get in Hollywood).

I guess we're just not on the same bus, if by 'cash cow' you mean that this is the first time since TMP that ST has tried to play in the big leagues (even though Kevin's analysis of ST on the TV front demonstrates this is also not the case). But from where I stand, it took some serious balls to gamble that the franchise could achieve this on the feature film front. Certainly no less so than gambling that a high-budget production value TV series could thrive in the then-untested first-run syndicated market. I don't see anything risk-averse about ST09's development, because (since you bring up budgets and target audiences) there was nothing in the numbers for movies I-X to indicate that ST could sustain itself as an A-level film franchise. Though I suppose if you wanted to put a cynical spin on that you could say "Yeah, well, there was nothing risky about such a move because ST really 'sort of' had nothing to lose by that point. So... meh."

If the next film is content to simply do 'only what worked the last time' (as certain other semi-recent films/series in the ST franchise were guilty of doing) then I will say ST has again fallen back into "milking the cash cow dry" mode. Anyway, it's now nearly three hours since I came off my graveyard shift, so... goodnight y'all.
As I wrote, for a company a cash cow is "a product in your portfolio with a large budget, large revenues and small risk used to finance smaller, more risky products."
You pointed out budgets reductions during the the first Trek movies so no cash cow.
You pointed out the continuous rating problems of all three shows after TNG so no cash cows. I totally agree that they did milk every last drop out of Trek in the nineties but that's not what a cash cow is.

About the risk, the previous concept for an eleventh movie, a war trilogy based on a cancelled series, was risky. Returning to the roots and the most popular characters was the safest way to go. But that's not what I have a problem with.
You wrote about the bad trend of the last movies and that this implies that Trek is a risky franchise ... but, guess what, they did not make just another Trek movie, they made a high-budget movie designed to reach a very wide audience. The creative implications of this choice is what I have an issue with. Of course I don't want Trek to be a niche product which it has never been, but I neither want it to lose its soul and essence (I am well aware that this is a subjective issue and that you consider ST09 to be a great Trek movie while for me many things about ST09 just taste like arbitrary blockbuster and not like Trek ingredients) while it tries to pander to the masses. Don't spread the butter to thin.
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