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Chris Pine Opens Up About Star Trek 4 And Why The Franchise Has 'Struggled' Compared To Marvel

Chris Pine in Star Trek Beyond
(Image credit: Paramount Pictures)

The Star Trek 4 reports caught a number of people off guard, as even Chris Pine and the rest of the cast were surprised. This is even more shocking considering that the cast was said to be in talks to return. Shortly after the news broke, Pine claimed they were the last to know about the latest installment. Now that the dust has settled somewhat, the Dungeons and Dragons actor is really opening up about the fourth film as well as how the franchise has struggled compared to Marvel.

The All the Old Knives actor was interviewed by Deadline and gave his take on being part of the storied sci-fi franchise. Just as co-star Karl Urban did when he broke his silence, Chris Pine confirmed that he hadn't seen a script yet. However, he did mention that he'd met with Star Trek 4 director Matt Shakman and Paramount’s new executive regime, with the meetings seemingly having gone well. Pine would go on to profess his love for the franchise in which he's played Captain James T. Kirk for three movies:

Conceptually, I love it. I love Star Trek. Again, I love the messaging of it. I love the character. I love my friends with whom I get to play. It’s a great gig. I mean, it’s a gig I’ve had, working and not working, for 15-plus years. It cemented the career that I have now. I’m honored to be a part of it. It’s given me so much. I think there are plenty of stories to tell in it. You know, I think Star Trek for me, it’s an interesting one.

The Star Trek Beyond actor definitely doesn’t mind expressing his gratitude to the high-grossing film series. While the Kelvin universe has grossed close to $1 billion worldwide, the returns were viewed as somewhat meager compared to the profits of the Marvel Cinematic Universe's multiple billion-dollar films. The Kirk actor spoke on how those benchmarks loomed over his own franchise:

We always tried to get the huge international market. It was always about making the billion dollars. It was always this billion-dollar mark because Marvel was making a billion. Billion, billion, billion. We struggled with it because Star Trek, for whatever reason, its core audience is rabid. Like rabid, as you know. To get these people that are interested that maybe are Star Wars fans or think Star Trek is not cool or whatever, proven to be … we’ve definitely done a good job of it but not the billion-dollar kind of job that they want.

Chris Pine seems to understand the Star Trek brand is a bit more niche compared to Disney staples like Marvel and Star Wars. Competing in the MCU era can be a huge undertaking for any studio, to be honest. Still, the actor appears pleased with how the Trek movies turned out. He later opined about how the franchise should’ve been more concerned with the avid fanbase than billion-dollar returns:

I’ve always thought that Star Trek should operate in the zone that is smaller. You know, it’s not a Marvel appeal. It’s like, let’s make the movie for the people that love this group of people, that love this story, that love Star Trek. Let’s make it for them and then, if people want to come to the party, great. But make it for a price and make it, so that if it makes a half-billion dollars, that’s really good.

Appealing more to the multi-generational fanbase may have been the better route for the Kelvin timeline films. Sure, it doesn't hurt to try to bring in new viewers but, in doing so, one runs the risk of alienating the core audience. The Wonder Woman actor took his thoughts a step further by explaining what he would do with the ballooning costs of tentpole films:

But we operate in a system now which I don’t know how much longer we have of you have to spend 500 million dollars on a film to reach …even you have to pay all sorts of people back. So, to make a billion, it’s like you haven’t even — a billion is the gross. You haven’t brought your net in. So, I mean, if I had my business suit on, that’s what I would do, but I don’t know where that is. That’s all above my pay grade.

The actor-producer has clearly put a lot of thought into how one could best market and finance such films. Of course, when it comes to the Trek franchise he's not making those decisions. Hopefully, Paramount will take care while developing this latest film and not get too caught up in the Marvel numbers. 

It's unknown when the movie could start shooting, but Star Trek 4 is set to arrive in theaters on December 22, 2023, seven years after the release of Star Trek Beyond (which the new movie could learn from). In the meantime, you can stream the first three films with an Amazon Prime subscription.

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