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Chris Pine's Star Trek Failed Where Marvel Thrived - But He Knows How To Fix It

When it comes to the success of the big screen reboot of the original "Star Trek" TV series that began in 2009 under the auspices of director J.J. Abrams, at least one of the ensemble film's cast members feels like the "Star Trek" franchise shouldn't be shooting for the stars in terms of box office numbers.

In an April 2022 interview with Deadline, Chris Pine reflected on his time in the "Star Trek" film trilogy, noting that if the movie franchise gets going again, there should be less of a focus on bringing in Marvel Studios-like blockbuster numbers. The franchise has clearly struggled to hit those heights, beginning with 2009's "Star Trek," which pulled in a mere $385 million at the global box office. The film series peaked with the $467 million international take for "Star Trek Into Darkness" before tumbling with "Star Trek Beyond," which had a $343 million global cume.

"We always tried to get the huge international market. It was always about making the billion dollars," Pine recalled. "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."

Pine believes future Star Trek films should focus more on the core fan base

Without question, the intergalactic voyages of "Star Trek," which have seen multiple television series and films since the classic show's debut on NBC in 1966, have made it one of the most successful entertainment franchises in Hollywood history. As such, Pine feels like the latest film iteration of the original story should specifically cater to those fans who helped make it a cultural phenomenon in the first place. "I've always thought that 'Star Trek' should operate in the zone that is smaller. You know, it's not a Marvel appeal," Pine told Deadline. "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."

Part of the solution, Pine suggests, is that future "Star Trek" films be made for a lot less money, which would ease the pressure for the films to bring in a mega-box office take. 2009's "Star Trek" had a production budget of $150 million, while the budget for "Star Trek Into Darkness" increased to $190 million. The budget for "Star Trek Beyond" came in slightly lower, at $185 million.

"Make it for a price and make it, so that if it makes a half-billion dollars, that's really good ... So, I mean, if I had my business suit on, that's what I would do, but I don't know where that is," Pine told Deadline. "That's all above my pay grade."

Pine sounds game to reprise his role as Kirk

Despite his pointed observations about how the latest "Star Trek" film franchise doesn't always have to be gunning for billion-dollar box office numbers, Chris Pine had nothing but positive things to say about his time playing Captain James T. Kirk in the film series. On top of that, he cherishes the time he's spent with the cast of the three films, which includes Zachary Quinto as Spock, Zoe Saldana as Uhura, Karl Urban as McCoy, Simon Pegg as Scotty, and John Chu as Sulu. Anton Yelchin, who played Chekov, died tragically in 2016, but had completed filming on "Star Trek Beyond."

"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," Pine told Deadline. "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."

Whether there will ever be a reunion of the living cast members of the "Star Trek" film series is yet to be seen, but when it does, Pine appears to be interested in returning the Starship Enterprise's captain's chair. In 2019, writer-director Quentin Tarantino said his script for "Star Trek" was done and that it was R-rated, but the project never materialized, and "Star Trek 4" has found itself stuck in development with no production or release date in sight.