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Star Trek’s Final Frontier: Foreign Box Office

Paramount studying Warner Bros., Marvel moves


Probably the most successful foreign box office results of any Star Trek film came from 1987’s “Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home.”

Sure, it was — until 2009 — the highest-grossing Star Trek film of all time. But what made foreign audiences like that Star Trek film over any other? It might be because it didn’t have the words “Star Trek” in the title outside of the United States.

Well, Paramount is not removing “Star Trek” from “Star Trek: Into Darkness,” but the studio is hoping that it can make Kirk, Spock and Uhura big-time characters in lands far away, and follow in the footsteps of other franchises that until recently struggled overseas, like Batman and Iron Man.

Sadly, however, the best way to attract foreign audiences, it seems, hasn’t changed much since 1987. And that strategy is to make sure those moviegoers forget that it’s Star Trek.

“In many places, we did extensive research to find out what we should showcase” in advertising, Anthony Marcoly, president of international distribution for Paramount, told The Hollywood Reporter. “Overseas, we’ve tried to get away from the Trekkiness of it all.”

And that would explain why many of the foreign trailers for the film are much different from those being shown in the United States. Some of those trailers focus on the ages-old good guy vs. bad guy, while others are making it clear that a huge chunk of the film takes place on Earth, not on board the Enterprise in space.

Paramount is even going as far as letting places like Germany and Britain have “Into Darkness” in theaters before the rest of the world, including the United States. It might be just a week, but then again, it’s a week!

“Into Darkness” needs the huge box office take. Film success is not just judged by North American box office anymore, but also how well it does overseas. Films like “The Dark Knight” actually pulled in more overseas than it did domestically, meaning that in order to become a world champion, you really do have to conquer the entire world.

Star Trek, however, has not done so well overseas. Even the 2009 outing from director J.J. Abrams grossed just $128 million overseas compared to its $258 million haul. And Paramount is expecting double that this time around.

Paramount has spent far more in international marketing for “Into Darkness” than it has for any previous Trek film, and the studio is expecting big returns. Whether it will work or not — we’ll all soon find out.

“Star Trek: Into Darkness” opens May 17.

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