In 1979, the Starship Enterprise voyaged to a new frontier– the big screen. After ‘Star Trek’ went off the air, it remained popular in syndication. Following the successes of ‘Star Wars: A New Hope’ and ‘Close Encounters of the Third Kind’, Paramount decided to reboot ‘Trek’ for the big screen. Academy Award-winning director Robert Wise (‘The Sound of Music’, ‘West Side Story’) was hired to helm the project, and the entire TV cast returned, including secondary actors Majel Barrett as Christine Chapel, and Grace Lee Whitney as Janice Rand. They were joined by Stephen Collins as Willard Decker, the Enterprise’s new Captain, and Persis Khambatta as the ship’s navigator, Ilia.
If you want to experience this film on the big screen– again or for the first time– Fathom Events is bringing ‘Star Trek: The Motion Picture’ back to theaters in honor of its 40th anniversary. The film will be screened on September 15 and 18, presented in its original widescreen format and accompanied by the documentary “The Longest Trek: Writing the Motion Picture.”
‘Star Trek: The Motion Picture’ kicked off an astounding string of ten films in the ‘Star Trek’ series, with the original cast starring in the first six, before the cast of ‘The Next Generation’ took over for the last four. And of course, Paramount rebooted the franchise in 2009 with new actors.
‘Star Trek: The Motion Picture’ set a record for biggest opening weekend ever, with $11.8M It went on to gross $139M worldwide. After adjustments for inflation, it actually stands as the highest-grossing ‘Star Trek’ movie ever, beating even the 2009+ movies. But at the time, it was considered a major box office failure.
‘Star Trek: The Motion Picture’ was plagued with issues behind-the-scenes, as it was originally envisioned as a new TV series which then had to be expanded into a film, and reportedly the script was constantly being rewritten throughout production by Gene Roddenberry. The budget was supposed to be $15 million, but because Paramount was determined to get the movie out by its Dec. 7, 1979 date, the budget ballooned to $46M– the most ever spent on a film at that time– with special effects being completed just days before the premiere.
Most fans consider ‘Star Trek: The Motion Picture’ to be extremely boring, and perhaps compared to the more action-driven ‘Wrath of Khan’ it is. But as Entertainment Weekly‘s Darren Franich stated in a 2016 revisit stated:
“There are some moments in Star Trek: The Motion Picture that are so beautiful — serene, cosmic, passionately alive with the possibility of The Infinite. You want to cry, you don’t know why… “
So if you want to experience the first ‘Star Trek’ theatrical entry as it was originally presented, you can check locations and buy tickets at FathomEvents.com.