Stay with me on this one as I'd like to respond to all of your points here:
Actually... I had no idea Abrams wanted to stop CBS from merchandising TOS/TNG/DS9/VOY/ENT.... how could he even think that was rational as that would mean CBS was giving up on its TV rights to Trek?
It was back before 2009 when Abrams was developing his revival of Star Trek with Paramount on the one side and CBS on the other.
Abrams felt that to revive Star Trek properly and successfully it should be in his image and that everything that had come before should be sidelined (from merch to the older TV series and movies being repeated on TV) in favour of creating a multi-platformed franchise out of the alternate Star Trek universe he was about to begin.
CBS declined the idea which is why in 2009 the new Star Trek movie was backed up by very little in the way of merchandise and tie ins (games etc...)
Or does Paramount only have movie rights and no merchandising rights...even for their own movies? that doesn't seem right?
As I understand things, Paramount hold the rights to the movies, distribution etc... But CBS are the intellectual property owners so merchandising for all aspects of Star Trek be it movies or TV is owned by CBS and handled by CBS Consumer Products.
There must be some kind of deal though between the two when it comes to merchandising for the new movies. This could be the reason why we don't see much in the way of merchandise for any of the new movies.
[quoteIf anything... the unholy divorce settlement between CBS and Paramount is to blame... If CBS can only generate revenue from TV Trek... then they are going to advance their interests.. and the same for Paramount.[/quote]
The biggest factor working against the JJ Abrams 2009 movie was the fact that the relationship between CBS and Paramount was bitter.
My understanding is that CBS had no interest in revisiting Star Trek back in 2009 so Paramount and CBS struck a deal ensuring that Paramount was able to make three Star Trek movies without CBS competing with a new Star Trek series of their own.
But lets be honest... if Paramount and Abrams had a good plan... or assuming it was a good plan executed to it.. they shouldn't need CBS at all!
Well yes they had to involve CBS in their plans as CBS own the franchise and the intellectual property so if Paramount and Abrams had a good plan CBS still had the final say in whether or not it could go ahead. This is why Abrams initial plan for Star Trek never materialised, CBS blocked it.
Seriously when Abrams releases his biography, the Star Trek part is going to be one hell of a read.
I think you've said it a number of times... summer blockbusters... especially blockbuster franchises are all about marketing and expectations... building excitement and so on. They did a fantastic job of it with the 2009 movie... and they were rewarded. I think they stumbled on the merchandising... and they def stumbled with the 2nd movie.
Regardless... of the quality of the efforts by Abrams... some fans felt betrayed... and so now your have two ideas of what Star Trek is... and depending on what CBS does with Discovery... we may get a 3rd take!
I think when Star Trek was brought back in 2009 it was after a very long period where there had been no Star Trek at all. It was the return of Kirk and Spock so of course the mainstream press and media were going to lap it up. Fortunately the movie was good! It brought back Star Trek in a way that the mainstream could get onboard.
As for the fans? Well I don't think for one moment that Paramount thought that there were enough Star Trek fans around anymore to make a movie profitable. Nemesis tanked, Enterprise had flatlined, were there any Star Trek fans around and if so were there enough to continue on with Star Trek as it had been doing for 18 years prior? The answer really came in the form of the JJ Abrams movie... The answer was no.
Everything that has happened since that 2009 movie has been as a result of the decision to start again with Star Trek and the reaction it has got. It hasn't really been all that successful, it hasn't garnered a new fan base, it hasn't seen an investment by the mainstream audiences, we've seen declining numbers from all three movies, resulting in Beyond perhaps losing the studio money in the long run and you have to assume that ultimately the decision to restart Star Trek wasn't (I believe) the right one.
Whatever your feeling is over the Kelvin Timeline movies, Star Trek fans have felt uneasy with the new, mainstream version of Star Trek, that while it doesn't destroy anything that has come before, it kind of tries to restart yet not do anything new that hasn't been done before begging the question, why restart Star Trek at all if all we're going to see is the familiar Star Trek we know and love but as told by people who don't understand or get Star Trek?. Star Trek Beyond really did try to rebuild a lot of the bad blood between studio and fans but I can't help but feel Beyond came too little and too late and even though it was a brilliant Star Trek movie with great character moments, for a third film in a new franchise, it didn't do much in the way that was new and exciting with what Abrams had started. So again, you have such a vibrant and interesting and rich legacy of stories already setup, ready to be expanded upon and explored further in the prime universe, you're left with the begging question; why on earth did it need restarting with Kirk and Spock?
One observation id like to make here is that with this huge and costly experiment Paramount has undertaken with Star Trek, I think I've come to realise that fans love the Star Trek that had been established and expanded upon over the 45 plus years before 2009 and that why on earth would they even remotely be interested in starting over.
This new Star Trek film franchise isn't ever going to be something people will want to invest their money and time into enough for It to compete with itself let alone other summer blockbuster franchises. If Paramout are smart about this, Star Trek 4 will be a movie that connects the Kelvin timeline and the Prime Timeline together in a way that both would eventually acknowledge one another.
Ultimately the reason this JJ Abrams revival hasn't worked is that It's a TV series. The buzz surrounding Star Trek: Discovery far and away outstrips that of the buzz and excitement surrounding any of the Kelvin Timeline movies.
If Paramount wants to reshape movie Trek into its version of Star Wars... then ok... but they should just recognize that CBS can do its thing... the market will decide.
Paramount would do well to recognise that reshaping Star Trek into something it isn't hasn't and will not benefit them financially. The numbers don't lie, so far their efforts in making Star Trek an all encompassing, glitzy Hollywood action movie have failed.
They'd do well to slash the budgets and have new Star Trek movies that were more cerebral, more like films such as "Moon" or "Interstellar", "District 9"
Something that focused more on one or two characters, that was more to do with story than spectacle.
Whatever comes next, if anything, will have to be something that is completely different because they can't surely keep throwing money at Star Trek, taking it further away from what Star Trek is and hope that an audience will eventually realise that this deserves 1bn at the box office. Isn't going to happen.
Star Trek: Discovery will change the shape of this franchise. That series is being shown on streaming services around the world. Hardly going for the mass audiences the movies have been targeting. It's also set in the prime universe, it's going to be something completely different to the movies in that it's going to rely on its audience to have at least a basic understanding of what has come before and what comes after it...
The only way I can see Paramount continuing on from where Beyond left off is to take their Kelvin Timeline into the Animated Sries realm and just flesh it out more among a younger audience on Nickelodeon. Something based upon the Enterprise A that appeals to fans but is targeted at the younger generation in the same way Rebels is and TMNT is. Something that ties into the new IDW comic book series. Then if that takes off you do Star Trek 4 with Pine and Co.
They've got to do more than just the next movie if they want to keep their mission to keep Star Trek as a summer movie franchise alive.