My husband and I went to catch the new Star Trek movie a few weeks back. It’s been amazing to see a brand that’s endured for so long be so popular. The original Star Trek TV show ran from 1966 to 1969 and subsequently spun off a media franchise that has produced six TV series and eleven movies over those 40 years.
The recent Star Trek film directed by J.J. Abrams and produced Damon Lindelof (both of ABC’s Lost) has made more than $313 million as of May 26, 2009, and has inspired a new generation of Star Trek fans. Paramont Pictures made a hugely smart move in contacting Abrams and Lindelof to help them revive the franchise. Fast Company put Abrams as #14 of the 100 “Most Creative People in Business” and back in February 2008 wrote a great article called Rebel Alliance that featured Lindelof, Tim Kring and Jesse Alexander (of Heroes), Rob Letterman (of Monsters v. Aliens) and video game creator Matt Wolf talking about the future of entertainment and what Star Wars and Star Trek francises taught them. The combination of cache and forward-thinking that Abrams and Lindelof brings to the table is what’s going to bring the business of the Star Trek francise to world of the 21st century and help it to bloom.
The success of the new movie was obvious, sitting just behind us was a man and his young son. The father patiently named all of the main characters from the original series and explained their roles on the Starship Enterprise. At the end of the movie, the father asked his son if the movie was “cool” and the response was an emphatic, “YES!”
You can rest assured that Dad will be happily buying his son a Star Trek lunchbox or a kid-sized Starship Enterprise to not only commemorate their movie experience but also to build and reinforce a father-son bond grown from a TV show from the 60’s that is known for bad acting and terrible special effects. It’s simply remarkable how something that only originally ran for three years can resonate for over forty years. In fact, the father may even have experienced Star Trek the way that my husband and I did, in syndication many years after the original airing. Matt was born in 1970 and I in 1972 and yet we and our friends all still have a strong affinity for the original series.
The previews before the movie also reinforced the power and endurance of great entertainment IP. My husband Matt exclaimed, “All of my toys are now movies!” after watching the trailers for the upcoming Transformers and GI Joe movies (which are basically two hour branded entertainment vehicles).
Matt started his collection of robots at his very first job working at a luggage store that also happened to sell Japanese toys. He likes to tell stories about how he would patiently talk moms who were shopping for their sons through the difference between the quality of the Japanese Bandai Transformers verses the ones made in China. He still has the two Transformers he worked so hard to buy back in his teens and they’ve served as the basis of his growing collection of robots he’s built over the years.