Star Trek 4 might be in trouble. Negotiation talks between actors Chris Pine and Chris Hemsworth and the two principal studios — Paramount Pictures and Skydance Media — have broken down, according to a new report, with both sides choosing to walk away for now. It’s unclear if talks will resume or the two roles will be recast.
On Friday, sources familiar with the matter told The Hollywood Reporter that Paramount tried to force the two actors to “take pay cuts as they try to budget a movie that is following a mediocre performer”. The last entry in the Trek film franchise, Star Trek Beyond, grossed just $343.4 million worldwide off a reported budget of $185 million, with one insider noting the studio suffered a loss.
That figure was down from both previous entries in the new franchise: J.J. Abrams’ 2009 reboot Star Trek earned $385.6 million worldwide off a $150-million budget, while his 2013 follow-up Star Trek Into Darkness picked up $467.3 million with a $190-million budget. While the budgets are close to what is spent by Disney on Marvel and Star Wars, the earnings are a far cry.
And that’s why Paramount is “trying to hold the line on a budget”, with sources stating the very fact that Trek isn’t “like a Marvel or Star Wars movie”, which regularly gross upwards of $700 million worldwide.
But Pine and Hemsworth are unwilling to take a pay cut, “asking the studios to stick to existing deals”. Both actors are part of big franchises elsewhere: Pine starred in Wonder Woman and is part of the 2019 sequel Wonder Woman 1984, while Hemsworth has starred in six Marvel films — three Thor and Avengers chapters apiece — with Avengers 4 following next year.
In Star Trek, Pine has played Captain Kirk since 2009 while Hemsworth had a role as Kirk’s father in the first film, which he was set to reprise in Star Trek 4. THR states that talks are “expected to follow” with the other returning cast members: Zoe Saldana, Zachary Quinto, Karl Urban, Simon Pegg and John Cho.
Despite the salary hurdle, Star Trek 4 — set to be the first Trek entry with a female director in S.J. Clarkson (Jessica Jones, The Defenders) — is not going on ice and remains “a priority development”, per insiders. The other Trek film, from Quentin Tarantino, is also part of the big picture but is likely 5-6 years away, according to Pegg.