Of all the big budget tentpoles being released in 2016, Star Trek Beyond seemed the most uncertain. Sure, it came from a successful franchise, but after big-budget sequel after big-budget sequel continued to under-perform, it’s fate became more uncertain, with some even saying it had the potential to bomb, despite its downsided $150 million budget (honestly pretty small for a summer movie at this point). However, looking at the conditions this film is being released in, I think the opposite is true; I believe this movie is going to become the biggest grosser in the franchise, both domestically and worldwide. So, here are 5 reasons that Star Trek Beyond will be the biggest film in the Star Trek series:
1. It Has A More Audience-Friendly Tone
Now as much as the apparently Fast and Furious style tone may have angered fans when the first trailer was released, this may be the thing that could elevate it (financially) above the other films.
This exact sort of movie, a fun, space team adventure, is exactly what audiences are gravitating towards in the current blockbuster market, with films like The Martian and Guardians of the Galaxy dominating the box office.
Those who may have been turned off by the dark tone and subject matter of Into Darkness may feel more welcomed in by this film, providing a much-needed entry point for a franchise that up to this point has not really reached much further than its fanbase.
Beyond is simply the perfect audience-friendly action film, a perfect tentpole in the way that the other films perhaps weren't (although the first did have a pretty light tone) and thus will let the franchise expand its reach and push this entry above the others at the box office.
2. It Has Pretty Weak Competition
Now Star Trek, despite being popular, isn’t exactly an A-Level blockbuster franchise. So, if this film had been facing stiff, big-budget competition on its opening weekend then its fate would be a lot more uncertain, but thankfully this is not the case.
The film only has to compete with the second week of Ghostbusters, whose projected 40–50 percent drop on a $46 million debut will provide little competition, and the domestic debut of Ice Age: Collision Course. Now, although that animated franchise is a worldwide giant (both of the last two films made more than $600 million outside of the US) the American numbers have steadily been falling, and this entry's awful reviews and little hype will mean it will be no threat to Star Trek domestically.
With the basically free marketplace, Star Trek Beyond has the chance to expand where say, Into Darkness couldn't, (as it had to compete against Iron Man 3's still huge third weekend, and the second frame of domestic hit The Great Gatsby), and achieve the largest numbers of the sci-fi series.
3. It Could Be the First Real Breakout Sequel of the Summer
As I said before, 2016 has been a summer of under-performing sequels. X:Men Apocalypse, Alice Through the Looking Glass and Independence Day: Resurgence, just to name a few, have all under-performed, both critically and commercially. This made the summer of 2016 somewhat of an uneven playing field, with the well-received films (Civil War, Finding Dory) completely dominating while the others were left in the dust.
While many thought this spelled doom for Star Trek Beyond, once the critical reviews came out the scale completely shifted. Beyond, with it's impressive 91 percent on Rotten Tomatoes became one of the best-reviewed films of the summer, and it's because of this I believe it can absolutely break out.
Audiences have been craving a good franchise film they can all go see, instead of another disappointing entry in a middling franchise that no one was looking forward to. There's a history of these sort of well reviewed "summer-savers" breaking out big in the past (Guardians of the Galaxy, Men in Black) and I absolutely think that Star Trek Beyond, using its critical acclaim to get moviegoers to the cinema, will become that breakout smash, and thus propel its numbers above the other two films in the franchise, (ironically in a summer where that has seemed impossible).
4. It Comes from Franchise Goodwill
Although the modern Star Trek films (especially Into Darkness) have garnered some mixed reactions from fans, they've always been incredibly well reviewed by critics. The first film managed an incredible 95 percent on Rotten Tomatoes, a score that puts it above even some of the most loved blockbusters of recent years. The second movie didn't fall down either, boasting an impressive 87 percent.
And it's not like this is a franchise with a huge critic/audience divide either. Both films have scored over 7.7/10 on IMDb, a feat which even well-liked series like the MCU can't even come close to boasting.
It's this good-will that the franchise has built, through two critically acclaimed and audience-loved entries, that will push Star Trek Beyond beyond (sorry) the other big budget sequels that came this year, and above the other entries in the franchise.
There's a long history of sequels to well loved first entries breaking out big time (The Dark Knight, X-Men 2), and although that already kind of happened with Into Darkness, Beyond has the potential to go even further, coming off the back of two excellently received films, not one. Audiences have trust in this franchise being good at this point, and they will turn up to see it, perhaps in greater numbers than last time, due to the franchise's large exposure on VOD.
Simply, backed by franchise goodwill, Star Trek Beyond is set up to take the series to the next level at the box office, and become the highest-grossing entry in the series by a high margin.
5. It Hasn’t Got A High Bar To Clear
Star Trek, despite having multiple popular television series in the past (and another one coming to Netflix), and (as I said) being extremely well received by fans and audiences, is not an A-Level franchise at the box office. Sure, its domestic numbers have always been decent, with the two films scoring $257 million and $228 million respectively.
However, internationally, they have never really been able to connect, with neither film being able to pass that $500 million threshold of a modern blockbuster. So they sort of exist in the middle, basically sitting in the same place as the X-Men franchise did before Days of Future Past pushed it to a $700+ million gross.
That may seem like a negative for Beyond, but I think it will undoubtedly by a plus, because, if all the things I've listed help this film, the job of topping the Star Trek franchise is even easier.
With the highest entry only pulling in around $450 million worldwide, all Star Trek Beyond has to do is perform like a average blockbuster film overseas, something that it seems likely to do considering the way it's geared towards movie-goers, not die hard fans.
Thus, becoming the highest-grossing Star Trek movie, as I'm sure this film is trying to do, may not even be that hard of a feat, making it all the more likely that it will manage it.
How do you think Star Trek Beyond will do? Do you think it's going to be the biggest Star Trek film ever, or will it underperform? Leave any and all thoughts below, and if you enjoyed this article, follow this blog on Twitter to see when we make a new post.