Chris Pine and Chris Hemsworth are no longer boldly going where no person has gone before.
In a Hollywood Reporter exclusive, the two actors were in negotiations to star in Star Trek 4 but sources say that talks between the two actors and the companies making the new installment, Paramount Pictures and Skydance Media, have fallen apart, with both sides walking away from the table.
Dealmaking with other returning castmembers — including Zoe Saldana, Zachary Quinto, Karl Urban, Simon Pegg and John Cho — was expected to follow.
Pine was due to reprise his role as iconic sci-fi hero Captain Kirk, which he has inhabited for three movies, while Hemsworth was to have played his father in a time-traveling adventure. (Hemsworth played the role in the prologue in the 2009 movie that rebooted the franchise.)
The deal points came down to money. Pine and Hemsworth, among Hollywood’s A-list when starring in DC or Marvel movies, are said to be asking the studios to stick to existing deals. Paramount, according to insiders, contends that Trek is not like a Marvel or Star Wars movie and is trying to hold the line on a budget.
The actors, according to sources, insist they have deals in place and that the studios are reneging on them, forcing them to take pay cuts as they try to budget a movie that is following a mediocre performer.
Pine, at least, has had a deal in place for several years. The actor, now a key player in the Wonder Woman franchise, signed up for a fourth movie when he made his deal for 2016’s Star Trek Beyond. Hemsworth has been attached to Trek 4 since Paramount, then run by the previous regime headed by Brad Grey, announced the fourth installment in 2016, although his exact status remains murky.
The studio, however, is backing its budget tough talk with past performance numbers. The last movie, Star Trek Beyond, grossed only $343 million worldwide on a budget of $190 million. In fact, one insider says the companies lost money on the movie.
The 2009 reboot that kicked off this run of movies, titled simply Star Trek, made $386 million while 2013’s Star Trek Into Darkness, is the top earner of any Trek movie, with $467 million. Meanwhile, Marvel, DC, or Star Wars movies regularly gross north of $700 million if not hitting $1 billion. Not for lack of trying, the Trek movies seem to have a ceiling, especially globally.
It is unclear what the next step is for Trek 4. The project could recast Kirk and his father. Or perhaps the two sides could come back to the table.
Either way, Paramount and Skydance insiders say the movie, also produced by J.J. Abrams’ Bad Robot, remains a priority development and is not being put on hold. Adding a veneer of enterprise to the project is that for the first time in the franchise history, a female director, S. J. Clarkson (Jessica Jones, Succession), is sitting in the captain’s chair.