So you’ve seen many actors before done in this box office Top 10, but never a movie series. If you wonder why is that, well, there simply aren’t that many (shaken, not stirred) franchises that could claim such a thing. With the release of Star Trek Into Darkness this weekend, it gives us a grand total of 12 Star Trek movies, all in the last 34 years. On average we got a film every 3 years, but I’m sorry Star Wars fans (and I’m one), you got the short end of the stick, at least when it comes to volume.
I’m not here to stir yet another Trek versus Wars fight, no, I am here to give you the top 10 most successful Star Trek films of all time at the box office, all adjusted for inflation (obviously) and because of that, only North American numbers. Now the following results might surprise or even anger some of you, but keep in mind, a film’s success (or lack) does not necessarily reflect its quality.
10. Stark Trek V: The Final Frontier $104.4 million ($52.2 million unadjusted) – Directed and written by Captain Kirk himself, William Shatner, this entry was quite the let-down, even more so coming right after The Voyage Home (something of a fan favorite). For me at least, the story in this one is a total blur, but IMDB says something about Mr. Spock’s brother and hijacking the enterprise, so it’s probably true.
9. Star Trek: Insurrection $116.7 million ($70.1 million) – Can’t have such a long-lasting sci-fi series and not bring up the usual rebellion storyline, and Insurrection provided just that. This also happens to be the first next generation entry on our top 10. Jonathan Frakes (Commander Riker) assumed directing duties here.
8. Stark Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country $142 million ($74.8 million) – Released in 1991 and written by Leonard Nimoy (Mr. Spock), this was the last of the original series. With a few exceptions, it was the final voyage for the now old generation. At this point, hit TV show Star Trek: The Next Generation was already into its 5th season, so it makes sense the films changed gears too after The Undiscovered Country.
7. Star Trek: Generations $143.2 million ($75.6 million) – Speaking of generations, here’s the first of the next generation films, with a twist. Instead of going full on TNG, they decided to instead pass the torch with Star Trek: Generations. Suffice to say, Captain Picard (Patrick Stewart) meets Captain Kirk in this one (which should technically be impossible, but whatever, sci-fi).
6. Star Trek: First Contact $164.6 million ($92 million) – Two years after Generations, First Contact comes as arguably the best TNG entry. Actually forget that, this IS the best one, no arguing about it.
5. Star Trek III: The Search for Spock $180.7 million ($76.4 million) – Coming off the heels of Khan, so obviously a tough act to follow, The Search for Spock was handed to Leonard Nimoy to direct. Was it a good idea? I think so, instead of trying to copy Wrath of Kahn, he made his own thing and a good one at that.
4. Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan $213.1 million ($78.9 million) – Yes, the Empire Strikes Back of trekkies, considered by many the best this series has yet to offer. After an average at best Star Trek: The Motion Picture 3 years before, Wrath of Khan probably came as a surprise for many. Unfortunately I wasn’t born back then so I can’t really vouch for that last bit.
3. Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home $229.2 million ($109.7 million) – Humpback whales, time travel, 20th century Earth, I don’t think I need to say more.
2. Star Trek: The Motion Picture $260.2 million ($82.2 million) – How do you turn a decade old TV show that wasn’t all that popular to begin with (at least on TV), running only for 3 season, and make it into a successful motion picture? You don’t, or at least that’s what you’d expect. While not a good movie, we have to give it credit for every other better entry that came after it. Every series needs a beginning and Stark Trek: The Motion Picture was it.
1. Star Trek $274.3 million ($257.7 million) – Reboot or prequel? The answer here is both. J.J. Abrams achieves the almost impossible (not the first time he dabbled in that field, Mission: Impossible 3 anyone) by successfully rebooting this venerable series, with a prequel. Sure, at the end of the day this is more Star Wars than Star Trek but did I mention Abrams is a fan of the force? My honest opinion is if you take it for what it is, a flashier, bombastic Star Trek for a new generation, it’s a lot of fun.
Coincidence or not, both the first and next generation had their best entries the second time around, for Captain Kirk with Wrath of Khan and for Captain Picard with First Contact. Will Star Trek Into Darkness continue that legacy and become the best of its generation?
What’s your favorite Star Trek movie, or hell, even show (cause we’ve got enough there too)?