Friday, August 10, 2018

Chris Pine, Hemsworth Out of Star Trek 4

It seems the future of Star Trek 4 is now in doubt as Chris Pine and Chris Hemsworth deals have fallen through. Technically the movie could go forward but the rumored script always had a focus on Kirk and the mysterious return of his dad. Without either actor that means the existing script would likely have to be scrapped unless they just choose to recast both roles.

The reason for the failure to sign the two actors is pretty simple - money. The stars of both have risen significantly since the first movie, especially for Chris Hemworth. Chris Pine, thanks to the Wonder Woman films, is likely asking for a significant raise while Hemsworth is probably asking for near Marvel level bucks for his appearance which I would estimate is in the ~$10 million range. Also keep in mind with the #metoo movement that whatever pay that applies to those two would like result in similar pay being applied to Zoe Saldana with the remaining cast mates also then demanding a pay bump. Considering the $190M budget of Star Trek Beyond only returned $343M in worldwide box office, from Paramount perspective blowing ~1/3 of the budget just on salary isn't a wise return on investment. Sadly I am unable to disagree.

I do get both perspectives, especially for Chris Hemsworth. He is coming off carrying the Thor movies, Avengers 3 and general critical acclaim for whatever role he takes on. For example, he was about the only bright spot in the Ghostbusters reboot. In short, he has a strong argument to demand a high pay as he has a recent and strong argument that he puts butts in seats. Actually being true or not (cause being Marvel movies does a lot of the heavy lifting on that) doesn't matter, that is the perception that has often driven salary demands of this kind in the past.

The opposite of that argument ironically is Chris Pine. He has no proven box office record to speak of. He would point to Wonder Woman but he had nothing to do with the success of that movie. Literally any random male could have been in the same role and had the same impact box office wise. Really if need proof that he has no impact on box office results just look at his inability to put butts in seats for the dismal opening weekend of A Wrinkle in Time (which to be fair is a study on how to fail as a director in every way). In short, Chris Hemsworth can easily afford to hold the line on pay and pass on the movie. Chris Pine, frankly, cannot make the same argument despite is weird appearance in Wonder Woman 2.

What this all means is now Paramount has to decide if they are even moving forward with Star Trek 4 and then decide what new direction to take the story since the one in the works for the last year or so is out while hoping they can work something out with one or both actors. Often time pay scale in the Hollywood world is a sign of prestige in a film. For example the order that actor names appear on posters and in opening credits of a film can often be a hotly contested act when its multiple big name actors in a film that can be the result of months of negotiations to sort out (nope not kidding) and pay is similar. I don't see a scenario where Paramount is willing to meet Hemsworth's pay demands so once they resolve themselves to removing him from the equation, then Chris Pine can retain top pay and top name status which might be enough to get him to come back to the table for a payday they are willing to meet.

I guess the short of this is once again Star Trek 4 has returned to limbo and the movie future remains uncertain. At least the TV franchise's future remains strong.

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