Star Trek seems to be everywhere at the moment – which is no wonder regarding the fact that the premiere just took place and the worldwide release is only days ahead.
So, I thought I add my part to the crowd, do some statistical analysis and put together all numbers for almost the whole franchise. The results are two charts into which all those numbers are condensed.
For one, I took the box offices of all movies of the Star Trek franchise, adjusted them to today’s ticket prices and put them into one chart.
For the other, I searched for all Nielsen Ratings of all episodes of all Star Trek series from The Next Generation to Enterprise and put them together. The result you will see below is in many ways the ultimate series chart of Star Trek any Trekkie should love and hate at the same time.
Let’s begin our analysis with a look at the box offices of all Star Trek movies. To get a better impression I adjusted the box office to the average ticket prices of 2008, which – according to BoxOfficeMojo – are at $7.18. How much will the new Star Trek movie make? We’ll see in the future…
Update May 7th: According to ScreenRant, the ticket pre-sales indicate that Star Trek is true blockbuster material. Taking the ticket sales of Wolverine into account, Star Trek might very well reach or even break the 100 Million mark on its first weekend, blasting ahead two other Trek movies at least.
Update May 9th: The movie earned around $29 million, so Star Trek doesn’t seem to be able to break the 100 immediately (Update: indeed it couldn’t – my prediction was right. Yay.).
Update May 17th: Another Yay! the numbers I work with in my internal Excel sheet seem to be right. The ranking based on sold tickets is exactly the same!
Final Update: Star Trek is officially the second most grossing entry of the franchise (see updated chart below).
Star Trek 2009 aside, this chart got me by surprise. According to these numbers the most successful Star Trek movie of all time neither was The Wrath of Khan nor the fourth installment with the whales (although it comes close). No, it’s the first movie called Star Trek: The Motion Picture with an adjusted box office of 235 Million USD. Admitted, I would have never guessed this.
This chart also shows that although the second movie might get much love from the audience and fans it didn’t break the record of the first movie. Luckily, it came close. At least my impression of the success of The Voyage Home was not wrong as wrong as with Wrath of Khan. Whew.
But there is also one nasty thing that gets obviously visible: after a good dive of The Final Frontier, Star Trek never managed to reach its former heights again. Although the movies indeed increased their respective box offices again, we can say that from Star Trek 6 to Star Trek 9 the numbers didn’t vary very much. Star Trek: First Contact is a small exception to this rule yet the quality of the movie didn’t result in an enormously increased box office.
Well, after First Contact there was only one way for the franchise: down. Can J.J. break this curse? The next few weeks will tell us.
Star Trek is not Star Trek without its episodes. Of course, the movies play an important role (especially in today’s times where J.J. Abram’s take is the only thing “trekkie”) but Star Trek was and is primarily a TV franchise.
So, I accepted the craziest job ever and searched the whole internet for every Nielsen TV Rating I could find and put those numbers in one big Excel sheet. It is well beyond crazy but very fitting for the title “madmind” I think. And I also think it was worth it because the result is the Ultimate Star Trek Chart:
This chart shows the sad but very well known truth about this franchise: with each new series, Star Trek went down a little bit further.
Admittedly, this chart above is a little bit confusing at first with all the tiny dots flying around. So here’s a different look at the franchise, this time the dots are replaced with an averaged curve of all Nielsen Ratings over the past:
This chart makes one thing even more obvious: with one notable exception – The Next Generation – each series followed a downward trend that couldn’t be stopped whatsoever. The begin of the big war in Deep Space Nine didn’t help, neither helped the exchange of a female crewmember with a sexed up alternative in Voyager. It’s somehow depressing to witness that nothing the producers tried really mattered in any way. Silly storylines and bullshit ideas in Enterprise? Not a chance, it kept declining. (Although this was a good thing in some ways)
As you can see, The Next Generation is the big exception of this rule. What’s astonishing is the rather small decline of viewership in the first two abysmal seasons. On the other hand, it is visible that even this series began a downward trend. In this case, however, the producers seemingly made the right decisions and managed to stop this trend at the beginning of the third season (to be precise with the episode called “The Bonding“, “Who watches the watchers” was the last one of the bottom).
It’s also noteworthy that each new series after TNG indeed had its chance. Every pilot had a massive Nielsen Rating compared to the rest of the respective seasons yet this factor wore out extremely fast. Basically, for every new series the Nielsen Ratings was in a free fall for at least one season.
It will be interesting to see whether a new Star Trek series will be able to reverse the numbers and reach the former heights.
At the moment it is highly unlikely, though, that a new series will reach us. Even if the new Star Trek movie will be a massive success, the numbers are too depressing and too obvious for producers to risk their money on.
But I could also be very wrong with this assumption. What do you think?