While it has dominated on the small screen, the Star Trek franchise has never been quite as commercially successful on the silver screen as its major competitor, the Star Wars Saga. While Star Wars has always been heavy on spectacle and romance, in the classic sense, the Trek movies’ plots have always been on the technical side (semi-frequently utilizing time travel) and have been intended to appeal more to fans of the various television series. But the Star Trek film series—or at least most of its entries—has been far from a financial disaster. The following eight movies are the highest grossing in Star Trek’s history. As the movie franchise now spans over 35 years, earlier figures will understandably be adjusted for inflation. For simplicity’s sake, the grosses listed will be limited to domestic numbers.
8 Star Trek Generations, 1994 - $150,678,700
7 Star Trek: First Contact, 1996 - $173,190,500
6 Star Trek III: The Search for Spock, 1984 - $190,039,700
5 Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, 1982 - $224,123,600
4 Star Trek Into Darkness, 2013 - $227,959,600
3 Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, 1986 - $241,064,200
2 Star Trek: The Motion Picture, 1979 - $273,648,700
1 Star Trek, 2009 - $288,475,900
J.J. Abrams’ attempt to revive Star Trek remains the most successful outing in the film franchise to date—domestically, at least. Writers Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman utilized time travel and multiple timelines as means of creating new adventures for the recast crew of the original Enterprise so as to not alienate die-hard fans of the series. Apart from doing very well at the box office—it was the seventh-highest earning film of 2009—it enjoyed widespread praise from critics, who highlighted the new cast’s chemistry and especially the performance of Zachary Quinto as Spock. Roger Ebert was one of the film’s few detractors, criticizing it for being “loud and colorful” compared to the more intellectually-minded movies and TV series. Nevertheless, the reboot helped to bring Star Trek back into the public consciousness and helped make a good case for Abrams to direct the next Star Wars movie, which is due out in 2015.
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