"Star Trek" promo blasting off six months early

Thu Nov 20, 2008 9:10pm EST
 
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By Jay A. Fernandez and Borys Kit

LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - Paramount already has hit warp speed with its high-profile relaunch of the "Star Trek" franchise.

For its first 2009 tentpole, the studio has taken the unprecedented step of rolling out a full-scale promotional tour for "Star Trek" nearly six months before its May 8 release.

Despite "Trek's" indisputable cultural brand and avid fan base, the filmmakers and the studio hope to bypass two potential obstacles on the way to blockbuster returns: the MySpace generation's unfamiliarity with the series and genre, and the franchise's typically anemic performance in the global market.

"'Star Trek,' especially in the foreign territories, is perceived as one thing," director J.J. Abrams told The Hollywood Reporter. "Paramount thought it was really important to get it out there and show them that it's another."

On Wednesday, Abrams made a good-natured, enthusiastic, 25-minute presentation to a crowd of invited journalists, executives and studio employees in a theater on the Paramount lot. With requisite introductions, Abrams showcased the new trailer and four distinct sequences from the movie. In the past week, the "Trek" roadshow had traveled to Rome; Cologne, Germany; Madrid; Paris; London; and New York.

Teaser trailers for potential summer blockbusters often make their first appearances a year in advance; a "Trek" teaser was paired with this past summer's tentpoles. But any real footage or extended trailers typically are reserved to make a big splash with an airing during something like the Super Bowl in February.

Yet here was Abrams -- who's made it his modus operandi to work under cloaks of invisibility and silence -- putting not only himself but also his actors and film in the spotlight far in advance of the movie's opening.

Since Paramount pushed back the "Trek" release from its original 2008 holiday date, the director had the advantage of finishing his movie early, unusual for rush-to-the-deadline summer tentpoles. So extensive footage -- including action sequences -- are available to preview.   Continued...

 
<p>The USS Enterprise in a scene from the upcoming "Star Trek" film. Paramount already has hit warp speed with its high-profile relaunch of the franchise. For its first 2009 tentpole, the studio has taken the unprecedented step of rolling out a full-scale promotional tour for "Star Trek" nearly six months before its May 8 release. REUTERS/Handout</p>