Will Star Trek Into Darkness fly worldwide?

Star Trek Into Darkness is now two weeks away from hitting theaters, and along with Iron Man 3 it should help make this summer a rather memorable blockbuster season.

The box office tracking for Iron Man 3 has been off the charts, and it’s also going to get the next phase of Marvel films off to a great start. 

So it was a big surprise for us at TG to learn that Paramount is trying to make Into Darkness a hit overseas. Unbeknownst to us, the JJ Abrams Star Trek reboot was not a hit outside the US, a fact that we found genuinely surprising. We figured Trek, much like Star Wars, would be a global franchise, but apparently this isn’t the case. 

As the Hollywood Reporter notes, “the concept of Trekkies is mostly a U.S. phenomenon,” and JJ Abrams just went over to Japan to showcase the nine minute coming attraction to the film to try and drum up more interest. In fact, Paramount has been going all over the globe, to Russia, Mexico, Brazil, Russia and Australia, spreading the gospel of the Enterprise, because the film will need foreign box office this time around. 

The Reporter alos confirmed another shocking fact: Warner Brothers had to make a similar trip for Christopher Nolan’s Batman films because he “wasn’t historically a great traveler.” Again, we assumed Batman would be a global franchise that translated everywhere, but apparently this isn’t so. (Warner will soon go on a similar overseas promotional tear for Man of Steel).

These days, the American film industry is depending on foreign box more than ever, and we were under the impression that geek stuff was popular world-wide, so this is all definitely news to us. It’s kind of funny that Paramount is trying to “get away from the Trekkiness” for foreign audiences, and JJ Abrams also tried to play up to Playboy how Star Trek is actually sexy. (Perhaps this is why the image of Alice Eve in her underwear is featured prominently in the trailers and commercials. It sure can’t hurt…) 

Several weeks ago on TG, we reported the first Into Darkness reviews when they came out overseas, and they were generally positive. Now the first official US reviews are in, and they’re decidedly divided. Often when Variety likes a movie, the Hollywood Reporter isn’t nuts about it, and this is no exception. 

Variety gave Trek a positive review, writing that “JJ Abrams sets his filmmaking to ‘stun’ with a sequel in every respect equal or even superior to its splendid 2009 predecessor.” While the Hollywood Reporter felt it was a more empty spectacle, writing that the film “has been engineered rather than directed, calibrated to deliver sensation on cue…it efficiently delivers what it’s built to do, but without style or personality.” 

Ultimately the fans will decide for themselves when Star Trek Into Darkness finally arrives in theaters on May 17.