Star Trek: The Motion Picture
Star Trek: The Motion Picture is a 1979 science fiction film released by Paramount Pictures.
It is the first film based on the Star Trek television series. When a mysterious and immensely powerful alien cloud called V'ger approaches Earth, destroying everything in its path, Admiral James T. Kirk (William Shatner) assumes command of his old starship—the USS Enterprise—to lead it on a mission to save the planet and determine V'ger's origins.
When the original television series was cancelled in 1969, Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry lobbied Paramount to continue the franchise through a film. The success of the series in syndication convinced the studio to begin work on a feature film in 1975. A series of writers attempted to craft a suitably epic script, but the attempts did not satisfy Paramount, so the studio scrapped the project in 1977. Paramount instead planned on returning the franchise to its roots with a new television series, Star Trek: Phase II. The box office success of Close Encounters of the Third Kind convinced Paramount that science fiction films other than Star Wars could do well at the box office, so the studio canceled production of Phase II and resumed its attempts at making a Star Trek film. In 1978, Paramount assembled the largest press conference held at the studio since the 1950s to announce that Academy Award–winning director Robert Wise would helm a $15 million film adaptation of the television series.
With the cancellation of the television series, the writers rushed to adapt the planned pilot episode of Phase II, "In Thy Image," into a film script. Constant revisions to the story meant that new versions of the shooting script were distributed hourly. The Enterprise was completely redesigned inside and out; costume designer Robert Fletcher provided new uniforms and production designer Harold Michelson fabricated new sets. Jerry Goldsmith composed the score, beginning an association with Star Trek that would continue until 2002. When the original contractors for the optical effects proved unable to complete their tasks in time, Douglas Trumbull and his effects team were given carte blanche to meet the December 1979 release date. The film came together only days before the premiere; Wise took the just-completed film to its Washington, D.C., opening, but always felt that the theatrical version was a rough cut of the film he wanted to make.
Released in North America on December 7, 1979, Star Trek: The Motion Picture received mixed reviews from critics, many of whom criticized the film for its lack of action and over-reliance on special effects. The final production cost, which ballooned to approximately $46 million, drew considerable media attention. The film earned $139 million worldwide, which fell short of studio expectations but was enough for Paramount to propose a sequel. The studio forced Roddenberry to relinquish creative control of Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan as it blamed him for The Motion Picture's disappointing critical and commercial reception. For the DVD release of the film, Wise created a director's cut; a team remastered the audio, tightened and added scenes, and used new computer-generated effects to complete his vision.