Paramount thinking

HighlyIllogicalI’m listening to Paul Cantor’s lecture series Commerce and Culture while I bounce back and forth between a book he wrote (The Invisible Hand in Popular Culture: Liberty vs. Authority in American Film and TV) and a book he recommended to me (The Fourth Network: How FOX Broke the Rules and Reinvented Television).

So with my head in Hollywood, so to speak, my eye was drawn to this tidbit on the Wikipedia homepage this morning:

Did you know…

From Wikipedia’s newest content:

Never heard of it!

Here’s the last line of the summary:

This too was rejected, and believing that as a result of the box-office success of Star Wars, science fiction fans would not pay to see two films, Paramount instead planned to take Star Trek back to television with Star Trek: Phase II.

I emailed the link to an old friend, the author of Shermomma, an entertainment web column I blogged about years ago. He was taken by that same line. Here’s his reply:

The thing that sticks with me now is this claim that Paramount backed out of the project because after the release and success of Star Wars they figured Science Fiction fans wouldn’t want to see a similar movie. Does that make sense to you? Does that sound like a move an entertainment professional would make?

"Hey, did you hear? Star Wars is a smash! This proves that genre that we’ve only thought of as a limited, cultish thing can have mass appeal."

"Wow, you’re right! Let’s cancel our planned, similar enterprise. Wouldn’t want to jump on that bandwagon."

"Nosiree! Man, that was close. We almost were in a position to build off the momentum of another picture’s success. … Hey, that was funny. You said, ‘enterprise.’"

"What?"

"You said, ‘enterprise.’ That’s the name of the ship in our film."

"Is it? What kind of goofy name is that? I swear I don’t get this shit."

– caj

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