Friends, thanks to the weekday reruns of the classic Star Trek TV series, I was already a big fan of the crew of the the starship Enterprise when Star Trek: The Motion Picture was released to theaters on December 8th of 1979. I have some fond memories of seeing the film at our local movie theater in my youth, for one thing I was allowed to buy a Captain Kirk pin – after I was informed the Scotty pins were all sold out.
Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry got the ball rolling on an attempt to bring the crew of the Enterprise to the big screen shortly after the NBC series was cancelled. It turns out by 1975 there were multiple tries to find the appropriate screenplay for the proposed film, although as 1977 rolled around the focus was shifted from a movie to a new television project. Which was just in time for the success of a little film called Star Wars as well as Close Encounters of the Third Kind to make it big at the box office. The amount of money those two films earned at the box office was more than enough to get Paramount Pictures thinking about a Star Trek film all over again.
The 1978 press conference announcement for Star Trek: The Motion Picture proposed the budget for the film would be 15 million dollars, but when all was said and done it has been reported to have cost 44 million. And while the film brought in 139 million dollars at the end of it’s box office run, which was less than the studio had anticipated, it at the very least gave them confidence in producing a second feature – at a reduced budget.
Were you aware though that the premiere for Star Trek: The Motion Picture was held at the MacArthur Theater in Washington, D.C.? On the evening of December 6th of ’79, the theater that originally opened it’s doors to the public on December 25th of 1946, hosted the cast and crew of the film. And thanks to this video being uploaded on YouTube you can travel back to that night and enjoy interviews with the likes of Gene Roddenberry, Leonard Nimoy, William Shatner and more.