Better Bet: Star Trek or Star Wars?

Turns out it wasn't even a contest. As far as the box office is concerned, Captain Kirk is nowhere near as popular Iron Man. Viacom's (NASDAQ: VIA  ) latest entry in the Star Trek franchise earned $70.56 million in its domestic debut weekend, less than half the $174 million U.S. debut for Iron Man 3.

Is this really a knock? Comic book franchises rule both the movies and TV right now. For Walt Disney's (NYSE: DIS  ) Marvel Studios, Iron Man 3 marks its second-consecutive billion-dollar film. Star Trek Into Darkness was always going to play to a niche sci-fi audience, says Tim Beyers of Motley Fool Rule Breakers and Motley Fool Supernova in the following video.

But for Viacom, this is a niche worth exploiting. Star Trek Into Darkness is tracking just $3 million behind its predecessor in terms of U.S. receipts. Meanwhile, overseas, Darkness is tracking $25 million ahead of Star Trek, according to Box Office Mojo. Still, Tim says if he had to choose between Star Trek and Star Wars -- i.e., Viacom or Disney -- in the years ahead, he'd opt for the vast Star Wars universe, which he believes will be responsible for the next $2 billion blockbuster when a new film in the series is released in 2015.

Do you agree? Please watch the video to get Tim's full take, and then let us know whether you're a trekkie or a Star Wars fan, and why.

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  • Report this Comment On May 23, 2013, at 10:35 AM, ding4dong wrote:

    It's a tie. Star Trek has better action and a better storyline. Star Wars is too cerebral.

    Star Wars deals with the modern day traditional rebel forces and insurgents that fight against the politics of an oppressive ruling force or government. Much of the dialouge is too upscale. And there isn't much of a plot since every episode revolves around one goal. The empire. The prequels were the story of how it came to be. Every episode after that is dealing with it and destroying it.

    Star Trek is simple.

    The plots differ have more variety and are creative because it's a true outter space adventure every time out.

    Besides the mode of transporatation and some space ship fight sequences; you never really "see" much of outter space in Star Wars.

  • Report this Comment On May 23, 2013, at 10:41 AM, zemos23 wrote:

    You realy can't compair Star Trek and Star wars there two diffrent.

    Me I am in no way a Trekie and I loved the new Star Trek films how ever if the new Star Wars has anything to do with G. (I kiddie starwars) Lucas it will flop.

    Because there is one thing George Lucas has done that no other film maker has ever done and that was to insult the fans of his films.

    Pluss I noticed you compaired Star Trek to Marvel's Ironman 3, Marvel has a much bigger following than Star Trek so it was normal for Ironman to bank so much at the box office.

    Star Trek was great and I hope to see more from these new films, also I hope George Lucas is not involved with the new Star Wars trilogy because it will be a horrable remake of episode I .

  • Report this Comment On May 23, 2013, at 10:57 AM, stargazer1682 wrote:

    I'm a Trekie, but I'm not much of a Star Wars fan; and I would have to agree with Star Wars standing to be the better received film franchise.

    Star Trek was born of television and is really where it belongs, with short but thoughtful installments that range from any combination of action, adventure, to social commentary and exploration of the human spirit. Abrahams take on Star Trek is all flash with little substance. For that I might worry a little if I were a Star Wars fan, but instead I'll expel a sigh of relief that he'll be leaving the Star Trek franchise alone now...

    To a greater point, the Marvel comic movies have demonstrated an ability to think ahead, with longer term goals. To what extent Disney deserves credit for this sort of critical thinking, I don't know, but we do have a general idea what their plans are for the Star Wars franchise and it's not piecemeal. They don't plan to take it one movie at a time, they're going in with plans to do multiple movies and with that they likely have some idea what direction those movies and the story will go. Star Trek has never been good at thinking about the direction of their film series, even though for the longest time a new Star Trek film coming out every few years was a given - and that's ultimately the trap the Star Trek film franchise fell into; churning out a product for the sake of putting it out, no matter what it was and with minimal thought behind it. It's how we got "Final Frontier," and "Generations." "Insurrection," and "Nemesis," weren't entirely bad stories, but they would have probably worked better as an episode in a series that could have better explore the story leading up to those events and followed the fallout afterwards. Abrams brought it back with a flashy bang, but the mentality persists of just making a movie for sake of making it, and so it underperforms; where as an on going franchise like Iron Man and the greater Marvel film universe can remain a powerhouse 8 movies in, with more to come. For a franchise built on a television series, it somehow fails to apply that same serial momentum to the film aspect of the franchise; even what could be and has been called the Star Trek trilogy, of "Wrath of Kahn," "Search for Spock," and "The Voyage Home" were never planned to be interconnected as they ended up being. Meanwhile Star Wars is, by it's nature, an epic narrative, that isn't told in just one installment.

  • Report this Comment On May 23, 2013, at 11:24 AM, Phalcon1 wrote:

    Iron Man 3 might have done better at the box office, but Star Trek was a much better movie. I don't know why Star Trek didn't do better, hopefully it will get more credit this coming weekend. As much as I love Iron Man and the Avengers, the movie just kind of left me with "Ahh, it was okay". Star Trek was marvelous, great writting, great plot and it gave the characters more heart and soul.

  • Report this Comment On May 23, 2013, at 12:15 PM, bluethunder1090 wrote:

    Granted it is all fictional, but Star Trek is about us. It is about Earth. Much as the old west is about early America. Our history defines who we are as a species. Just as one can look back on history and wonder what it would be like to have been around then, one can imagine our future generations seeing a similar reality to Star Trek. Star Wars takes place in a galaxy far far away. Star Wars is like watching a news story where challenges are happening in another country and the people there are having to deal with the situation. One can look at their struggles and find comfort in the fact it is not happening here. But just like in real life, when something happens closure to home, it becomes more relevant.

    In Star Wars, the Death Star blew up an entire planet and killed everyone on it. In Star Trek, red matter was used to blow up Vulcan and kill everyone on it. How do you think a film audience would react to Earth being destroyed and everyone on it killed ? For some reason that feels different.

    The fact that the majority of the crew of the Enterprise come from Earth makes it more relatable in my opinion.

  • Report this Comment On May 23, 2013, at 1:22 PM, l34w29 wrote:

    Star Wars is too close to "magic" for me. Too much like a fairy tale with the inexplicable "force" and its religious overtones. "In a galaxy far, far away..." is to much disconnect for me. Don't get me wrong, I like Star Wars... similar to how I feel about "Tales of Sin Bad" or "Alladin's Lamp".

    Trek is pure science and technology, projected into the future of course, but science none the less. Based from earth, in our own galaxy, the continuity is real, the key characters human, the technology; a physics major's dream come true. That's for me.

    Some people are attracted to the spiritual, the mystical. They want to believe in benevolent powers that cannot be explained but rule the universe. And thus we have your Star Wars fans.

    Some of us want to know why and how. And so we have Trekkies. To each his own. I watch and enjoy Star Wars, but I love Star Trek.

  • Report this Comment On May 23, 2013, at 1:23 PM, cozener wrote:

    I believe JJ Abrams' style is better suited to Star Wars than Star Trek...not that I'm not enjoying his take on Trek. I am. But while both of his Trek movies were entertaining and fun to watch, they just don't feel like Star Trek to me.

  • Report this Comment On May 23, 2013, at 3:00 PM, TMFMileHigh wrote:

    Great comments, all. Thank you.

    A few specific responses:

    @stargazer1682,

    >>To a greater point, the Marvel comic movies have demonstrated an ability to think ahead, with longer term goals. To what extent Disney deserves credit for this sort of critical thinking, I don't know, but we do have a general idea what their plans are for the Star Wars franchise and it's not piecemeal.

    Agreed. I'd also credit Kevin Feige at Marvel more than anyone else, but Bob Iger deserves kudos for getting out of the way. I'm a big believer in Disney in part because the top brass is letting creators create.

    @l34w29,

    >>Some of us want to know why and how. And so we have Trekkies. To each his own. I watch and enjoy Star Wars, but I love Star Trek.

    That's a good way of putting it. Star Wars appealed to me as a kid, and still does, but as a fan, I love the optimism of Star Trek.

    As an investor, I believe with the proper handling, Viacom can get as much from Trek as Disney gets from Marvel.

    FWIW and Foolish best,

    Tim

    --

    TMFMileHigh in CAPS and on the boards

    @milehighfool on Twitter

    http://about.me/timbeyers

    http://timbeyers.me

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