Star

A Star Trek threequel is on the way. Credit: Paramount Pictures.

Viacom's (NASDAQ:VIAB) Paramount Pictures is taking a huge risk naming screenwriter Roberto Orci to direct the next film in the Star Trek movie franchise, Fool contributor Tim Beyers says in the the following video.

According to an exclusive report in Variety last week, Orci, whose screenwriting credits include work on Star Trek and Star Trek Into Darkness, will team with J.D. Payne and Patrick McKay to write the threequel. Chris Pine and Zachary Quinto are expected to reprise their roles as Captain Kirk and Mr. Spock.

Good news, right? If only it were that simple. Instead, history shows the franchise is suffering decelerating returns. According to The-Numbers.com, Star Trek earned a combined $578.6 million including box office, DVD, and Blu-ray revenue. Star Trek Into Darkness earned $540.4 million on the same basis. Orci is taking on a turnaround story.

We also know from history that, despite its cult status, Star Trek offers no box office guarantees. 2002's Star Trek: Nemesis failed with audiences, earning just $67.3 million worldwide on a $60 million production budget. Why take the added risk of hiring an unproven director for Star Trek 3? Tim says it doesn't make sense, especially when Paramount's revenue and operating income have declined in each of the last two fiscal years.

Now it's your turn to weigh in. Do you believe Orci will get the Star Trek movie franchise back on track? Please watch the video to get the full story and then leave a comment to let us know your take, including whether you would buy, sell, or short Viacom stock at current prices.

Tim Beyers is a member of the Motley Fool Rule Breakers stock-picking team and the Motley Fool Supernova Odyssey I mission. He didn't own shares in any of the companies mentioned in this article at the time of publication. Check out Tim's web home and portfolio holdings or connect with him on Google+Tumblr, or Twitter, where he goes by @milehighfool. You can also get his insights delivered directly to your RSS reader.

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