The Star Trek franchise has witnessed 5 different television series and 10 major motion picture releases; with an eleventh film scheduled to be in American theatres on May 8th, 2009. This year marks the 42nd anniversary of the premiere of The Original Series.
Perhaps the time of greatest popularity for Star Trek was the mid-1990’s … TNG had just finished its initial run on television in 1994; Deep Space Nine witnessed its first season in 1993 and Voyager’s premiere took place in January of 1995; and new motion pictures were being regularly produced by Paramount at seemingly 2 year intervals (Generations in 1994, First Contact in 1996, and Insurrection in 1998).
As part of the publicity campaign surrounding the Star Trek: Voyager television premiere, the following list of “astonishing facts” was produced and distributed to the press. Although no longer reflective of the current appeal of the franchise, this list is a powerful testament to the past impact of the Star Trek universe as a centerpiece of American pop culture and, indeed, a phenomenon with truly worldwide appeal.
From January, 1995 …
- Star Trek: Voyager is the only television show in TV Guide history to be featured on the cover of the publication before the editors could even see the show.
- Star Trek is seen in over 100 countries, and has been translated into dozens of languages.
- Every month, a classic Star Trek or Star Trek: The Next Generation novel is published by Pocket Books.
- 13 Star Trek books are sold every minute in the United States.
- Over 63 million Star Trek books are in print, and have been translated into more than 15 languages including Chinese, Norwegian, Hungarian and Hebrew.
- Since July 1986, every new classic Star Trek novel published by Pocket Books has been a New York Times paperback best-seller. To date, the novels have sold close to 30 million copies, making it the best-selling series in publishing history.
- In addition to the novels, a variety of Star Trek books, including biographies and technical manuals, have landed on national best-seller lists more than 40 times.
- The seven “Star Trek” films have earned over $760 million in box office grosses and video rentals.
- Star Trek conventions are held every weekend of every year, in at least four different U.S. cities attracting over 300,000 fans and an estimated one million fans worldwide.
- “Trekkies”, now called “Trekkers” are the only fans listed by name in the Oxford English Dictionary.
- The U.S. space shuttle, the “Enterprise”, was given its name after NASA received 400,000 requests from Star Trek fans.
- A 1993 study from Purdue University found that children learn more about science fiction from Star Trek than anything else outside the home.
- When Star Trek: Voyager premieres in January, there will be more than 325 hours of original Star Trek programming, including classic Star Trek, the seven Star Trek feature films, Star Trek: The Next Generation and Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. A person could watch Star Trek programming eight hours a day, seven days a week, for nearly six weeks before he would run out of original material.
- Star Trek products have elicited $750 million in retail sales in the past five years.
- In 1993, Star Trek computer software and video game products generated over $70 million in retail sales.