Fifty years ago, the bridge of the starship Enterprise was written and cast to suggest a multinational diversity as wide-ranging as the United Nations.

The newest Star Trek film will need to navigate deftly toward such multinational appeal, especially with large markets in Asia and Latin America.

That's because Justin Lin's Star Trek Beyond, the 13th film in the franchise, fell off significantly from the domestic debuts of its J J Abrams-directed predecessors.

Paramount's Star Trek Beyond opened to $59.6 million ($85m) in North American theatres over the weekend - a more than $10m drop from Star Trek Into Darkness, which debuted to $70.17m three years ago, and more than a 20 per cent fall from Abrams' 2009 franchise (which opened to $75.2m).


With a reported $185m budget, Star Trek Beyond is boldly trying to succeed where so many live-action blockbuster sequels now must in order to avoid commercial disappointment, studio write-downs or even becoming a franchise killer.

2009's Star Trek grossed $385.7m worldwide (with a 33 per cent foreign take) on a $150m production budget; Star Trek: Into Darkness grossed $467.4m worldwide (with a 51.1 per cent foreign take) on a $190m budget. Beyond will likely need at least a 50:50 foreign-domestic split to make back its money.

To this end, Paramount has smartly partnered with the Chinese e-commerce titan Alibaba as an investor. If the Star Trek can conquer China then it will safely continue its four-decade cinematic mission.