More Star Trek: John Cho is Sulu + $160 Million Budget?!
It was only a matter of hours ago that the news about Simon Pegg being cast as Scotty in Star Trek XI broke. Quickly following that up is news that Harold & Kumar's John Cho has been cast as Hikaru Sulu, the ship's helmsman. This is yet another odd choice of an actor for a major role in the next Star Trek film, and I just hope J.J. Abrams knows what he is doing. On top of that, reports are stating that the budget on the film is pushing upwards of around $160 million.
John Cho as Sulu already joins Simon Pegg as Scotty, Anton Yelchin as Chekov, Zoe Saldana as Uhura, Zachary Quinto as Spock, and Chris Pine as Captain Kirk. Still uncast is Bones, although I'm unsure if he'll get a role in the film at all, Captain Christopher Pike, the first captain of the Enterprise, and Kirk's parents.
Additional reports from inside sources claim that the budget on the film originally started at $130 million and is veering upwards of around $150-$160 million. Paramount apparently is not too happy, but I'm sure the fans will be a bit more pleased to know that it's getting that much funding. They're really sparing no expense to go all-out and make this one hell of a mainstream film.
No other Star Trek movie (out of 10 previously made) has ever earned $160 million at the box office. The closest contender was Star Trek: First Contact from 1996, which earned $146 worldwide. Most of the previous Star Trek films, starting with Star Trek: The Motion Picture in 1979, made around $80 to $120 million at the box office domestically. It seems like they're taking a gamble with Star Trek XI and hoping that it'll be embraced by mainstream audiences.
I can tell you right now that they've got a very diversified and talented cast. John Cho will get the stoners who know him from Harold & Kumar, Simon Pegg will draw the massive fanboy audiences, Zach Quinto will draw a lot from TV audiences, and Chris Pine from the females who known him in Just My Luck. With an early May release in 2009, they've almost got a guaranteed smash hit on their hands. Do you agree?