Why Paramount execs thought sci-fi horror Event Horizon “besmirched” Star Trek

event-horizonParamount Pictures

It’s been nearly 25 years since Event Horizon flopped at the box office, but it terrified those who did catch the sci-fi horror. To celebrate this anniversary, director Paul W.S. Anderson has been looking back at the experience, and explaining why Paramount felt it somehow disrespected Star Trek.

Event Horizon stars Sam Neill, Laurence Fishburne, Joely Richardson, Jason Isaacs, and Sean Pertwee as the crew of the Lewis and Clark, a rescue vessel sent to investigate the reappearance of the starship Event Horizon, which disappeared some seven years previous.

They search the spacecraft, find evidence of an experiment that ripped a hole in the space-time continuum, and then all hell really does break loose.

Event Horizon hit screens in August 1997. That release date was moved up so Titanic could set sail during the festive season, and meant Anderson only had one month to assemble a test cut. And studio Paramount weren’t happy with what they saw.

How Event Horizon slandered Star Trek

Speaking to Variety about that early cut, Anderson said Paramount were shocked, and felt that he’d somehow slandered space.

The director explains: “Someone actually said to me, ‘We’re the studio that makes Star Trek!’ They weren’t only horrified by my movie; they felt I was besmirching Star Trek somehow, because I was also in space and doing all this terrible stuff.”

The horror peppered throughout Event Horizon also wasn’t suited to the summer season, with the film grossing less than its $60 million budget. But Event Horizon has since become a cult hit, with audiences eventually discovering the movie on VHS and DVD.

Kurt Russell saw the film’s potential

In spite of Event Horizon failing to make its money back, Anderson told Variety “We delivered a movie that really stayed with people. I think that overtime it’s been appreciated for that.”

Kurt Russell was a fan, and had nice things to say about Event Horizon before he and Anderson collaborated on Soldier.

Anderson explains: “I showed him Event Horizon. He said, ‘Paul, in 20 years time, that’s the movie you’re going be really glad you made.’ He was right! I thought it was very generous of Kurt, considering I was about to go make a movie with him.

“The film was striking. It didn’t pull its punches and it was true to what it wanted to do. We didn’t have a huge amount of time to cut trailers and do posters and do a very elaborate campaign, but over time people found the movie. It’s been a wonderful experience to see the audience for it grow.”

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