Real World article
(written from a Production point of view)
Cover Star Trek The Motion Picture, Super 8.jpg


Super 8 release
Series: Star Trek films
No. of reels: 1 or 3 (all editions)
Director: Robert Wise
Release date: Q4 1980
Rating(s): n/a
Reference: 1070 (all single reel editions)
1080, 1081, and 1082 (all three-reel editions)
Year: 2270s
Super 8 interior casing of The Motion Picture.png

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Star Trek: The Motion Picture was the Super 8 home media film release of Star Trek: The Motion Picture. By the time of its release, the Super 8 home media format was already on its way out, in favor of the new, successful Betamax/VHS video tape formats, and the title has, to date, become the only one Star Trek production known to have been officially released by the franchise in the format.

Background information

  • The theatrical cut of the movie was spread over three 120 meter (400 foot) film reels, each reel separately packaged, its boxes endowed with sub-titles for the German-language version. [1](X)
  • Also available was a severely cut, single reel, "selected scene version" (as coined on the back cover of the box) of the movie, but that, as a German reviewer has observed, was essentially "one long movie commercial" or a "glorified trailer". Yet, the same reviewer has also noted that the single-reel variant contained scenes lacking on the three-reel theatrical version, almost certainly the same ones that were later inserted in the "Special Longer Version", aka the "1983 Television Version". [2](X)
  • As indicated on the box(es), the releases intended for North America came in three language dubbed variants; English, French, and Spanish. Which language audio track a film box contained was indicated by simple stickers on both box and film reel. Being a bona fide film format, and thus not beholden to the varying television color systems, the release was not exclusive to America, as it was disseminated to other areas in the world as well, where any of the three languages was the native (or second) one.
  • Paramount Pictures opted not to distribute the Super 8 format themselves, but instead farm out distribution to German Super 8 specialist "Marketing-Film" through its on 23 September 1980 established New York City subsidiary "Marketing Film International, Inc." for all countries, indicated by the fact that Marketing-Film's catalog numbers applied for all countries/language editions. [3] [4] Paramount's own distribution arm, Paramount Home Video, concentrated on the home market distribution of the video tape formats.
  • As Paramount had at that time no immediate plans yet to concurrently disseminate the new home market media abroad (in the UK for example, the first Motion Picture tapes only started to show up from mid-1981 onward, well over half a year after the movie tapes had hit the American home market, and then in the rental circuit only at first), it is conceivable that it became the reason for them to employ the by then already obsolete Super 8 format for the movie as well, a preliminary, intermediate stop-gap solution of sorts, in the process also explaining why The Motion Picture has remained the only Star Trek movie title released in its entirety in the format, even though it is known that United International Pictures has disseminated a trailer reel of Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan in the format, akin to the one-reel version of The Motion Picture, on an extremely limited scale as late as 1982. [5](X)
  • At least one other language edition is known to exist, the (unsurprisingly) German language variant, distributed by mother company Marketing-Film. German customers had also the option to acquire the movie in the two variants, as the single reel version, or as the complete three-reel Star Trek - Der Film variant in their "Marketing Film Club" collection, the latter endowed with the sub-titles "Mission Enterprise", "Alarmstufe 'Rot'", and "10 Minuten bis zur Ewigkeit", respectively.
  • Due to the high retail prices the format entailed, the majority of the releases ended up in the film festival or rental outlet circuit. According to their 1982 (German) price lists, [6](X) Marketing-Film offered the movie up for sale at DM79.00-DM89.00 (US$115-$130, adjusted for 2016 prices) per reel for the three-reel theatrical version. [7](X) Contemporary prices for the videotape counterparts, while still steep in current understanding, were considerably less, coming approximately in at roughly half the total price for the Super 8 theatrical release.
  • According to the German reviewer, the German language edition was awkwardly dubbed. Notable was that V'ger was dubbed "Vega", which negated the "punchline" of the movie.
  • A Super 8 reel of The Motion Picture has in 2016 made an appearance in a Star Trek parody and pop culture production. In the short-lived television science fantasy series The Shannara Chronicles (Season 1, Episode 7: "Utopia"), humans in a far-flung future had uncovered a Super 8 copy of the movie, which they erroneously took as real evidence of the great scientific achievements of ancient men. Shown were lines from Scene 156, in which only Spock and Admiral James T. Kirk discuss the mission in the officers' lounge; the theatrical cut had Doctor Leonard McCoy present in the scene as well.


External link

Previous release:
"The Trouble with Tribbles"
Star Trek films
Super 8
Next release:
Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (Trailer reel)

Super 8BetamaxSpecial Longer Version BetaVHSSpecial Longer Version VHSThe Director's Edition VHSCEDLaserDiscSpecial Longer Version LDVCDVHDThe Director's Edition DVDDVDBlu-rayDigital

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