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Amid Redstone-Viacom legal battle, Paramount pushes 'Star Trek'

While the battle over the future of Viacom is being waged in the mansions of Beverly Hills and the halls overlooking Times Square, what happens in San Diego at Comic-Con could have a major impact on the business.

Among the issues at hand — as Sumner Redstone, and his daughter Shari, fight with Viacom CEO Philippe Dauman — is whether Viacom's studio, Paramount, should sell a hefty piece to a strategic investors: Dauman says yes, Redstone says no.

And Paramount's crown jewel this summer is "Star Trek Beyond," which opens nation-wide this weekend, as Star Trek turns 50. The pressure is on for this sequel to be a hit: Paramount is in sixth and last place among the major studios in terms of box office market share so far this year.

The bar has been set high: the last Star Trek film grossed $467 million worldwide. And Paramount spent a reported $150 million on the budget of the film and much more and marketing.

An image from the movie "Star Trek Beyond"
Source: Paramount Pictures | YouTube
An image from the movie "Star Trek Beyond"

Here at Comic-Con, Paramount pulled out all the stops to appeal to die-hard fans and generate buzz for the film. It premiered "Star Trek Beyond" on the eve of the big Comic-Con weekend just steps from the convention center with the first ever outdoor IMAX premiere. The San Diego Symphony Orchestra played a live score while fireworks matched the action on the screen.

Initial reviews have been positive—the film has a 90 percent critics score on Rotten Tomatoes, and 99 percent of moviegoers who responded on the site say they want to see it.

In addition to the slew of fan-created art and gear sold on the floor of the convention center, the studio is hosting a number of panels, including one with William Shatner about the brand's fiftieth anniversary.

Another is called "Science, Smithsonian and Star Trek," including a curator at the Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum. The range of Star Trek content is broad: MAC Cosmetics is offering a sneak peek and pre-sale of a new makeup line "inspired by the Women of Star Trek." And there's an art exhibit featuring 50 artists commemorating the anniversary.

And Star Trek is also a featured part of the new direct-to-consumer app created by Viacom's sister company — CBS All Access. There will be a number of conversations about the new Star Trek series being developed for 'CBS All Access' direct-to-consumer app.

Now the folks at Comic-Con are already thinking about the recently-announced fourth Star Trek film. And Shari and Sumner Redstone are likely thinking that a huge hit this weekend would make it more valuable to hold onto the studio.