This month STARTREK.COM is proud to celebrate the anniversary of the very first Web site created to promote a major motion picture.
In October 1994, the Internet was used primarily to send e-mail, post to message boards, or visit news groups on a wide variety of topics. The "World Wide Web" was still a mystery to most of the population. Fewer than a million people in the United States had access to it: mostly university students, high-technology industry workers, and a few hardy "early adopters" of some fledgling on-line services.
Coincidentally, many of those people were also Star Trek fans. It seemed like a natural fit when an enterprising investment analyst at Paramount proposed building a Web site to promote the upcoming feature film "Star Trek Generations."
After demonstrating the concept to Sherry Lansing (Chairman, Paramount Motion Picture Group), the project received her personal greenlight. A team was then assembled at the Paramount Media Kitchen in Palo Alto, California to make the concept a reality. Working from the traditional print press-kit materials for the film, plus videotapes of the movie trailers and two dozen slides, the site was constructed and launched.
You can view a special "time capsule" version of the site, with additional commentary, here.
The "Generations" site was an immediate success, quickly becoming one of the hottest destinations on the Web. Pages were viewed millions of times by fans around the world and when the movie opened three weeks later, it enjoyed the biggest weekend box-office total of any Star Trek movie to date.
Before long all of the major studios followed suit, building sites to promote their films. Paramount continued the trend, creating sites for movies like "Clueless," "The Indian in the Cupboard," "Congo" and "Braveheart," the Academy Award winner for Best Picture of 1995.
Now, eleven years later, over a billion people around the globe have access to the Web. Every new movie has its own Web site; every movie poster, print ad and trailer features a Web address. The Web has progressed exponentially over the years, from a nice way to view text and images online, to a multi-media behemoth that is still in a phase of transition and growth.
It seems only natural that Star Trek was the first to venture into the new "cyber frontier."
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