Star Trek III’s release suffered heavily outside of North America due to the juggernaut that was Ghostbusters, earning less than $10m in the foreign movie market.
To help boost the followup’s marketability in Europe, Asia, South America and Australia, Paramount changed the fourth movie’s title to The Voyage Home: Star Trek IV. The video shown here is the special prologue added to foreign theatrical prints to bring the audience up to speed.
This may have worked to some extent; Star Trek IV did $24m in business outside of the United States, a fifth of the film’s overall earnings.
To show how much things have changed, Star Trek Into Darkness made $467m worldwide and $239m of that was from the foreign market. That’s roughly 51%.
(And yes, the video sounds a bit sped up; it’s a common problem with the conversion of PAL video to NTSC.)
I find this weirdly fascinating, and now I wonder if there are other “lost” bits of movies I never knew about.