‘Star Trek Into Darkness” first 9 minutes to play in front of ‘The Hobbit’ this Dec.

Many wondered why Warner Bros. would put last year’s “Dark Knight Rises” sneak in front of “Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol” when that clearly helped the latter film’s performance at the box office. But whether it was in writing or not, it appears Warner Bros. will now benefit from a massive Paramount franchise when the first nine minutes of “Star Trek Into Darkness” screens in front of “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” beginning on December 14.

The footage from J.J. Abrams’ blockbuster sequel will screen only in IMAX 3D (amounting to about 500 theaters), making this the first time such an advance look has screened exclusively in the large-screen format.

“Our longtime partners J.J. Abrams, Bryan Burk and the Bad Robot team have really hit it out of the park – the footage is absolutely incredible,” said IMAX Filmed Entertainment Chairman and President Greg Foster in a statement.  “Their use of the IMAX Camera and canvas is sure to impress current and future ‘Star Trek’ fans alike, and we”re thrilled to once again work with our friends at Paramount Pictures to offer this extended ‘first look” at this highly anticipated summer blockbuster.”

Abrams used IMAX cameras to film several sequences in the sequel, something he did not do for the 2009 original despite the film also being exhibited in the format.

“Star Trek Into Darkness” hits theaters on May 17, 2013.

Will you be buying tickets to “The Hobbit” in IMAX 3D in order to view the “Star Trek” footage? Let us know in the comments.