Didn't Paramount green light the sequel before the first film came out?
The film came out in May 2009 and we had news the sequel was green lit in March 2009.
A one-hundred and fifty million dollar movie and a sequel that was given the go-ahead before the first ticket was sold... sounds like Paramount had an awful lot of faith in a 'dead' property.
Even if the Abrams film had bombed, I don't believe the property would've died. It likely would've had a more radical reboot done.