From my perspective, as a fan, the anticipation was off the scale. We knew it would be the final TOS adventure, there were persistent leaks that the crew would all go down in a blaze of glory (cleverly fanned by the ambiguous comments made by old Spock in the TNG episode "Unification"), and it was the 25th anniversary.
I have no idea how excited non-fans were getting over it - judging by its box office, it seems to have been a big improvement over STV:TFF, but nowhere in the league of the first four films.
There was a ton of media coverage for TUC : it was the 25th anniversary, the movie was cleverly teased in a Next Gen episode (Unification), there was loads of new merchandise coming out all throught 1991 to cash in on the anniversary, and there were rumours flying around suggesting some of the crew might get killed off.
Given all this media excitement, you'd have to guess Paramount were disappointed with TUC's performance, otherwise the TOS crew would have been on the bigscreen circa 1993. So my guess is for non-fans it didn't really cut through.