Despite receiving mixed reviews from critics, WWE Studios thriller The Call grossed an impressive $6.2 million on Friday night, en route to a projected $16-$17 million opening weekend (numbers via The Hollywood Reporter).
Assuming the movie, with Oscar winner Halle Berry as a troubled 911 operator, continues to perform well, it should come in at No. 2 at the U.S. box office behind Disney blockbuster Oz the Great and Powerful.
This marks WWE Studios' best opening weekend for a film to date, easily overtaking the $7 million made by 2006's The Marine.
Deadline touted The Call's good numbers, noting the film had "shocked Hollywood for 2nd place" by doing far better than previous front-runner The Incredible Burt Wonderstone.
The site went on to mention that distributor Sony had aimed the film's marketing mainly towards women and African Americans, a tactic that appears to have paid off.
The Call's success is even more impressive when you consider its very modest budget. As The Hollywood Reporter noted, the film only cost $13 million to make.
So, the film can be considered a much-needed triumph for WWE's movie division, and one that will hopefully go some way to making up for the mediocre box office performance of Dead Man Down, another movie it co-produced, earlier this month.
WWE Studios received more good news this week when it emerged that action sequel The Marine 3: Homefront had become a major hit, with Dave Meltzer noting in this week's (subscribers-only) Wrestling Observer Newsletter, that "internally, the early DVD sales from this past week were said to be above studio expectations and it was top 25 for the week." The Miz, who stars in the film, also took to his Twitter to note that first-day sales of the movie were "Insane."
After a decade of missteps and flops, it is possible that WWE Studios has finally found its groove?