As The Miz would say: "Awesome!"
Per industry magazine Home Media Magazine, WWE Studios movie The Marine 3: Homefront rocketed to the top 20 DVD chart upon its release last week, ranking in at #12 and #15 on the DVD and Blu-ray lists respectively.
(A quick search of some WWE titles on the site tells me it's the first Vince McMahon-produced film in a long time to make that list.)
No official budget has been released, but having watched the film, I can't imagine it cost any more than $2 or $3 million. Therefore, factoring in rentals and distribution deals, it will likely make a healthy profit when all is said and done.
Credit for the film's success should go at least partly to Miz, who really was all over the place promoting it, including Conan on TBS. The film may also have been aided by better-than-usual reviews from critics.
Throw in the colossal box office success of The Call, another WWE Studios film, this week, and what does this tell us about what the film division must do to thrive in the future?
Well, at this point, it's clear the WWE might be best served to avoid art movies like Dead Man Down and That's What I Am. Sure, both were decent films, but they also floundered with film audiences.
Brooding neo-noir Dead Man Down has also struggled greatly to find its audience in theaters since its release on March 8, as Box Office Mojo reveals.
It might simply be too hard to promote and market such films to action-hungry young male fans who make up a large part of WWE's audience. It's also possible that WWE has such a tarnished name in Hollywood that no one can take it seriously when it gets into "thoughtful" movies.
At this point Vince McMahon and company might be better off sticking to military-themed straight-to-DVD flicks like The Marine franchise (as noted by the WrestleChat link, the first two films were also financially successful) and fun popcorn thrillers, like The Call.
The straight-to-DVD category, in particular, is a potentially huge market. Especially with veteran stars of the genre Steven Seagal, Dolph Lundgren and Wesley Snipes getting on in years. New, younger, muscle-bound stars are needed, and WWE can help provide them.
Thanks to its huge financial resources, the company can also churn out quality-looking films.
As noted, The Marine 3: Homefront may not have had a huge budget, but it still looks notably better made than your average direct-to-DVD action film, which are usually produced for peanuts. (Steve Austin/Steven Seagal recently released flick, Maximum Conviction, in particular, looks like it was made in the basement of Austin's mansion one weekend or something.)
No doubt some fans, tired of all the movie trailers played throughout Raw and SmackDown, will roll their eyes at the success of The Call and The Marine 3: Homefront. Maybe some would rather see WWE Studios consigned to the dustbin of history like all other failed McMahon side-projects.
But, come on, people should want the company to thrive in other areas.
After all, any success Vince McMahon has outside of wrestling can be poured directly back into his wrestling promotion. The wrestlers themselves would also benefit from the mainstream exposure associated with appearing in movies.
Besides, how else are we going to get The Marine 4: Are You Serious, Bro?, my proposed comedy-action sequal starring Zack Ryder as a Star Wars-obsessed Marine who has to save his best friend Mike Chiappetta after he's kidnapped by terrorists?
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