WWE Executive Speaks out About WWE Studios, Why It's so Valuable

Sharon GlencrossContributor IMay 26, 2013

The Marine 3: Homefront (from wwe.com)
The Marine 3: Homefront (from wwe.com)

Speaking at a business conference in Boston last week, WWE executive George Barrios opened up about WWE Studios and explained why he felt it was so valuable to the company's future.

As PWInsider notes, WWE Chief Financial Officer Barrios said that he felt being involved in the film business boosted WWE's mainstream profile:

When I was watching The Call at my movie theater and the WWE logo comes up and you can hear people going, WWE, is that the wrestling and the movie comes on, can you put a price tag in that moment? No. Over time, do we think if we are successful, does that broaden the brand? We think so.

Of course, how accurate this is remains to be seen. Sure, the company's name may get out there, but how does that help them? It's not like they've ever had problems with name recognition like TNA or ROH. People know who they are. That's not the issue.

Barrios also acknowledged that WWE Studios had struggled to be financially successful in the past but explained that they had brought in a new president to turn things around:

We brought someone in with commercial experience in the movie industry, specifically Miramax, Michael Luisi. And he's been running the business of movies being released at this point starting late last year and we’ve released three so far this year, actually four.

So, how has Luisi's run gone? Well, even factoring in the mediocre box office performance of Dead Man Down, it's difficult to argue he hasn't been more successful than his predecessor, Michael Pavone.

Under Pavone, WWE Studios' churned out several movies that performed badly, including That's What I Am, Inside Out and Knucklehead.

Pavone's main problem seems to have been that he felt WWE should be producing serious art movies or cheesy family comedies. While there is undoubtedly an audience for these types of films, they don't seem likely to attract your average wrestling fan.

Come on. Is anyone that bothered about seeing a movie where Triple H gets out of jail and tries to turn over a new leaf?

Luisi, however, appears to understand that the real potential lies in popcorn thrillers and action movies.

One of Luisi's first big projects, The Call, was a massive hit when it was released back in March, taking in $51 million in its domestic run on a small $13 million budget.

Direct-to-DVD action thriller The Marine 3: Homefront, starring Mike "The Miz" Mizanin, has also done tremendously well, shifting 153,000 copies in its first four weeks of release in North America (via The Numbers).

As the Wrestling Observer Newsletter (h/t Wrestling Inc.) mentions, this puts it on track to be the best-selling WWE DVD of the year.

Even low-budget horror flick No One Lives did moderately well in its limited release, taking in almost $75,000.

It will be interesting to see how well 12 Rounds 2: Reloaded performs when it's released on DVD and Blu-Ray on June 4.

Are fans of The Viper eager to see him an action film? Or are they more interested in finding out if he ever went to the papers?