Details of the next WWE-produced movie—and Oscars 2012 dark horse—have begun to emerge. Called The Reunion (although IMDB are still calling the movie by its original name, Blood Brothers), the film stars current WWE Champion John Cena and indicates that WWE Studios are returning to their action roots.
This isn't surprising at all. In recent years, the company took a change in direction with their movies: instead of producing cheesy, mediocre action films, they started producing cheesy, mediocre family-themed flicks (The Chaperone, That's What I Am, Legendary, Knucklehead). The results at the box office ranged from middling to disastrous. That's What I Am lost a whopping $3 million and led to the man in charge of the film division at that time, Michael Pavone, quickly handing in his resignation and departing from company.
Sadly, it seems no one was ultimately that bothered about whether Randy Orton went to the papers or not.
The first poster for the movie was recently released and can be viewed here. Early pictures from the set can be seen here and suggests the film will have the tone of a Western, with Cena doing his best John Wayne impersonation.
Additionally, WWE Studios recently put out of a press release regarding their upcoming release, explaining the plot in detail:
The Cleary brothers, Sam (John Cena), Leo (Ethan Embry) and Douglas (Boyd Holbrook) take dysfunctional families to a new level: Sam and Leo have grown up hating each other and neither likes their juvenile kid brother, Douglas, to whom they've only recently been introduced. The three boys share the same father, but all have different mothers. Their father died a rich man and when they're brought together by their sister Nina (Amy Smart) to learn which one of them will inherit the old man's fortune, they are handed an unpleasant surprise. A requirement of the will is that the three estranged siblings go into business together as bail bondsmen. Their first job takes them into the mountains of Mexico where they encounter a drug lord and uncover a kidnapping plot, masterminded by an embittered entrepreneur (Michael Rispoli) that will endanger them all.
Someone getting kidnapped in a John Cena movie? Well, I never! Family strife? Well, that's a new one! He wants his brothers back and doesn't know how! Next you'll be telling me Cena bravely overcomes the odds in the end and recovers the abducted person, defeating the bad guy in the process!
Not to mention, I'm pretty sure if the three brothers went to court and challenged the outrageous terms of their old man's will they could probably get it overturned easily enough by a sensible judge. (Come on, forcing your family members to take on a dangerous, life-threating job to get a settlement from your will? How is this even legal?)
Notably, WWE Studios continue to attract decent Hollywood talent: Boyd "I need a new agent" Holbrook, who plays one of Cena's estranged brothers, starred in the Oscar-winning movie Milk and has a recurring role on Showtime's critically acclaimed comedy, The Big C.
Additionally, the film's cinematography is done by the Emmy-nominated Kenneth Zander, who has worked on numerous television shows and movies, including Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Desperate Housewives. However, all this amazing talent seems of little use if the scripts are as cliched and terrible as usual (which might may be something you could say about WWE Raw these days, interestingly enough).
The movie is getting a limited theatrical release on October 21st and will then be released on DVD and Blu-Ray a little over two weeks later, on November 8th. It will be likely be pushed heavily on WWE television in the upcoming weeks,too, like all WWE films are.
Under normal circumstances, I'd guess that having John Cena acting (and I use that term loosely) in the movie would ensure it does better numbers than previous debacles The Chaperone, Knucklehead, That's What I Am, etc. (which all sank without a trace at the box office).
Cena is one of the few draws in wrestling left, after all. But considering that the Cena-starring 12 Rounds and Legendary also didnt set the world on fire, either (even leading to The Miz taunting Cena about his poorly performing movies on Raw), it seems the whole WWE movie brand may be permanently tainted in the eyes of fans.
Sadly for Vince McMahon's movie aspirations, these days it simply doesn't matter who stars in the films: nobody is going to go see them anyway.