Ashley Bell fending off attacks by the undead in, "The Day." (Petr Maur/WWE Studios and Anchor Bay Films)
"WWE Studios" has often been the punch line in many pro wrestling fans' jokes. For example:
Q: "What's big and stupid and loses over $100 million a year? A: WWE Studios"
Hey, I never said pro wrestling fans were particularly funny.
Perhaps this is why WWE Studios is currently trying to branch out from their See No Evil and The Chaperone brand of fame. In addition to making their own [bad] content, WWE Studios has now delved into partnerships to co-produce and distribute films that legitimately possess a snowball's chance of success.
The first of these movie efforts to hit the theaters so far is, The Day, an entry in the Toronto International Film Festival featuring Shawn Ashmore (Iceman of X-Men fame) along with co-star Dominic Monaghan, aka The Lord of the Rings' Meriadoc Brandybuck and LOST's Charlie Pace.
The official promotional synopsis states:
"A group of five survivors, armed with shotguns, axes and machetes, wander the back roads of a ravaged landscape looking for refuge in The Day, a terrifying look into a post-apocalyptic future. As war ravages humanity, destroying civilization and most of life on earth, the survivors realize they must do whatever it takes to stay alive. Lost, starving, and exhausted, they seek shelter in a seemingly safe abandoned farmhouse. However, while searching for food and resources, they unwittingly set off a trap signaling to their ruthless predators lying in wait to begin their deadly attack. With food and ammunition dwindling, the group must make a desperate final stand-over a 24 hour period-battling for their ultimate survival."
This is a fresh start, a 'new day' even, for a bright new WWE Studios; an Indie film that has no direct ties to Stamford, CT. If WWE Studios were fortuitous enough to land a cult hit with The Day, it might actually be able to change the perception that currently hangs over its head.
The reviews are in and they are...well, let's just say, "they are mixed."
"The Day is just good enough to engage audiences, but it falls well short of remarkable, leaving viewers wishing for a dawn that never breaks." - Mark Olson, LA Times
"The Day is not a classic, not by a long shot, but it's not a disaster, either. With movies like this, that counts as a small victory." - Bill Goodykoontz, Arizona Republic
"but towards the end you might find yourself thinking, 'well, this could have been worse', but you'll mean it as a compliment." - Elizabeth Welzman, NY Daily
So what we have here is a movie that has a few decent moments but overall fails to satisfy its audience? Sounds familiar... just like most episodes of Raw lately, huh?
This wouldn't be a WWE entity though without the Big Brother treatment; WWE.com has garnered a couple of positive reviews about The Day, one of which is the aforementioned LA Times review. Of course a few nice words that Olson wrote were to be found, but conveniently it was opted to leave out his whole "leaving viewers wishing for a dawn that never breaks" part.
There's, "trying to get a blurb for your movie" and then there's, "ignore the entire context of the review all together". I understand that they have to get people excited to see the movie but couldn't they have found another review that perhaps didn't sum up The Day as "unremarkable"?
It looks like WWE Studios didn't exactly get what they were banking on with The Day, although to be fair, this is only their first go at distribution. WWE Studios should probably be shown some amount of commendation, though, for trying to venture out of the PG-13 box they've recently placed themselves in. After all, it was a bit of a risk on their part to pick up a movie that goes blatantly against WWE's "family friendly" programming.
Maybe The Day will be a swing and a miss for them but at least they're trying something new, and that is refreshing.