Variety is reporting that WWE Studios, the film arm of World Wrestling Entertainment, has struck new deals that change the way they do business. Samuel Goldwyn Films will distribute the films to theaters and Vivendi Entertainment will handle the home video releases. Neither company will be involved in production, as WWE is going to finance the films themselves. The plan is to produce 9 films for a total of $45 Million through 2012. Tax incentives for shooting the movies back to back in New Orleans will help them save a lot on production costs.
The plan is to eschew the wrestler driven R-rated genre films for PG family films that mix the wrestlers with established actors. They'll start with "Brother's Keeper," a drama about a teenage boy who joins the wrestling team in an attempt to reunite his family. John Cena, Patricia Clarkson(!), and Danny Glover will star in the film. To make things even weirder, it's written by John Posey, who played Danny Tanner in the original pilot for "Full House."
Also in the works are:
- "Knucklehead," a comedy featuring Big Show, Dennis Farina, and Mark Feuerstein (the star of USA's Royal Pains).
- "Big Red," a coming of age drama starring Randy Orton (I swear that I am not making any of this up).
- A thriller written specifically for Dave Batista to star in.
- Two other comedies including one featuring John Cena that was described as "'Midnight Run' with a kid."
The deal is a major win for Goldwyn as their first multi-picture deal. In the past, the distributor stuck with single-picture deals on independent films like "The Squid and the Whale," "Supersize Me," and the Kirk Cameron vehicle "Fireproof." "Fireproof" was an incredible success, made for $500,000 and grossing $33 million thanks to its Christian-focused marketing.