STAMFORD, Conn.–(BUSINESS WIRE)—-In keeping with its expansion as a global entertainment company, Vince McMahon’s World Wrestling Entertainment(R) and Stone Cold Steve Austin(TM) have come to an agreement for a three-picture deal under the WWE Films(TM) banner. WWE Films will produce and fully finance the films under the supervision of Joel Simon, President of WWE Films. Most recently, Steve wrapped a supporting role in The Longest Yard, starring Adam Sandler and directed by Peter Segal, scheduled for release by Paramount later this year.
Vince McMahon(TM), Chairman, World Wrestling Entertainment, Inc. states, “Having successfully submerged itself in the world of television and generated a host of superstar talent, WWE(R) is ideally positioned to bring its unique and powerful cultural sensibility to the motion picture industry. I am extremely excited about showcasing the talents of Stone Cold Steve Austin, John Cena(TM) and Kane(R); as well I truly believe these and other WWE Superstars will achieve new artistic and commercial successes on the big screen.”
Stone Cold Steve Austin’s first project for WWE Films will be The Condemned(TM), written by Rob and Andrew Hedden. The film will be executive produced by Vince McMahon and George Vrabeck. The film will be produced by Joel Simon in association with Sidestreet/New Wave Entertainment. The story deals with a cop on death-row who is given a second chance when chosen to compete on a deadly reality show. Pursued by ruthless killers, his survival and the key to his freedom depend on him surviving long enough to take down the one person responsible for putting him behind bars.
Aside from the Stone Cold Steve Austin deal, WWE Films, will produce and fully finance another two to four films a year. The first film out of the gate is The Marine(TM), currently in post-production in Los Angeles after wrapping production on location Queensland, Australia. The film stars and marks the motion picture debut of WWE SmackDown! (TM) Superstar John Cena (currently seen every Thursday night on WWE’s Smackdown! on UPN from 8:00pm-10:00pm EST.), and co-stars with Robert Patrick (Terminator 2, Ladder 49) and Kelly Carlson (Nip/Tuck). The Marine is directed by commercial helmer John Bonito (represented by ICM), based on an original spec script by Michell Gallagher that was subsequently rewritten by Alan McElroy (represented by Hohman Maybank Lieb). The film is executive produced by Vince McMahon and produced by Joel Simon, Kathryn Sommer, and Jonathan Winfrey. WWE has completed a deal with 20th Century Fox to distribute The Marine theatrically.
WWE Films is also in post-production on the tentatively titled Goodnight(TM), starring WWE RAW(R) Superstar Kane(R), also making his motion picture debut. The film is described as an intense horror movie with a unique and unusual setting. “We’ve created the classic bad guy, the classic monster,” Simon states. “We’re trying to create a villain franchise in the vein of Jason, Freddie and Pinhead.” The film is written by Dan Madigan (repped by ICM) and Harris Levine Wilkinson (repped by Justin Silvera) and directed by Gregory Dark (repped by ICM). The film is executive produced by Vince McMahon and produced by Joel Simon. WWE has completed a deal with Lions Gate to distribute Goodnight theatrically. WWE RAW Superstar Kane can currently be seen every Monday night on WWE Monday Night RAW live on Spike from 9:00pm-11:00pm EST.
The Marine and Goodnight were produced with the assistance of Queensland’s Pacific Film & Television Commission. Village Roadshow Production Management handled production services on both films.
World Wrestling Entertainment, Inc. finances the development of its films, culled from pitches, original screenplays, books, and articles. WWE Films also produces all of their projects in-house. WWE’s investment in its film products will include using all its various media platforms and marketing expertise to promote these films to the public. “There is a synergy within WWE that allows us to put our entire marketing and media infrastructure behind the opening of a WWE movie,” stated Simon. “We can promote our movies within our television programming, at our more than 325 annual live events, on the internet, and in our two magazines, “Smackdown” and “Raw”, as well as in our many home video and DVD offerings in order to expose our movies to the huge global WWE audience.”
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