Wrestlers appearing in movies, as fictional wrestlers, is nothing new. Two of the most well-known examples would have to be Hulk Hogan’s Thunderlips in Rocky III, and the late Macho Man Randy Savage’s superb turn as Bonesaw McGraw in 2002′s SpiderMan. Both of these movies were box-office hits, but, of course, did not have a WWE superstar playing the lead role.
So what happens when a wrestler does take the lead in a big budget film? We take a look at some of the highs (and lows) of wrestler flicks…
Many of you will remember Hulk Hogan’s run of movies in the 1990s. Suburban Commando. Mr Nanny. And Santa With Muscles. Hulk Hogan was, without question, the most well-recognised wrestler on the planet at this time, yet his pop culture status did not lead to packed cinemas – far from it.
So it was somewhat of a surprise when WWE Studios was born in 2002, pushing wrestlers to the forefront of big film productions. Ever since the launch a decade ago, there’s been a host of grapplers making the transition from the squared circle to the silver screen, from The Rock, Stone Cold Steve Austin and John Cena, all the way to Kane and Ted Dibiase Jr (to name but a few).
Although it was co-produced, The Scorpion King, starring The Rock, has arguably been the most successful WWE Studios film so far, grossing a box office total of $165m. Unfortunately, income generated from other WWE projects has been far from what Mr. McMahon must have hoped for when he first made the decision to branch out on this new endeavour:
- Walking Tall starring The Rock – $23m
- The Marine starring John Cena – $22m
- 12 Rounds starring John Cena – $18m (which had a budget of $20m!)
- See No Evil starring Kane – $18m (yes, I was surprised too!)
- The Condemned starring Stone Cold Steve Austin and Nathan Jones – $8.6m
And at the other end of the scale:
- Legendary starring John Cena – $200k
- The Chaperone starring Triple H – $43k
- Knucklehead starring The BIg Show – $7k (I wonder if Big Show paid for his own ticket?)
All-in-all, the overall results do not make for good reading – yet WWE Studios must be making enough of a profit as they plan to release four new movies in 2012:
Bending the Rules (Adam ‘Edge’ Copeland) is due out on March 9th, followed by Stainless Steel (thought to be starring The Miz and Layla), Barricade (the first WWE studios film without a superstar appearing) and No One Lives (with the mighty Brodus Clay – somebody better call his mama) all being released later in the year.
These movies, again, are unlikely to make any great waves in the movie world in 2012, but I could, of course, be wrong. I’ll wait with bated breath to see if Brodus Clay wins an Oscar next year…
In my opinion, the major film release of the year will be The Avengers – as a big comic book fan, I cannot wait. So keep an eye out for my next article, coming to CollarAndElbow.com very soon, where I will be asking which wrestlers could fill the boots of Marvel’s superheroes. Stay tuned!