For those of you unaware, Cannon Films was a beautiful little movie making company that was prevalent in the 1980’s. Focusing on creating B Movies on an A budget, Golan and Globus were able to make a massive number of cult successes that spanned from the horrendous schlock of The Apple, to buying old movie rights to make sequels such as Death Wish 2, to creating action fighting movies like one of my favorite of all time Bloodsport, and finally even dipping into the realms of fantasy with Masters of the Universe. Cannon Films were truly a treasure for anyone who enjoys watching good bad movies. A lot of them are bad, but they can all at least be memorable for their badness and for the most part can be enjoyable.
Cannon Films went under, for the most part, back in the late 80’s to early 90’s. But as time has worn on, there seems to be a new studio that has risen up to take their place and that studio is WWE Studios. It is weird, I know. But if you look at the parallels between the two you will see a striking number of similarities to the point that I dare say that we may have a new Cannon films for a new generation of movie watchers. Without further ado, these are the five reasons that WWE Studios is the new Cannon Films.
5. A Plethora of Action, Horror, and Comedy
If we step away from the Big Eight movie studios, most production companies have a very singular focus. Take Blumhouse for example, they deal, almost exclusively, in horror movies. It would make sense and while some tend to stray away from their comfort zone to explore some other options, many smaller companies tend to stay where they feel at home.
WWE Studios however, seems to be quite at home with making movies that feature action, horror, and comedy. The entire point of the Studio, originally, was to boost Dwayne Johnson into stardom which came action movies such as The Rundown and a remake of Walking Tall. Since this time however they have dived into the thriller area with movies like The Call and Dead Man Down, comedies like Knucklehead and Jingle All the Way 2, and definitely the horror genre which has made up a solid chunk of the studios production output.
Just like Cannon Films of the past, there is a great deal of variety that the studio puts out and while their comedy is, let’s just say terrible, for both production teams, the point is that each company was willing to expand their horizons and make movies for just about every genre imaginable.
4. They Collect Old Franchise Names and Make them New Again
One area that made Cannon Films great was the fact that they were willing to purchase the film rights to movies that the previous production company wanted nothing more to do with, thus gaining the rights to make sequels to said movies. Death Wish, Texas Chainsaw Massacre, and Exterminator all have Cannon Films to thank for their continued longevity. Just like Cannon, WWE Studios has taken up this strategy as well.
Movies like Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Jingle All the Way and the long forgotten horror-comedy Leprechaun have each been revived by WWE and given sequels for better or for worse. WWE Studios has also kept classic cartoon series like The Flintstones and Scooby Doo alive with this same business strategy with their X and WWE film series. While the success and quality of these films are heavily debatable, what cannot be denied is that movies like Jingle All the Way and Leprechaun would, more than likely, never achieve sequels or even be remembered if it weren’t for WWE Studios picking them up and championing them through their production studio.
3. A Cast of Unknown Actors
Well okay… Maybe they are not “unknown” but since WWE Studios uses pro wrestlers in the majority of their films, they certainly do not rely on the star power of Hollywood to push their production machine. Don’t get me wrong, they will still hire some excellent actors for their movie, just like Cannon would do. But Cannon also had a pool of potential talent at their disposal similar to that of WWE.
You can make parallels between the terrible yet campy acting and tight action sequences done by Jean Claude van Damme and The Miz and so on and so forth.
2. B Movies on A Budgets
I will say that WWE Studios does not hold a candle to the amount of money that Cannon would toss at just about any film, but the strategy is still the same. WWE Studios is willing to take risks with movies. They are willing to put $20 million dollars into a film that may or may not make its money back. They are willing to push the envelope and see what their money can get for them and for the most part it pays off. WWE Studios does have the benefit of a pro wrestling fan following and although many see the company as a joke, they still watch the movies none the less.
Also, like Cannon, they are not pulled into breaking bank on a movie. They are willing to spend $5 million on a movie in the hopes of making $40 million like Oculus. Unlike big budget schlock that bombs and sees them barely touch their obscene $250 million dollar budget, the strategy implemented by WWE Studios, similar to Cannon is built for longevity and success.
1. They are Bad… But That is Kind of the Point
I don’t think anyone is going to make any claims that The Apple was an underrated masterpiece. As much as I like Bloodsport, I have to admit that the movie is certainly flawed in many ways. I don’t think anyone will make any strong claims of timeless classic status for Cyborg, American Ninja, or Death Wish II. But that is kind of the point. These movies are B movies. They are enjoyable and campy in their own right and in many ways their badness is what makes them such enjoyable cult classics.
In many ways, WWE Studios is the same way. Out of every movie that WWE Studios has made since 2002, I would say there are only five that are of “decent” value; those being The Rundown, Walking Tall, The Marine, Oculus, and Queens of the Ring. Beyond that, the rest of them have been garbage. But once again, that is kind of the point. Yeah they are bad, but that is why you watch them. Most of them are a good bad and at least have enough of a self-aware badness that you can laugh along. Also, just like Cannon, there are a few movies out there that are just unwatchable. Movies like Knucklehead, The Chaperone, Santa’s Little Helper, and See No Evil are pretty much unwatchable. But every production company has one of those.
Just like Cannon in the 80’s, WWE Studios offers us amazing B Movies with the budget that a major company like WWE can provide.
Thank you for reading and as always, please like and subscribe for more. Come back Thursday for my review of Suicide Squad.