World Wrestling Entertainment has just announced that they will enter a first-look distribution deal with 20th Century Fox. According to Variety, beginning next year, WWE Films plans to develop, finance and produce at least one theatrical release and up to four direct-to-video titles annually, with Fox receiving a distribution fee should it release the feature films in theaters, on homevideo or digitally.
WWE also plans to make movies across all genres that appeal to a broader audience and land a PG-13 rating, vs. the hard R it had been going after with its previous feature films. "We had to refocus where we wanted to go," said Michael Lake, president of WWE Films, a former Village Roadshow exec who took the post in October and quickly began reworking the company's development slate. "There's a strong audience base that is ready for movies that star our guys. A lot of our audience is in the PG-13 area."
The first WWE and 20th Century Fox tag-team picture is 12 Rounds. The picture will star action hero John Cena and will be released in theaters in 2009.