It looks like the theatrical box office laid a smackdown on the WWE.

In a story from The Hollywood Reporter, apparently a gross of about $4.4 million dollars for The Condemned since it opened last Friday has gotten the folks at World Wrestling Entertainment into the direct-to-video mindset.

The Condemned is distributed by Lionsgate.

"We are now able to move more into direct-to-video production, and that will be the next focus," said CEO Linda McMahon "during the sports entertainment powerhouse's first-quarter earnings call."

However, that hasn't stopped them from considering releasing movies theatrically as "the WWE is in talks with a major studio on a potential deal for direct-to-video or theatrical distribution on a first-look basis."

McMahon still stands by the WWE's film strategy saying that "its first three theatrical releases were important to get a foot into Hollywood and expand the visibility of the firm's brand beyond its traditional fan base."

She went on to say that at some point, with all the ancillary markets to consider,

"all three movies will make money or at worst break even."

The WWE thinks "the weaker-than-expected performance" might be due to "The Condemned's R rating."

So far, the WWE's box office track RECORD saw See No Evil come out in 2006 and gross $15 million. Their other film was The Marines which took in $18.8 million.

Evan Jacobs