The Condemned
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4 items from 2007

Lake new WWE Films president

5 October 2007 | The Hollywood Reporter | See recent The Hollywood Reporter news »

NEW YORK -- Michael Lake is replacing Joel Simon as president of World Wrestling Entertainment's film division, which has been struggling at the boxoffice.

A spokesman for the sports entertainment powerhouse said Thursday that WWE has hired Lake for a two-year contract.

Lake will develop theatrical features and direct-to-video products as vehicles for WWE Superstars. He says he plans to ramp up production on WWE Films' straight-to-video slate, aiming to produce around three to four films annually along with a theatrical tentpole feature. He will also develop new TV projects that would benefit from an affiliation with WWE or its talent.

He most recently served as executive producer on one of three WWE films the company has produced in the last five years, The Condemned, starring wrestling star "Stone Cold" Steve Austin. The movie struggled at the boxoffice but has done solid home-video business in recent weeks.

The exec, a veteran of Village Roadshow Pictures, has overseen production work on such Hollywood hits as the Matrix trilogy, Miss Congeniality and Ocean's Eleven.

"Joel is leaving to pursue a career as an independent producer," a WWE spokesman said of Simon's departure. »

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'Disturbia' tops slow frame as 'Spidey 3' looms

30 April 2007 | The Hollywood Reporter | See recent The Hollywood Reporter news »

The North American boxoffice appeared to be marking time during the weekend as if waiting for Friday's expected blowout, when Sony Pictures' Spider-Man 3 comes knocking. None of a weak array of new arrivals managed to break through the $10 million barrier, so the teen thriller Disturbia remained king of the hill for the third frame in a row.

Of the newcomers, Buena Vista Pictures' The Invisible, tapping into the same younger audience as Disturbia, ranked second overall with an estimated $7.6 million. The Nicolas Cage sci-fi thriller Next, from Paramount Pictures and Revolution Studios, had to settle for third place and an estimated $7.2 million, while the "Stone Cold" Steve Austin actioner The Condemned, from Lionsgate, entered the list in ninth place with an estimated $4 million. As for the Yari Film Group's Kickin' It Old Skool, starring Jamie Kennedy, it finished outside the top 10 with an estimated $2.8 million.

According to Nielsen EDI, the weekend represented a 23% drop from the comparable weekend last year, when Sony's RV led the pack with $16.4 million. But though the past two weekends have shown steep declines from last year, the spring season, which began March 9 and concludes Thursday, has set record numbers. With $1.231 billion in Hollywood's coffers, this spring is outpacing the record spring of 2004 that took in $1.2 billion. And while that year The Passion of the Christ dominated as the top grosser with $370.3 million, this year the wealth has been spread around a bit more since top grosser 300 has accounted for $207 million.

For Paramount, it was a good news/bad news weekend. The studio's Disturbia, from DreamWorks and Montecito Pictures, ranked first for the third weekend in a row as it fell just 30% while taking in an estimated $9.1 million.

Directed by D.J. Caruso and starring Shia LaBeouf as a housebound teen who suspects a neighbor of murder, the film -- written by Christopher Landon and Carl Ellsworth -- crossed the $50 million mark, hitting an estimated $52.2 million. »

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Steve “Stone Cold” Austin from The Condemned

26 April 2007 12:52 PM, PDT | The Scorecard Review | See recent Scorecard Review news »

The night before I sat down with Steve Austin, there was a screening of his new film, “The Condemned.” After we were all seated, Austin strolled in, looking like a giant. It seems a natural fit for the former Wwe wrestler to be the new action-star. “The Condemned” stars Austin and Vinny Jones (“X-Men: The Last Stand”) as two of 10 convicts on death-row who are sent to a deserted island where they fight to the death while the world watches on the Internet. The next day, I went to shake his hand and actually had a stronger grip then him. In fact, his whole demeanor was laid back. At no point did I fear my body would end up getting slammed. Austin struck me as a man who would rather be »

- Jeff Bayer

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The Condemned

25 April 2007 | The Hollywood Reporter | See recent The Hollywood Reporter news »


The posters for The Condemned include the tagline "10 People Will Fight. 9 People Will Die. You Get to Watch."

They ran out of space before they could include the words " ... and be Bored Silly" by this D-grade Running Man ripoff, starring World Wrestling Entertainment superstar Steve Austin as one of a group of death row cons (including a couple of women) who fight for their freedom on a streaming webcast orchestrated by a ratings-mad producer.

As off-putting and ridiculous as it is ponderous, this WWE Films enterprise should have been condemned to fight for space on the DVD shelves rather than be thrust upon unsuspecting moviegoers, but distributor Lionsgate obviously has other ideas.

Directed by Scott Wiper (2000's equally derivative A Better Way to Die), from a script he penned with Rob Hedden, the story centers on an egotistical TV producer (Robert Mammone, with a seeming nod in the direction of Joe Francis) who's determined to get the kind of viewers for reality programming that broadcasters can no longer deliver.

His brainchild involves corralling 10 condemned killers, with names like the German, the Italian, the Russian and Paco, and let them go at one another on a remote island, played by Australia.

The last man standing wins his freedom, and the producer pockets millions.

But a potential spoiler has arrived in the intimidating form of Jack Conrad (Austin), a good ol' Lubbock, Texas, boy, sentenced to death in an El Salvador prison with a covert past and a real sense of decency beneath that menacing brawn.

He proves to be a considerable match for resident sicko McStarley (Vinnie Jones), a sadistic British special forces agent with a history of rape, torture and murder.

All the ensuing gratuitous violence and mock moralizing about society's voyeuristic craving for this kind of stuff might have been met with more revulsion had the movie not been so dopey and tedious.

While some of those contestants blow up real good (they're outfitted with ankle-bracelet bombs that discharge if they are tampered with), the lags in between are killer, and the dialogue isn't even B-movie worthy.

Austin, who has proved himself a capable actor before on Nash Bridges and in the Adam Sandler version of The Longest Yard, does his stoic thing but hasn't been handed the sufficient tools to work with by Wiper and Hedden. »

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