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Thursday, 1 August, 2002, 11:42 GMT 12:42 UK
Wrestling goes to Hollywood
World Wrestling Federation bout
WWE was forced to change its name
The biggest names in wrestling could be making the leap into movies as World Wide Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) opens an office in Los Angeles.

By opening an office on the doorstop of Hollywood WWE, formerly known as World Wrestling Federation, hopes to promote its stable of wrestlers such as the Undertaker and Stone Cold Steve Austin for film and television roles.

The Rock
The Rock starred in The Scorpion King
WWE character The Rock, aka Dwayne Douglas Johnson, has already made a successful transition into movies, having appeared in The Mummy Returns.

Following this outing, The Rock went on to star in box office hit The Scorpion King.

Hulk Hogan is another wrestling giant who went into films, although his roles are rooted firmly in his wrestling persona.

Heading the WWE office will be industry veteran Joel Simon, whose brief will be to develop films and television shows for its wrestling stars, which would appeal both to loyal fans and a new audience.

'New venture'

His previous credits as a producer include comic book adaptation X-Men and Wild Wild West, and he was previously president of Quincy Jones Media.

"In Joel Simon, we have someone with the tenure and expertise to make this new venture a success," said WWE chief executive officer Linda McMahon.

Among the projects the new division hopes to produce are made-for-TV movies, specials and series tied to the WWE brand.

WWE has seen phenomenal success in recent years as its spin-offs such as Smackdown and RAW were sold around the world and its tours attracted thousands of dedicated fans.

Merchandising also accounts for a large part of the profits.

Defeat

But the company has been having a rough time of late, compounded by being forced to change its name.

The US-based federation conceded defeat in the fight with the World Wide Fund for Nature over the right to use the initials WWF.

The World Wide Fund for Nature fought a long legal battle for sole use of the WWF initials.

Ratings for WWE pay-per-view events have dipped in recent times, leading the company to warn that profits may not be as high as expected.

See also:

12 Feb 01 | Entertainment
22 Apr 02 | Entertainment
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