The next Flintstones animated feature will star a number of WWE wrestlers, for reasons that aren't entirely clear (but are almost certainly lucrative).
Over the past decade Vince McMahon's professional wrestling empire has moved slightly away from faux grappling, toward more general purpose entertainment. The WWE is still the cornerstone of McMahon's billion-dollar media company, but it's not uncommon to see the company's logo attached to mainstream Hollywood movies. Most recently, The Call, a thriller starring legitimate Hollywood star Halle Berry.
In an effort to further expand McMahon's Hollywood aspirations, the WWE has announced plans to join forces with legendary animation studio Hanna Barbara for an upcoming, as yet untitled feature film based on The Flintstones. According to Deadline, the flick will feature a number of WWE personalities, including McMahon (known in the movie as "Vince McMagma"), John Cena (aka "John Cenastone"), and CM Punk ("CM Punkrock").
The film is currently slated - Get it? "Slate?" Like the mineral? No? Philistines. - for release in 2015. Currently it appears that the movie will be a direct-to-video release, with Warner Bros. Home Entertainment handling distribution duties for DVD, Blu-ray and video on demand iterations of the flick.
As Deadline points out, it seems a massively missed opportunity for this film to leave out a character based on Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, but since Mr. Johnson is currently starring in the massively successful Fast And The Furious 6 - a film that amazingly boasts the highest opening weekend box office take in Universal Studios history - he's probably a bit out of the budget assigned to this animated feature.
As for why the WWE is involved, the answer's simple: McMahon wants the film wing of his company to appeal to the same young people who might also follow the WWE. "WWE is family-friendly entertainment, so partnering with Warner Bros. on a Flintstones/WWE project was a natural extension of our Scooby Doo deal," states WWE Studios president Michael Luisi. "This new, animated feature allows us to showcase our brand with young fans and loyal Flintstones enthusiasts alike."
While all of this makes perfect sense from a business standpoint, it raises one important question: They're still making movies based on The Flintstones? How is that possible? Some of you have reproduced at some point, so are your kids into The Flintstones? It was only vaguely popular when I was young, so the fact that it still exists as a viable media entity is blowing my mind.