EXCLUSIVE: A power struggle has ended with Michael Luisi out as WWE Studios president.
Sources said there was a clash with Michelle Wilson, the co-president of WWE who took on a co-president title at WWE Studios as well.
Luisi took the top post eight years ago, and in that time WWE Studios has grown to be an active player in the movie space. Films have included The Marine, the action film that started John Cena’s transition to films; the genre hit Oculus; the Halle Berry-starrer The Call; and the in post production Fighting With My Family, which features former WWE superstar Dwayne Johnson.
Upcoming there is the Josh Duhamel-directed The Buddy Games, and Pandemonium, the TriStar-based film that Glenn Ficarra and John Requa will direct about the formative years of WWE chief Vince McMahon, who learned the wrestling ropes from his local promoter father. After dad tagged out and son tagged in and bought his father’s struggling business, the young showman turned WWE into a global entertainment corporation with huge stars and sideshow participants that included the current president, Donald Trump. WWE Studios also has generated animated direct-to-DVD titles including The Jetsons and Scooby-Doo.
I’ve heard the company will be steered in the interim by Wilson along with biz affairs exec Timothy Schmidt. They will look to replace Luisi, who previously served exec stints at New Line and Miramax and The Weinstein Company before revamping the fortunes of WWE Studios.