World Wrestling Entertainment (NYSE:WWE) released its second film of the year this past weekend, in conjunction with distributor News Corp. (NYSE:NWS). The Marine, starring John Cena in his first major movie role, fell flat.

According to, the film opened to an estimated $7 million in the domestic marketplace, though that number might change when final grosses are tallied. Either way, that was good enough -- or perhaps I should say bad enough -- for a sixth-place ranking.

Granted, the competition was tough, with Sony's (NYSE:SNE) sequel to The Grudge pulling in more than $20 million at the top spot. But WWE has so far had a difficult time leveraging its valuable brand equity with multiplex audiences. See No Evil, a WWE horror film featuring wrestling superstar Kane that was distributed by Lions Gate Entertainment (NYSE:LGF), also placed a horrible No. 6 in its opening weekend, with a take of about $4.5 million. Its current total gross, including a small foreign take, stands at just past $15 million.

I'm on record as being a big supporter of WWE's film operations. Now that data for two of the company's flicks are in -- data that seems to indicate that this particular business model should be avoided -- many readers may wonder whether my opinion has changed.

Heck no! Some might say that I've got my head stuck in the sand, but I am more than willing to be patient. WWE is not only going to strike gold eventually with one of its productions, but I'd also argue that the company has no choice but to be in this business. Going forward, I think the home-video market will explode once again, when the new recording format takes hold, whether it ends up being Blu-ray or HD-DVD. Considering that WWE is a large part of the entertainment culture at large, and that it has access to the talents of multiple superstar wrestlers who appeal to valuable youthful demographics -- the kind who play video games and hang out at the mall and enjoy spending money -- I'd say it's a no-brainer for the media concern to brand a film label.

WWE may have missed again with The Marine, but it will learn from every movie release. It'll have the opportunity to make up, at least in some part, for the lackluster performance via home-video markets, premium-channel distribution, and on-demand pay-per-view. John Cena is a great talent, and I bet he'll sell a decent amount of DVDs for the company.

The movie business is a risky gamble, but this isn't an XFL proposition -- far from it. Instead, it is a valid, proven model that can provide serious cash flow when an idea resonates with the public. Plus, Vince McMahon is determined to bring his wrestling brand 'round the globe and turn it into a worldwide phenomenon. That's going to give WWE films a leg up in the international box office market. And if the film division (hopefully) broadens its blueprint -- i.e., create movie projects that aren't just vehicles for wrestlers -- you'll see even greater potential for lucrative returns.

So, yes, I still think the film division has potential. I believe the McMahons should continue investing in celluloid. Those who would argue that the movie biz isn't a core competency or that it's too risky are suffering from short-term thinking. And that's the bottom line, my Foolish friends.

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Fool contributor Steven Mallas owns shares in none of the companies mentioned. The Fool has a disclosure policy.