June 15, 2024

Archie Wertheim

Technology Integration and Foundations for Effective Leadership

Warner Bros. Discovery just canned another nearly finished film

3 min read
Warner Bros. Discovery just canned another nearly finished film

Warner Bros. Discovery just canned Coyote vs. Acme, a live-action and animated film featuring John Cena and the classic Looney Tunes hijinks of Wile E. Coyote. Director Dave Green confirmed that the nearly completed film will not be released shortly after Deadline and The Hollywood Reporter broke the news.

Coyote vs. Acme is the third almost finished film that CEO David Zaslav has shelved for financial reasons. Like Batgirl and Scoob! Holiday Haunt, Coyote vs. Acme got sent to the vault so Warner Bros. Discovery could get a tax write-off as part of its efforts to cut billions in costs following last year’s megamerger. The Coyote vs. Acme film cost around $72 million to make, according to The Hollywood Reporter, making for a $30 million tax write-off.

Needless to say, the people who worked on the film aren’t happy about this decision. “For three years, I was lucky enough to make a movie about Wile E. Coyote,” Green said in a statement on X (formerly Twitter). “I was surrounded by a brilliant team, who poured their souls into this project for years… I am beyond proud of the final product, and beyond devastated by WB’s decision.”

The film is inspired by the 1990 “Coyote v. Acme humor article written by Ian Frazier for The New Yorker, which has Wile E. Coyote file a lawsuit against the Acme Company for the personal injuries and mental suffering he incurred while endlessly chasing the Road Runner. The movie was supposed to be released on July 21st, 2023, but it ended up getting replaced by Barbie.

“With the re-launch of Warner Bros. Pictures Animation in June, the studio has shifted its global strategy to focus on theatrical releases,” a Warner Bros. Motion Picture Group spokesperson tells The Hollywood Reporter. “With this new direction, we have made the difficult decision not to move forward with Coyote vs Acme.” Warner Bros. Discovery didn’t immediately respond to The Verge’s request for comment.

Filmmakers are condemning Warner Bros. Discovery’s decision to shelve yet another film — especially Coyote vs. Acme. As noted by Green, the film received “fantastic scores” from test audiences, something echoed by filmmaker BenDavid Grabinski, who co-created Scott Pilgrim Takes Off. On X, Grabinski said the film is “the best of its kind since ROGER RABBIT,” adding, “The leads are super likable. It’s beautifully shot. The animation is great… What are we even doing anymore?” Cocaine Bear producer Brian Duffield similarly said the movie “is excellent” and called the people at Warner Bros. Discovery “anti-art.”

You can get a small taste of the work that went into creating Coyote vs. Acme in the embedded post above, which shows behind-the-scenes footage of the “Meep Meep” Road Runner choir. What’s more, Zaslav’s decision to dump the film seems to directly contradict what he said during Warner Bros. Discovery’s most recent earnings call, stating the company needs to bulk up its content load with “underused” franchises. If Zaslav feels comfortable throwing away a nearly finished film attached to a historic piece of intellectual property, that means nothing is safe.

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