Days ago, Warner Bros. Discovery announced it’d shelved another film: Coyote vs. Acme, which was intended to be the newest film for the Looney Toons brand. Originally meant for Max before getting bumped up to a theatrical release, WBD said the completed film would be vaulted and never see the light of day. And much like what happened with Batgirl’s abrupt axing last year, social media was not happy about this.
Following the news of Coyote’s cancellation, the film’s composer Steven Price (previously known for Gravity) specifically called out WBD’s actions, calling it “bizarre anti-art studio financial shenanigans I will never understand. […] A good film, scrubbed from existence.” Alongside the mourning of the project’s end, he released a behind the scenes video of what he called a “’Meep Meep’ Roadrunner choir, with apologies to Tchaikovsky.” Separately, a member of the film crew posted a video highlighting the film’s practical sets and production process in New Mexico, which has since been taken down across social media due to a copyright claim from WBD.
According to Rolling Stone, director Dave Green and top producers Chris DeFaria and James Gunn (the latter of whom helped come up with the story and currently runs DC Films for WB) were only informed of WBD’s decision as it was being made. One crew member didn’t even know what had happened until the outlet had contacted them for comment. Unnamed parties were interested in buying the film, but WBD didn’t wish to part with it, instead choosing to take the $30 million tax write-off for ending production.
Coyote vs. Acme would’ve seen Wile E. Coyote sue the titular corporation for its many, many products backfiring on him in his years-long pursuit of the Roadrunner. Will Forte was to play his attorney, an equally unlucky human, while John Cena was to play the Acme CEO who previously intimidated Forte’s character back when they worked at the same firm. This now marks the third film by WBD to be shelved despite being basically finished; after Batgirl in August 2022, it was revealed months later (almost a full year ago to the day, actually) that Scoob! Holiday Haunt would be unreleased as well. Screenwriter Brian Duffield revealed the movie garnered consistently strong test reactions from those who’d seen it.
“The people working at Warner Bros are anti-art and I hope multiple anvils drop on their heads,” he stated bluntly.
Not long before announcing Coyote vs. Acme was getting canned, WBD head David Zaslav noted during an earnings call the company had failed to really hit it off with kids and Max programming. One has to imagine that killing a trio of movies that could’ve hit it off with kids, and subsequently taking a blowtorch to one of the most important networks for children’s animation, may be part of why Warner Bros. Discovery has failed in this regard, something Looney Toons actor Eric Bauza noted.
There’s a growing frustration and resentment with Warner Bros. Discovery’s antics, and many have pointed out the company is effectively advertising itself as a company to not work for. Amid a larger year of the general public realizing that studios really just care about the bottom line and cutting corners where possible, Coyote vs. Acme’s situation couldn’t have come at a worse time.
“This film was me for the last two and a half years,” editor Chris Kupanek told Rolling Stone. “As artists, we pour ourselves into these projects. […] It will always be a part of me. A released movie is just the tip of a giant iceberg of love and labor. The talent and commitment of the people who bring a project to life should not go unnoticed… All of it is now lost but will never be forgotten by those lucky enough to have been there.”
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