“Coyote Vs. Acme” may have just dodged a fatal anvil.
The live-action/animated movie is getting a new shot at being released after Warner Bros. pulled the plug on the completed film. John Cena and Will Forte star in the Warner Bros. movie, with the studio announcing November 9 that it would be scrapped for a tax write-off for Warner Bros. Discovery’s Q3 earnings. The $70 million project was completed in New Mexico in 2022 and was set to stream on Max July 21. James Gunn produced the feature and was also credited with the story; “May December” screenwriter Samy Burch penned the script with Dave Green directing.
Now, Warner Bros. is allowing director Green to shop the movie to other potential distributors, as IndieWire confirmed. Puck first reported the news.
Per Puck, Warner Bros. film chiefs Mike De Luca and Pam Abdy, plus animation head Bill Damaschke, decided to let “Coyote Vs. Acme” potentially be picked up by another distributor, as Warner Bros. had agreed to pay actors streaming bonuses despite the film being shelved.
“With the re-launch of Warner Bros. Pictures Animation in June, the studio has shifted its global strategy to focus on theatrical releases. With this new direction, we have made the difficult decision not to move forward with ‘Coyote vs Acme,’” a Warner Bros. Motion Pictures Group spokesperson said when announcing the film’s cancellation. “We have tremendous respect for the filmmakers, casts, and crew, and are grateful for their contributions to the film. This was a tough decision, and we recognize and deeply appreciate the effort and time that goes into making a movie.”
The film’s cast and crew took to social media to deem Warner Bros. as “anti-art” for killing the film.
Director Green wrote, “For three years, I was lucky enough to make a movie about Wile E. Coyote, the most persistent, passionate, and resilient character of all time. I was surrounded by a brilliant team, who poured their souls into this project for years. We were all determined to honor the legacies of these historic characters and actually get them right. Along the ride, we were embraced by test audiences who rewarded us with fantastic scores. I am beyond proud of the final product, and beyond devastated by WB’s decision. But in the spirit of Wile E. Coyote, resilience and persistence win the day.”
Writer-director Brian Duffield, who saw the completed film, wrote that the feature “tested in the high 90s repeatedly” with audiences. “It also had interested buyers,” Duffield said. “The people working at Warner Bros are anti-art and I hope multiple anvils drop on their heads.”
“Coyote Vs. Acme” was inspired by a 1990 New Yorker short story about an Acme warehouse filled with the traps Wile E. Coyote uses to attack Roadrunner. The film has been compared to “Who Framed Roger Rabbit?”
Warner Bros. previously scrapped “Batgirl” and animated film “Scoob! Holiday Haunt” for tax write-offs in 2022.