Here in the states, the U.S. Congress has many things to investigate, like inflation, healthcare, poverty, and food inequality, but calling out Warner Bros. for the cancellation of Coyote vs. Acme is so much more fun, innit?
Who wants to do all that, you know, boring stuff those knuckleheads can garner headlines in Hollywood media? It’s good for a politician’s media exposure, brand visibility, and another groovy to piss off your constituents. If you’re giggling or rolling your eyes, join the club.
According to THR, U.S. Rep Joaquin Castro (D-Texas) is calling upon the Federal Trade Commission and the U.S. Department of Justice to investigate if Warner Bros. violated antitrust guidelines to make Coyote vs. Acme (among other things) a tax write-off.
This tweet (shut up, Elon Musk–this will always be “Twitter”) is getting some serious work and review. Does Warner Bros. Discovery need some serious help and stringent oversight? Definitely. As someone shared, did David Zaslav go into full GoodFellas mode by “busting the joint out and lighting a match?” Without question.
But, yeah. Sigh.
Coyote vs. Acme Cancellation Unveils a Despicable Trend
As previously shared in this splendid nerd culture news site, this is the third Warner Bros. post-production project in as many years that has been shelved for tax purposes. Never mind the thousands of people who worked tirelessly on these movies. And let’s forget totally about the fans. This is about a WBD dumpster fire that would rather light a pile of cash on fire than risk making a profit.
First, it was Batgirl, which was a swift football kick to the soccer balls of fans. Then, it was Scoob! Holiday Hunt set to air on MAX, but “Captain Puffervest ” (it’s a thing) cut his losses for no apparent reason. The most recent was Coyote vs. Acme, and that’s where Rep. Castro couldn’t take it any longer.
DC Entertainment, meh. Scooby Dooby Doo, so what. But Looney Tunes? Thems fighting words. And so, the little representative that could get into his red choo-choo truck and drive up Capitol Hill to be the catalyst for WBD’s comeuppance. (I think I’m channeling too much Yosemite Sam vs. Bugs Bunny. Moving on.)
The other trend involving Warner Bros. is Rep. Castro previously wrote letters to the Justice Department to explore possible monopolization and antitrust infringement following the merger of Warner Bros. and Discovery. Notice how you never saw many headlines on that. That’s your gauge for how effective Castro’s pubescent angst is getting him.
But Wait, There’s More
This previous January, WBD Chief Financial Officer Gunnar Wiedenfels was speaking at a Citibank media conference. At that stage, Wiedenfels noted there would be no more creative content subjected to a quest of avoiding a tax audit. He said that WBD is “done with that chapter.” Moreover, 2023 was to be “a year of relaunching and building.”
You can’t make this stuff up. So, eh, Gunnar? How’s that working out?
Ever since Zaslav’s arrival, he has been on a mission. Well, it’s more like hosting a garage sale. Here’s a sample size of what else was on his hit list:
- Batman: Caped Crusader (DC Animated Universe)
- Bye Bye Bunny: A Looney Tunes Musical
- Demimdonde (JJ Abrams’ TV series)
- Did I Do That: A Steve Urkel Story (Family Matters, remember?)
- Merry Little Batman (yes, who knew?!)
- Raised by Wolves (still hurting from that cancellation)
- Strange Adventures (Greg Berlanti series for MAX)
- The Day the Earth Blew Up (Looney Tunes)
- The Time Traveler’s Wife (HBO series)
- The Amazing World of Gumball: The Movie
Castro has it in for WBD. And although it’s ludicrous that the U.S. Congress needs to be involved in this, considered an inbox teeming with “You suck” emails, he is right. In his letter to the two aforementioned government bodies, Castro wrote:
“The damage to content creators whose projects are cancelled in deep development and post-production cannot be overstated,’ stated the April 7 letter. “Such cancellations stain these projects, making them less appealing and marketable to other buyers — consumers will likely never be able to watch shows purchased then cancelled by WBD. WBD’s conduct amounts to a de facto ‘catch and kill’ practice, vastly limiting consumer choice.”
The cancellation of Coyote vs. Acme is easily the most egregious yet. The movie was in the can. The focus groups were already called. And preemptive reviews took place. Despite that, deuces. Something needs to be done, so we should be grateful. Maybe?
Then again, this is the U.S. House of Representatives. At least those sluggards are finally doing something.