To play with a noted thought from a certain persistent canine, the move to pull the plug on Coyote vs. Acme is “Not Genius!”
Warner Bros. Discovery (WBD) is a much-maligned company that may as well be playing “Rock, Paper, Scissors” at its annual shareholders’ meeting to make the big decisions, because, like, what in the literal hell is going on over there?
It was a little more than a full year ago that Warner Bros., the home of the beloved Looney Tunes empire, announced a live-action animated hybrid film, Coyote vs. Acme. What fun this movie would have been to see helping several generations of fans relive their childhoods.
Operative words there being “would have been.”
Warner Bros. Discovery in all its wisdom has put this stroll down amnesia lane on the shelf a little more than a year after it completed filming. Thanks to an exclusive THR report, here we go again.
They All Want to Do It the Hard Way
The thought of seeing the Roadrunner’s arch nemesis on-screen falling off a cliff a half-dozen times and encountering shrapnel from errant explosions was exhilarating. Voiced by subjective GOAT from WWE, John Cena, Coyote vs. Acme was intriguing. But, WBD has a knack for this hurling-close-to-$100-million-in-a-damn-dumpster-fire thing down to a science.
Remember that time Batgirl was a thing?
It was in the can. Ready to go. The movie was created as a film designated for the purple streamer, HBO Max. So much hype was banging that in April 2023, the chatter was there would be a theatrical release.
The film’s directors Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah were at the project’s helm following their success with Ms. Marvel over on some Mickey Mouse channel. Fans got stoked when the duo hired Birds Of Prey screenwriter Christina Hodson. Batgirl couldn’t miss!
Then, as if a mysterious visit from the Tooth Fairy, a big “Eff You” was placed under the pillow of all those ready to see it. The $90 million movie would not be coming to theaters or HBO Max because it was the brainchild of a failed and former regime.
The news was sudden. The reaction was harsh. Fast forward to 2023 and they’re at it again. And for what? A juice tax write-off. That’s why Batgirl was trashed. It’s why the holiday edition of the animated Scoob! was canceled as well. (That was a $40 million trash heap, by the way.) Now, Coyote vs. Acme has met the same fate — a lovely gift for America’s monetary mercenaries, the Internal Revenue Service.
That’s All Folks
According to the report, Coyote vs. Acme wasn’t a wreck. It fared far above average with test groups. They loved it. Just ask the wonderfully gifted director of Earth to Echo, Dave Green.
Yeah, that’s heartbreaking. In fact, the only one who didn’t get screwed in this deal is John Cena.
Warner Bros. Discovery paid his salary for making the movie. They also paid him to make Peacemaker, that little banger on MAX that DC Studios’ high-muckety-muck James Gunn made. Those two will be sticking together for “Gods and Monsters,” so there’s that. If you think WBD is torn up about a $75 million job buried before it had a chance to live, think again.
“With the re-launch of Warner Bros. Pictures Animation in June, the studio has shifted its global strategy to focus on theatrical releases,” a WB Motion Picture Group spokesperson said in a statement. “With this new direction, we have made the difficult decision not to move forward with Coyote vs Acme. We have tremendous respect for the filmmakers, casts, and crew, and are grateful for their contributions to the film.”The Hollywood Reporter, November 2023
Another nugget from the article is that Warner Bros. Animation Group (WAG) is planning to “release around two films a year.” That studio’s IP includes Dr. Seuss, The Lunar Chronicles, and everything Looney Tunes has to offer. Maybe Coyote vs. Acme will show up another day. Those dopes will still be paying Cena, so maybe Green is right.
Let’s all hope “resilience and persistence” will “win the day.” Then again, this is Warner Bros. Maybe there’s a LEGO movie they can screw up later.