- Warner Bros. is no longer releasing ‘Coyote Vs. Acme’.
- John Cena stars in the movie alongside some CG characters.
- The studio was planning a tax write-down but may now shop the movie.
The studio has decided that instead of putting the roughly $72 million-budgeted movie in theaters, it will instead take a tax write-down and stuff ‘Coyote Vs. Acme’ into a vault, never to see the light of day.
What’s the story of ‘Coyote Vs. Acme’?
‘Coyote Vs. Acme’ follows Wile E. Coyote, who after ACME products fail him one too many times in his dogged pursuit of the Roadrunner, decides to hire a billboard lawyer to sue the ACME Corporation.
The case pits Wile E. and his lawyer against the latter’s intimidating former boss (Cena), but a growing friendship between man and cartoon stokes their determination to win.
Dave Green directed the movie, from a script by Samy Burch, itself derived from a story crafted by Jeremy Slater and James Gunn (yes, the current chief of DC Studios at Warner Bros.) The original idea came from a 1990 New Yorker humor piece written by Ian Frazier.
It was originally greenlit in December 2020, and was targeted for what was then called HBO Max. But then the announcement came it would get a July 2023 release. But come April 2022, it was pulled from the release calendar and replaced with a little movie called ‘Barbie’.
While that obviously worked out for Warner Bros., this latest move is proving to be a lot more controversial.
Unlike even ‘Batgirl’, which was shelved last year, ‘Coyote Vs. Acme’ was finished and had reportedly tested very well with recruited audiences.
And other filmmakers, who had seen the movie, have weighed in to criticize the decision. BenDavid Grabinski, a colleague of Green, tweeted the following:
Director Dave Green’s statement
Director Green put his own statement out on social media:
“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. 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.”
What did Warner Bros. say about the new decision?
Here’s the statement from a Warner Bros. Motion Picture Group spokesperson:
“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’. We have tremendous respect for the filmmakers, casts, and crew, and are grateful for their contributions to the film.”
A new hope for ‘Coyote Vs. Acme’?
Yet there is hope for the movie! According to the Puck newsletter, Warners film chiefs Mike De Luca and Pam Abdy, along with Warner Animation boss Bill Damaschke have heard the outcry and also been in heated meetings with representatives for the director and stars. Though there had been plans to pay the top talent a streaming fee despite the shelving, the idea now is to let the producers shop the movie around.
The likes of Amazon had already reportedly been interested in picking up the movie, so perhaps it has a chance of seeing the light of day after all. Let’s just hope it’s not a train speeding down a tunnel, as it would be for Wile.