Coyote vs Acme Cancellation Controversy depicting roadrunner and wiley coyote from the cartoon.

'Coyote vs. Acme' Cancelation Controversy

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Updated Feb 09, 2024 at 02:23PM EST by Zach.

Added Nov 10, 2023 at 07:29AM EST by sakshi.

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Related Explainer: What's Up With Warner Bros. 'Canceling' The Completed 'Coyote vs. Acme' Film In Favor Of A $30M Tax Write Off? The Controversy Explained

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Overview

'Coyote vs. Acme' Cancelation Controversy refers to backlash against Warner Brothers' decision to not release the finished Coyote vs. Acme movie, directed by Dave Green, produced by James Gunn and starring John Cena. The film was completed in 2022 and was originally set to release in July 2023. In November 2023, the company announced that it would not be distributing the film, gaining approximately $30 million in tax write-offs. Film industry veterans and fans expressed criticism toward WB's decision to shelve yet another film, following the Batgirl Cancellation Controversy in 2022.

Background

Warner Bros. Pictures announced the development of a Wile E. Coyote project in August 2018, with filming commencing between April and May 2022. The film draws inspiration from a similarly named fictional 1990 New Yorker article written by Ian Frazier. The story follows Wiley Coyote and his unlucky lawyer as they try to sue Acme Corporation, with John Cena acting as Acme's Corporation's CEO.

On November 9th, 2023, it was announced that Warner Bros. would be shelving the fully completed Coyote vs. Acme film, taking a $30 million tax write-off in the process.[1] That same day, X[2] account @CultureCrave made a post about the announcement, gathering over 40,000 likes in a day (seen below).


Culture Crave @CultureCrave Subscribe 'Coyote vs. Acme' has been thrown in the Warner Bros vault and will never release It had finished filming, was co-written by James Gunn, and starred John Cena 2:15 AM • Nov 10, 2023 5.3M Views

Developments

Crew Reactions

Assistant Art Director, Lindsay Coda posted a Coyote vs ACME Crew Reel on her YouTube[5] Channel on November 9th, 2023, showing a behind-the-scenes look into how the film was made (seen below). The video showed the use of real sets and practical effects for the Looney Tunes-style gags in the movie. Coda also shared the following message on her upload:

After many months of waiting, it is unfortunate that Warner Bros. Discovery has shelved Coyote vs. Acme, one of the best film experiences I've ever had. We had an incredible crew who breathed life, humor, and creative ingenuity into this animation hybrid. Although it is completely finished and had rave reviews from test audiences, our work will never make it to viewers. With that said, I hope you enjoy this little crew reel that captures our very looney time in New Mexico.



On November 10th, various X[3][4] accounts posted a crew reel as well. However, the video was removed from both X and YouTube following a copyright strike issued by Warner Bros. X[9] user @sylverpoint reposted the reel on November 10th, 2023 (seen below).


Also on November 10th, Director Dave Green made a post on X[6] about the film being canceled, gathering over 9,000 likes in a day (seen below).


Dave Green @dgreenmachine < All iCloud 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. 3 2:51 AM - Nov 10, 2023 851.7K Views Done

Online Reactions

Screenwriter Peter Briggs[7] made a post on November 9th, 2023, criticizing David Zaslav, CEO of Warner Bros. Discovery, saying that he "has turned a functioning movie studio into a mechanism to pay him an obscene amount of money annually, while not actually releasing movies" (seen below, left). Around the same time that day, filmmaker Brian Duffield[8] made a post calling Warner Bros. "anti-art," gathering over 9,600 likes in 23 hours (seen below, right).


PETER BRIGGS @ThePeterBriggs #WGAW David Zaslav has turned a functioning movie studio into a mechanism to pay him an obscene amount of money annually, while not actually releasing movies. + DiscussingFilm @DiscussingFilm . 15h Warner Bros will get a $30M tax write-off from shelving 'COYOTE VS ACME'. The film was completed with very good test scores. Warner Bros reportedly thought it wasn't worth the cost to release or to sell to other buyers. Show more 3:33 AM . Nov 10, 2023 122.7K Views Brian Duffield @BrianDuffield I have seen this movie and it is excellent. It also tested in the high 90s repeatedly. It also had interested buyers. The people working at Warner Bros are anti-art and I hope multiple anvils drop on their heads. deadline.com : 2:13 AM Nov 10, 2023 530.7K Views

Warner Bros. Reverses Decision

On November 13th, 2023, PuckNews reported that Warner Bros is allowing the creators of Coyote vs. Acme to shop their film with different film distributors. X[10] account @CultureCrave posted about the decision, gathering over 45,000 likes in a day (seen below).


Culture Crave @CultureCrave Warner Bros is reportedly now allowing the filmmakers of 'Coyote vs. Acme' shop the movie to other potential distributors after the backlash (via @pucknews) 12:40 PM . Nov 13, 2023 3.1M Views Subscribe

The Wrap Report

On February 9th, 2024, The Wrap[11] published a damning report that said Warner Bros. rejected offers from Amazon, Netflix and Paramount to distribute the movie and refused to negotiate with them after they did not immediately agree to Warner Bros. $75-$80 million asking price. The report also stated that Warner Bros. CEO David Zaslav has never seen the movie. It appears that the movie has until a February 23rd earnings call to somehow find a distributor or else it will be deleted forever. The report reignited intense backlash against Warner Bros. and Zaslav.

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