Backlash Against Warner Bros. Rages After Report Indicates 'Coyote vs. Acme' Appears Set To Be 'Deleted Forever'

February 9th, 2024 - 12:46 PM EST by Adam Downer

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Coyote "That's All Folks" meme with a tweet referencing Warner Bros. CEO David Zaslav.

Three months ago, Warner Bros. announced that it would be shelving the completed Looney Toons film Coyote vs. Acme, a live-action take on Wile E. Coyote starring Will Forte, to get a $30 million tax write-off, prompting outrage from potential audience members at the grave ethical implications of deleting art for profit.

In response, Warner Bros. agreed to allow the film's creators to shop it to other distributors. Now, having not received an offer to their liking, Warner Bros. appears set to kill Coyote vs. Acme for good.

Jessie gender take on Warner Bros. decision

According to a report from The Wrap, Warner Bros. wanted distributors to pay them $75-$80 million for the rights to Coyote vs. Acme. Netflix, Amazon and Paramount all gave offers, but they were summarily rejected by Warner Bros., who refused to negotiate further.

According to The Wrap's sources, "[Warner Bros.] wouldn’t allow the interested studios to counter [their] offer. It was a 'take it or leave it' situation, one that the other studios didn’t even know they were entering into."

Heading into the end of the fiscal quarter, executives anticipate that Warner Bros.' February 23rd financial earnings call is the deadline to save Coyote vs. Acme.

The Wrap's report contains more potentially aggravating details. It states that those who saw test screenings of the film gave it very positive reviews.

Actor Paul Scheer told the publication, “What was so exciting was that it felt like the film captured the voice of the Looney Tunes that we love in a way none of the other feature versions have ever done." Screenings done for other streaming services enticed them to submit offers, with Paramount going so far as to offer to give the film a theatrical release.

Those who didn't attend the screenings included Warner Bros. executives. David Zaslav, Warner Bros. CEO and apparent public enemy number 1 for his myriad controversial decisions, including canceling a Batgirl movie for similar tax write-off reasons, has reportedly not seen any version of the film. Other Warner Bros. execs are reported to never have seen various edits, but never the finished product.

Furthermore, those associated with the project suspect that the "window" Warner Bros. gave for filmmakers to find another distributor was not done in good faith. In addition to Warner Bros. outright rejecting offers from other distributors and refusing to negotiate, executives did not communicate directly with the filmmakers about the negotiating process, leaving the team behind Coyote vs. Acme to speculate on their films' fate.

The report set off a wave of backlash on social media, as users once again found Warner Bros.' apparent strategy of "deleting art for profit" callous and cruel to both its customers and its filmmakers.

Hypothetical actor boycott David Zaslav Criticism The people who do this should be in jail

The report about Warner Bros.' behavior after appearing to "reverse" its decision on shelving Coyote vs. Acme has turned up the backlash against David Zaslav and other executives, but that will likely be little comfort to the team that made the film and those who want to see it, as it appears there's a mere two weeks for the film to find a distributor, and Warner Bros. seem set not to play ball.

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