“Coyote vs. Acme” is officially on the market.
Days after Warner Bros. announced it’s shelving the completed Looney Tunes-inspired film as a $30 million tax write-off, the studio is letting the filmmakers shop “Coyote vs. Acme” to other distributors. Puck, a newsletter covering the industry, and Deadline first reported that screenings are being set up for Amazon Prime Video, Apple and Netflix to acquire the movie, which finished filming in 2022 and was intended to play in theaters.
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Amazon and Netflix were active buyers during the pandemic as traditional studios were siphoning off films for extra cash, but nothing has been ironed out for “Coyote vs. Acme.” Sources familiar with negotiations say the movie hasn’t been screened yet. In these instances, rights go to the highest bidder. It’s unclear if another company would want to buy a movie that Warner Bros. deemed unworthy to release on the big or small screen. But streaming services always need fresh content, especially of the family-friendly variety, to keep subscribers. And the writers and actors strikes (the second of which finally ended on Friday) shut down production for most of the summer and fall, delaying any projects in the pipeline.
“Coyote vs. Acme,” a $70 million live action-animation hybrid starring John Cena and Lana Condor, is the third movie in two years that Warner Bros. has axed for tax incentives. A similar situation transpired a little over a year ago when Warner Bros. discarded the $90 million-budgeted DC adventure “Batgirl” and the kid-friendly “Scoob! Holiday Haunt.” The studio positioned that decision as a one-time-only tax write-off, which made the news of “Coyote vs. Acme” even more upsetting to the creative community.
All three films were greenlit under the studio’s former boss Jason Kilar and two of them, “Batgirl” and “Scoob,” were made for HBO Max. Kilar’s successor, Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslav, has shifted the studio’s priorities back to theatrical and a spokesperson said these movies didn’t fit with the new creative direction of the company.
Director Dave Green expressed his disappointment about Warners’ decision to nix the “Coyote vs. Acme,” a movie he worked on for three years. “Along the ride, we were embraced by test audiences who rewarded us with fantastic scores,” the filmmaker wrote on social media. “I am beyond proud of the final product.”
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