Another Warner Bros. movie bites the dust.
The studio no longer plans to release “Coyote vs. Acme,” a live action-animation hybrid starring John Cena, which completed filming in 2022. A similar situation transpired a little over a year ago as Warner Bros. shocked the entertainment industry by shelving the $90 million-budgeted DC adventure “Batgirl” and the kid-friendly “Scoob! Holiday Haunt” as tax write-offs.
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Those films, as well as the $30 million “Coyote vs. Acme,” were greenlit by the former regime, led by Jason Kilar and intended for release on HBO Max. His successor, Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslav, has shifted the studio’s priorities back to theatrical and felt this movie didn’t fit with the new creative direction of the company. The decision also comes after Bill Damaschke took over Warner Animation Group earlier this year.
“With the re-launch of Warner Bros. Pictures Animation in June, the studio has shifted its global strategy to focus on theatrical releases,” a Warner Bros. 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.”
“Coyote vs. Acme” was directed by Dave Green and produced by DC Studios co-chief James Gunn, who also worked on the story, inspired by the Looney Tunes character. The project was announced in 2020 and dated on July 21, 2023 before it was taken off the calendar entirely and replaced by Greta Gerwig’s eventual blockbuster “Barbie.”
Green, who previously directed 2016’s “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows,” says he was “beyond devastated by WB’s decision.”
“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,” the filmmaker wrote on X, formerly known as Twitter. “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.”
New management at Warner Bros. Pictures Animation has focused on developing movies for the big screen and, starting in 2026, intends to release two animated films in theaters a year. The company is currently working on feature-length animated films based on Dr. Seuss classics “Cat in the Hat” and “Oh, the Places You’ll Go!” Unless, of course, Warners. needs another last-minute tax write-off.
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