Warner Bros scraps $70m Coyote vs Acme movie, opting for tax write-down.
Studio chooses not to release comedy starring John Cena, leading to $30m tax savings. Warner Bros has shelved a completed $70m film, Coyote vs Acme, to take advantage of a $30m tax write-down.
• Warner Bros has decided to axe its $70m film Coyote vs Acme, starring Will Forte, John Cena, and Lana Condor, to take advantage of a $30m tax write-down.
• The studio released an official statement citing the relaunch of Warner Bros Pictures Animation as their decision.
• The move follows last year’s Batgirl movie and Scoob cancellation! Holiday Haunt sequel, having received the green light under Jason Kilar before David Zaslav took over as his successor.
• It was determined to be financially unviable for the company to sell or release on their Max platform instead of theatrically due to net losses reported in quarterly earnings.
• Written by Samy Burch and directed by David Green, with test screenings having yielded results well above average for a family movie, Coyote vs. Acme was based on a 1990 New Yorker article about Wile E Coyote’s legal action against Acme for product failure in his pursuit of Road Runner.
According to an official statement, the studio has made the tough call not to release the live-action/animation hybrid movie, which features actors Will Forte, John Cena, and Lana Condor.
“In light of the relaunch of Warner Bros Pictures Animation, we have shifted our global strategy to prioritize theatrical releases,” the statement explains. “As a result, we have made the challenging decision to abandon Coyote vs Acme. We have immense respect for the talented filmmakers, cast, and crew and appreciate their contributions to the film.”
Production on the movie was completed last year, and as per Deadline, test screenings yielded results 14 points higher than the average for a family movie. Originally slated for a July release, the film was ultimately pulled.
Writer-director Brian Duffield tweeted his disappointment, stating, “I have watched this movie, and it is truly excellent. It consistently scored in the high 90s during tests. It even had interested buyers. The people at Warner Bros are anti-art, and I hope consequences follow.”
This decision follows Warner Bros’ cancellation of the $90m Batgirl film last year, despite it being in post-production. The film starred Leslie Grace, Michael Keaton, and Brendan Fraser and will now never see the light of day. The studio also axed the release of the $40m sequel Scoob! Holiday Haunt. All three films received the green light from Jason Kilar before David Zaslav took over as his successor.
Reportedly, Warner Bros deemed it financially unviable to sell Coyote vs Acme to another studio or release it on their Max platform. This news comes after the company reported a net loss of $417m in quarterly earnings.
Directed by David Green, known for his work on 2016’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows, and written by Samy Burch, acclaimed for her screenplay for Todd Haynes’ upcoming drama May December, Coyote vs Acme was based on a 1990 New Yorker article by Ian Frazier and depicted Looney Tunes character Wile E Coyote taking legal action against Acme for their products’ failure in his pursuit of Road Runner.