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Sadly: Meep Meep

The SAG-AFTRA strike may be over, but studio shenanigans are evergreen. Warner Bros. decided not to release its planned Wile E. Coyote movie, Coyote vs. Acme, on November 8, 2023 despite its being a completed project, The Hollywood Reporter. As with Batgirl before it, the studio will instead opt for a tax write-off. The film starred John Cena and Will Forte and cost $72 million to make. “For three years, I was lucky enough to make a movie about Wile E. Coyote, the most persistent, passionate, and resilient character of al time,” director Dave Green tweeted in response to the cancellation. “I was surrounded by a brilliant team, who poured their souls into this project.” Still, for those involved in the film and those of us who wanted to see it, there was hope another studio would buy the film off of Warner Bros. Now, that’s looking unlikely, and The Wrap is reporting that if the studio does decide to scrap the film, it won’t even bother to announce it. It will simply be gone, like a roadrunner zooming into the night.

Why is WB dumping Coyote vs. ACME?

Coyote vs. Acme, notably written by now Oscar-nominated May December screenwriter Samy Burch, was green-lit under a previous regime at Warner Bros. Current CEO David Zaslav had nothing to do with the project. The reasons behind the cancellation remain a bit hazy.In a statement to THR, Warner Bros. said it’s due to a shifting “global strategy to focus on theatrical releases.” James Gunn, who co-wrote and produced the film, has not said anything about its being killed. Vulture reached out for comment. Either way, Warner Bros. stands to make a tax write-down of $35 to $40 million, according to The Wrap. Not enough to cover the cost of the film, but, if the studio believes it wouldn’t make any money, enough to mitigate the loss.

The cancellation does have a certain irony, given that, on November 8, just one day before the initial cancellation, media supervillain Zaslav said “we haven’t really been able to crack the kids.” “We have a huge amount of kids content,” he said on an earnings call. “We’re going to attack that. We think that really differentiates us and we’re going to have to really promote it. We haven’t been.”

So, was the movie bad?

Well, The Wrap reported that neither Zaslav nor the executives in charge of the cancellation have even seen the finished cut of the movie. And those people who did see it seemed to like it. “Along the ride, we were embraced by test audiences who rewarded us with fantastic scores,” Green posted on X.

Other members of the Coyote vs. Acme team also expressed disappointment on social media.Steven Price, who wrote the score for the film, said on Twitter that he “had a lot of fun scoring Coyote Vs Acme” and called the decision to cancel the film “bizarre anti-art studio financial shenanigans.” He additionally shared a video of a chorus singing “Meep Meep,” a meep-ified version of Tchaikovsky that really makes us want to see this movie.

What if another studio wants it?

The film was shopped around to other studios, but it doesn’t seem like they ever even stood a chance. According to reporting from The Wrap, Netflix, Paramount, and Amazon all screened the movie and submitted offers, with Paramount even offering a theatrical release. Unfortunately for them, Warner Bros. had already decided that a deal would necessitate a $75 to $80 million offer and was not willing to negotiate. The next earnings call is scheduled for February 23. We’re starting to feel like sale was just a mural of a road and we’re running straight into a wall.

This post has been updated throughout.


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Jason P. Frank , 2024-02-09 18:06:00

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