In January, Warner Bros. Discovery (WBD) announced that Coyote vs. Acme, a $70 million mix of live-action actors (Will Forte, John Cena) and Looney Tunes animation, would be shelved forever as a tax write-off.
Some of you might recall that Warner Bros. did the same with Batgirl and Scoob! Holiday Haunt in the summer of 2022.
The reason for such a drastic decision leads directly to the bottom line. WBD CEO David Zaslav believed he was faced with two choices. He could either pour more money into these movies to promote them for a theatrical release and watch them flop, or he could basically destroy them and disappear them forever to take advantage of a sizable tax write-off.
Well, here we are again…
Zaslav believes it makes more sense to shelve Coyote vs. Acme and grab the write-off than to risk losing millions with an expensive theatrical release. It’s a safe guess that dumping it into the Max streaming service will not provide a better benefit than the write-off amount. After he made this announcement, a predictable (and understandable) backlash ensued, which prodded the multinational company to give the Coyote vs. Acme filmmakers some time to sell the movie to another studio.
The far-left Wrap reports that no one’s interested:
With Warner Bros. Discovery’s fourth quarter earnings call scheduled for Feb. 23, “Coyote vs. Acme” is running out of time. Many on the film’s team feel that the studio will use the ending of the quarter to get the movie off the books for good. “Coyote vs. Acme” is running up against something worse than a tunnel painted into the side of a mountain or a falling anvil. It will finally be silenced by a movie studio’s balance sheet.
Following the death and potential resurrection of “Coyote vs. Acme,” there were screenings for interested parties. According to several people familiar with the situation, Netflix, Amazon and Paramount screened the movie (which was received well) and submitted handsome offers. Paramount even proposed a theatrical release component to their acquisition of “Coyote vs. Acme” that would allow for Warner Bros. to save face and, more importantly, let audiences see the movie the way it was meant to be experienced.
When Netflix or Amazon pass on a movie, especially one with a built-in brand like Coyote vs. Acme, there’s only one explanation: the movie stinks to high heaven, and the filmmakers are gaslighting us into believing a great injustice is about to be committed against a GREAT MOVIE.
Amazon and Netflix have piles and piles of cash to burn. Every day, it seems, Netflix wastes the $75 to $80 million WBD wanted for Coyote vs. Acme on a handful of lousy TV episodes. Netflix has wasted upwards of $200 million to produce its own lousy movies.
There’s no other explanation, especially in an era where studios are desperate for content — any content. Still, as I said, Coyote vs. Acme is not just any content. It’s a trifecta of IP, nostalgia, and a universally beloved brand. I thought, for sure, some cash-heavy, content-desperate streamer would pick this up for what amounts to couch-cushion change to a Disney, Netflix, or Amazon.
All things considered, we can only assume this is one lousy movie.