When word first emerged late last year that Warner Bros. was considering permanently shelving their Coyote vs. Acme it seemed like another example of the company’s recent policy of taking tax write-downs on films they believed would be losers at the box office. In 2022, they performed a similar accounting trick with a live-action Batgirl film. It was permanently shelved, never to be seen, and Warner Bros. Discovery wrote off the budget.

But Coyote vs. Acme looked like it could have a happier ending. The movie, supposedly, was really good. (Batgirl, at least by some public accounts, was not.) People who worked on the movie, or had seen unfinished cuts of Coyote vs. Acme, praised it online and urged Warner Bros. to sell it to another studio or streamer. At least for a while, it looked like that might just happen.

Unfortunately, a damning new report in TheWrap makes it sound like the chances of anyone buying Coyote Vs. Acme are slim to none — not because there aren’t interested parties, but because Warner Bros.’ asking price for the movie is prohibitively high.

Warner Bros.
Warner Bros.

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TheWrap’s report states that “Netflix, Amazon and Paramount” all screened Coyote Vs. Acme, which was “received well,” and they “submitted handsome offers” for it. But they also claim that WBD “stood to make $35 – $40 million on the tax write-down,” and “wanted something in the ballpark of $75 – $80 million from a buyer” in order to sell the movie. Plus. the deal was a “‘take it or leave it’ situation” for interested parties.

At that price, with no room to negotiate, it seems extremely likely it will be a “leave it.” As a result, the article also claims that some involved with the movie believe that when WBD announces its fourth quarter 2023 earnings later this month that the film will “finally be silenced by a movie studio’s balance sheet.” (They quote one anonymous source who believes the studio might, in TheWrap’s words, “unceremoniously delete it. Never to be seen again.”)

Coyote vs. Acme supposedly follows Wile E. Coyote as he decides to sue the Acme Corporation because all of its products fail to perform their required service — a very funny idea, in fact. A live-action/animated hybrid, Coyote vs. Acme starred Will Forte as Wile E. Coyote’s lawyer, with John Cena as Forte’s “intimidating former boss.” Several other Looney Tunes characters appeared as well.

The film was even co-written by DC Studios co-CEO James Gunn. The film was written by Samy Burch, who was recently nominated for an Academy Award for her original screenplay for the film May December. Imagine if she wins an Oscar and has the subsequent film she wrote deleted in the span of a single month.

It seems ludicrous that any film studio might consider it more profitable to make and then delete a movie than to sell it to someone else. It’s like something out of a Mel Brooks movie. Hopefully, there is a last minute reversal of fortunes here. Although, given poor Wile E. Coyote’s luck, this almost seems like an appropriate ending — if a deeply upsetting one.

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