Social media was in an uproar this week because Warner Bros. canceled its Wile E. Coyote movie, Coyote vs. Acme. The film, a hybrid live-action/CG project starring John Cena, had finished shooting a year ago according to The Hollywood Reporter. But that’s not the only shocking aspect of Coyote vs. Acme‘s cancelation:
This isn’t the first time WB pulled a movie
Over a year ago, Warner Bros. canceled Batgirl, which cost $90 million, most likely for tax reasons and leadership changes. This time around, the studio is blaming a shift in strategy on theatrical releases (Coyote was originally set to stream on Max before getting a theatrical release date that was bumped, according to Rolling Stone). In a statement to The Hollywood Reporter, a spokesperson for WB Motion Picture Group said:
With the re-launch of Warner Bros. Pictures Animation in June, the studio has shifted its global strategy to focus on theatrical releases…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.
Sources told Deadline, however, that Coyote is canceled so Warner Bros. can take a $30 million tax write-off — the same reason Batgirl was shelved.
WB is trying to “crack the kids”…and cancels a kids’ movie
Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslav recently stated in the company’s quarter three earnings call that, “We still haven’t really been able to crack the kids. We have a huge amount of kids’ content…We’re going to attack that.” Vulture pointed out the irony of Zaslav saying this days before the announcement of Coyote vs. Acme‘s cancelation.
We never saw a Coyote vs. Acme trailer
In the nearly three years since Warner Bros. greenlit the project in December 2020, the studio never released a trailer for the Wile E. Coyote movie, The Hollywood Reporter stated. While intended for streaming at first, Coyote later got a theatrical release date of July 21, 2023. Barbie ended up bumping Coyote from that slot, and now the film’s cancelation sheds new light on the lack of teases for the audience.
Coyote vs. Acme‘s crew was blindsided
According to Rolling Stone, cast and crew — and fans eager to watch — were shocked at the news. Apparently, the director Dave Green and top producers were only informed once the studio was already writing the movie off. Similarly, the Batgirl cast and crew were also blindsided at the time. Green posted a statement on X, formerly Twitter, writing, “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…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.”
The movie was a hit with test audiences
Part of Green’s shock over the cancelation was over how well initial audiences received Coyote vs. Acme. In his X statement, he said, “We were embraced by test audiences who rewarded us with fantastic scores.” Deadline reported that the scores were “14 points above the family norm.”
Unfortunately, the crew won’t ever enjoy the fruits of their labor, and neither will moviegoers. Meep meep.