Warner Bros. Reverses Course on ‘Coyote vs. Acme’ Shelving, Will Allow Film to Be Shopped to Buyers

The studio intended to take a $30 million tax write-off on the live-action/CG hybrid, but the move resulted in outcry from the creative community

Coyote Roadrunner
"Coyote vs. Acme" (Credit: Warner Bros.)

Warner Bros. will no longer be shelving the completed live-action/animation hybrid film “Coyote vs. Acme” after outcry from filmmakers and artists over the decision last week. Instead of taking a tax write-off on the movie, TheWrap has learned that the studio will now allow it to be shopped to other distributors, meaning it will hopefully see the light of day.

Warner Bros. had no comment.

The studio said last week that it was shelving the completed movie due to a shift in strategy. “With the relaunch of Warner Bros. Pictures Animation in June, the studio has shifted its global strategy to focus on theatrical releases,” a Warner Bros. spokesperson said at the time. “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.”

The move was met with vitriol from filmmakers like Scott Derrickson (“Doctor Strange”) and Brian Duffield (“No One Will Save You”), who took to X to slam the move to bury a film that so many had worked on for so many years, especially in light of positive test scores for the feature. This was also the third time the studio had made such a decision after David Zaslav shelved the completed “Batgirl” movie last year, and the studio also scrapped “Scoob! Holiday Haunt,” signaling to the creative community that their work with the studio would not be guaranteed to see the light of day.

The story for “Coyote vs. Acme” follows Wile E. Coyote, the hapless coyote who is always attempting to down the roadrunner, as he sues ACME Corporation, the company responsible for all of his malfunctioning equipment. Will Forte plays the coyote’s lawyer, while John Cena is the bad guy – the attorney for ACME.

When the film was shelved, its director Dave Green took to X to say he was “devastated” by the decision.

“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,” the filmmaker said on X. “I was surrounded by a brilliant team, who poured their souls into this project for years. We were all determined to honor the legacies of these historic characters and actually get them right. Along the ride, we were embraced by test audiences who rewarded us with fantastic scores. 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 resilience and persistence has paid off, it appears. Just like its titular hero, “Coyote vs. Acme” will live to see another day.

Puck first reported the news.


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