That’s not all, folks.
Days after news broke that Warner Bros. was dropping an anvil on the completed movie Coyote vs. Acme by scrapping it for a tax write-off, the studio has reversed course. Director Dave Green will now be allowed to shop the hybrid live-action/animated movie to other potential distributors for a theatrical or streaming release, EW has confirmed. Puck first reported the news.
Based on a humor piece published in The New Yorker in 1990, Coyote vs. Acme is produced and co-written by James Gunn and stars John Cena and Will Forte, duking it out in a lawsuit filed by the Road Runner’s iconic nemesis.
The film was set to go the way of Batgirl and Scoob! Holiday Haunt, which were abruptly pulled from WB’s release schedule to take tax write-downs last year. Those moves were widely criticized at the time, and the decision to shelve Coyote vs. Acme was similarly controversial, especially given Looney Tunes’ status as an iconic brand for the studio. According to The Hollywood Reporter, several filmmakers canceled upcoming meetings with Warner Bros. after the news broke.
Many filmmakers also criticized the initial decision to mothball the movie on social media.
“I think it’s absolute bulls— that a studio can and does shelve the creative work of hundreds of people for a f—ing tax break,” Doctor Strange director Scott Derrickson wrote.
“The people working at Warner Bros are anti-art and I hope multiple anvils drop on their heads,” said No One Will Save You director Brian Duffield.
And Scott Pilgrim Takes Off showrunner BenDavid Grabinski wrote, “COYOTE V ACME is a great movie. The best of its kind since ROGER RABBIT. It’s commercial. It tested well. The leads are super likable. It’s beautifully shot. The animation is great. The ending makes everyone f—ing cry. I thought the goal of this business was to make hit movies?”
Green and several others who worked on the movie also lamented the initial cancellation. “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 director wrote. “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.”
Meanwhile, composer Steven Price shared behind-the-scenes footage of the film’s soundtrack being recorded and called the shelving “bizarre anti-art studio financial shenanigans,” while editor Carsten Kurpanek said, “my heart breaks for all the talented people that made it happen only to see their art erased in favor of accounting.”
Comedian John Early, who appeared in the movie as a news anchor character, also spoke out in favor of the project. “Save this movie!” he wrote, adding, “Think of my nieces!”
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