According to ‘The Wrap,’ barring a big offer in the next few days, it may be the end of the line for the #SaveCoyoteVsAcme campaign, as Warner Bros.’ claim the filmmakers could shop the film were ‘dubious at best.’
Great article by Drew Taylor just posted at The Wrap, which details the seemingly underhanded and destined-to-fail efforts to find a new studio home for Warner Bros.’ live-action/hybrid comedy, Coyote vs. Acme.
Directed by Dave Green, with a screenplay by Samy Burch, James Gunn, and Jeremy Slater, and based on Ian Frazier’s 1990 humor article “Coyote v. Acme,” the ill-fated flick was adapted for the big screen by Burch. Mixing courtroom procedural and zany comedic elements, the story centers on a down-and-out billboard lawyer who decides to represent Wile. E. Coyote in his lawsuit against ACME Corporation over its defective products.
John Cena (Peacemaker) stars alongside Lana Condor (To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before), Will Forte (Ruby Gillman, Teenage Kraken), P.J. Byrne (Gen V), and others. The VFX were created by BUF, DNEG, Double Negative, Firebrand VFX, Framestore, Jellyfish Pictures, and Warner Brothers, with George Murphy acting as visual effects supervisor.
Legendary voice actor Eric Bauza, who voices Wile E. Coyote in the film, may have been premature when he tweeted, “See ya in 2024!” this past December 31 alongside a still from the film, the first image most had seen on the project that rocketed into the news last November 9th when Warner Bros. officially shelved the film a full year after it had been completed.
At that time, the studio stated, “With the re-launch of Warner Bros. Pictures Animation in June, the studio has shifted its global strategy to focus on theatrical releases,” a WB Motion Picture Group spokesperson said in a statement. “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, cast, and crew, and are grateful for their contributions to the film.”
Fans went nuts, and, purportedly, the studio reversed its decision and an honest attempt to find the film a new home was launched. Bauza’s post drew tremendous attention and breathed needed life into everyone’s hopes that someone (like Amazon or Netflix) would scoop it up.
Well, that was 2023. And this is 2024. According to Taylor, one of the film’s producer, longtime animation and VFX executive Chris DeFaria, got a call early last month that basically said the studio wants to be done with this and close the books. With the studio’s upcoming earnings call set for February 23, the curtain will likely close on what Taylor surmises was more charade than Cinderella story.
What’s more, Warner Bros.’ price tag included additional studio fees associated with the film, bringing the number being shopped to a reported $75-80 million. And… the executives making the decisions on the film’s future hadn’t even watched it. And and… accounts from insiders and test audiences who had seen the film were extremely positive.
It seems a $35-40 million tax write-off is just too good to pass up. As if it takes a Wile E. Coyote, super genius, to figure that out.
Head on over to The Wrap to get all the gory details!
Dan Sarto is Publisher and Editor-in-Chief of Animation World Network.