Warner Bros. Discovery is yet again choosing not to release a film that they have already film, wagering it is more valuable to write down the costs of the production than it is to release the movie, either on streaming or in theaters.
This time the victim is Coyote vs. Acme, what was intended to be a live-action / animation hybrid featuring Wile E. Coyote of the Looney Tunes and also starring John Cena. According to Deadline, not releasing the movie will allow WBD to take a “$30M write-down on the $70M production.”
The company previously used a similar accounting tactic to shelve its nearly completed Batgirl film as well as a Christmas-themed sequel to their recent CG-animated Scooby-Doo reboot Scoob! instead of releasing them.
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As Deadline notes, however, this film is different from Batgirl and Scoob! Holiday Haunt in that “Coyote vs. Acme is a completed movie with very good test scores, 14 points above the family norm.”
We’re told that the cash-strapped Warners finds that it’s not worth the cost to release theatrically, or to sell to other buyers (and there are parties who are interested for their own streaming services). After reporting a mixed third quarter, the best means for Warners money is a tax write-off.
The film 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. Will Forte played Wile E. Coyote’s lawyer, and Cena was Forte’s “intimidating former boss.” The film was even co-written by DC Studios co-CEO James Gunn.
This is pretty disappointing news — in the specific, as this project actually sounded pretty clever, and in the general sense that it keeps happening over and over with WBD and other studios. What sort of world are we living in where it makes more sense for Hollywood to make things and then just lock them away in the warehouse from Raiders of the Lost Ark than to even attempt to release them? How can it be more financially viable to hide something — seemingly a decent movie! — rather than sell it off to another streaming service?
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