Bottom line: Warner Bros. Discovery has abandoned Coyote vs. Acme, a live-action film with animated elements based on the classic hijinks of Wile E. Coyote from Looney Tunes. Now, there's hope that the flick might see the light of day after all.
Initial reports suggested Warner Bros. Discovery had shelved the project, which stars John Cena and Will Forte. It was directed by David Green and written by May December, and cost around $70 million to produce. Filming is said to have wrapped up last year in New Mexico.
Coyote vs. Acme was inspired by a humor article from Ian Frazier that was published in The New Yorker in 1990. In it, Wile E. Coyote hires a billboard lawyer (Forte) to file suit against Acme, a company whose products have failed him time and again in his pursuit of capturing the Roadrunner.
The logline sounds interesting enough; in line with the cartoon's lore but also realistic enough to appeal to a wider audience. Unfortunately for whatever reason, Warner Bros. Discovery wasn't thrilled with the finished product and decided to shelve it.
Puck is now reporting that Warner Bros. has had a change of heart and will allow the filmmakers to shop the movie to other distributors. Warner Bros. didn't comment on the matter directly, but a "good source" told the publication the decision was made over the weekend by film bosses Mike De Luca and Pam Abdy, along with new animation head Bill Damaschke, following outcries from those in the animation community and some heated back-and-forth between actor / director reps and the studio.
Why give up on it in the first place, especially when it's already done? Puck notes that some higher-ups were concerned it wasn't strong enough for a theatrical release (it was originally meant to be a direct-to-Max movie for the Covid era) and could damage the brand. Space Jam: A New Legacy, for example, had a budget of $150 million but generated just $163.7 million at the box office.