Another project slated for the former HBO Max has been put back on the shelf, with the announcement that Warner Bros. Pictures has no plans to release the hybrid Looney Tunes movie Coyote vs. Acme, starring John Cena. Announced in 2020, the film was originally slated for July 21, 2023 but was removed from WB’s release calendar in April of 2022.
The pic completed principal photography in New Mexico last year, and was being directed by Dave Green. DC Studios co-Chairman & co-CEO James Gunn was producing and had worked on the story, based on the humorous New Yorker article by Ian Frazier (1990). Filmmakers were reportedly given advance notice of the decision.
A Warner Bros. Motion Picture Group spokesperson made the following statement: “With the re-launch of Warner Bros. Pictures Animation in June, the studio has shifted its global strategy to focus on theatrical releases. 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 new incarnation of Warner Bros. Pictures Animation is led by DreamWorks veteran Bill Damaschke, whose appointment was announced in June.
Coyote vs. Acme is the latest animation project affected by the Warner Bros. Discovery merger and CEO David Zaslav cutting quest to save $3 billion in its wake, following the canceled Batgirl and Scoob! Holiday Haunt and other projects like Batman: Caped Crusader which were shopped to other outlets after being cut from the Max lineup. (B:CC will now stream on Prime Video.) According to various reports, the studio is taking an estimated $30 million write-down on the $70 million production, applied to the recently reported Q3 earnings.