In a surprising turn of events within the entertainment industry, Warner Bros. has decided to indefinitely shelve "Coyote vs. Acme," a much-anticipated feature film that was set to spotlight the iconic "Looney Tunes" character Wile E.
Coyote, with WWE superstar John Cena playing the primary antagonist. This project marked Cena's continued collaboration with Warner Bros. Discovery, following his roles in "The Suicide Squad" and the "Peacemaker" series. Despite the initial excitement surrounding the film's announcement back in 2018 and Cena's involvement confirmed in 2022, it seems the project is now off the table.
The decision to halt the project came to light after The Wrap reported a conversation between producer Chris DeFaria and a Warner Bros. executive in January, indicating the studio's intention to discontinue the film's development.
This news comes after Warner Bros. had previously retracted a cancellation, allowing the film to be pitched to other studios for potential takeovers.
Acme Deal Stumbles
Despite efforts to find a new home for "Coyote vs. Acme," including promising negotiations with major platforms like Netflix, Amazon, and Paramount—with Paramount even suggesting a theatrical release—the financial expectations set by Warner Bros.
proved to be a significant hurdle. The studio was reportedly seeking a deal in the $75-80 million range, taking into account the $35-40 million tax write-off they anticipated, leaving little room for negotiation. Adding to the complexity of the situation, it has been revealed that key Warner Bros.
executives, including David Zaslav, Michael De Luca, Bill Damaschke, and Pam Abdy, had limited engagement with the film's final product. Notably, Zaslav had not viewed the film in any capacity, while De Luca and Abdy had only seen a director's cut, and Damaschke attended the initial audience preview.
This detachment raises questions about the decision-making process, especially considering "Coyote vs. Acme" was a project initiated before Warner Bros.' merger with Discovery in April 2022. The indefinite shelving of "Coyote vs.
Acme" marks a significant moment in Warner Bros.' evolving strategy post-merger, reflecting the industry's shifting priorities and the challenges of bringing beloved characters to new audiences. As the studio prepares for its fourth-quarter earnings call on February 23, the film industry and fans alike await further insights into the future of Warner Bros. Discovery's cinematic endeavors.