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Warner Bros. Scraps ‘Coyote vs. Acme’ Film Starring John Cena, Pivoting Toward Theatrical Releases

Warner Bros. Halts Release of “Coyote vs. Acme,” Focusing on Theatrical Strategy

In a recent development, Warner Bros. has decided not to release the film “Coyote vs. Acme,” which was completed last year. The move comes as Warner Bros. shifts its strategy to focus on theatrical releases under the leadership of veteran animation executive Bill Damaschke, who took over Warner Animation Group earlier this year.

“Warner Bros. Pictures Animation” was relaunched in June, and as part of this shift in strategy, the studio has opted not to move forward with “Coyote vs. Acme,” according to a spokesperson from WB Motion Picture Group. The decision was described as difficult, but it aligns with the studio’s new direction.

“Coyote vs. Acme” is a live-action and CG animation hybrid that had generated anticipation among moviegoers. The film completed principal photography in New Mexico and featured notable talents both in front of and behind the camera. Notably, John Cena, known for his role in the popular DC show “Peacemaker,” played a key role in the movie. DC Studios co-head James Gunn produced the film and contributed to the story, while Dave Green directed it.

The film was initially greenlit by the previous Warner Bros. leadership in December 2020 as a production for HBO Max, the studio’s streaming service. It was later announced to have a release date of July 21, 2023. However, no trailer was ever released for the film, leading to speculation about the studio’s intentions. In April 2022, Warner Bros. removed “Coyote vs. Acme” from its release calendar, replacing it with “Barbie.”

Based on Ian Frazier’s humor article “Coyote v. Acme,” published in The New Yorker in 1990, the film generated interest among fans of the Looney Tunes characters, including Wile E. Coyote.

Warner Bros. Animation has plans to release around two films a year. Upcoming projects include Locksmith Animation features “Bad Fairies” and “The Lunar Chronicles.” The studio is also working on several Dr. Seuss adaptations, including “Cat in the Hat” and an animated musical adaptation of “Oh, the Places You’ll Go!”

Damaschke, in his new role, aims to focus Warner Bros. Animation on creating theatrical-worthy content, including original films and movies based on the studio’s intellectual property, such as the beloved Looney Tunes characters.

This decision to shelve “Coyote vs. Acme” follows Warner Bros.’ move to halt other projects like “Batgirl” and “Scoob! Holiday Haunt” as part of cost-saving measures when Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslav sought to find $3 billion in savings across the media conglomerate. While the decision to shelve these projects created concern within the creative community, it reflects a broader strategic shift toward emphasizing theatrical releases.

While the exact reasons for the decision are not entirely clear, the filmmakers behind “Coyote vs. Acme” were informed of the studio’s intentions in advance. The move indicates Warner Bros.’ commitment to refining its approach and priorities in the evolving entertainment landscape.

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Ruben Jay
Ruben Jay
Ruben Jay is an American broadcaster, media blogger, and podcast host. Currently, Ruben is the President of MultiMediaMouth.com and the executive producer and host of the popular podcasts You’re My Best Friend and ON AIR with Ruben Jay, exclusively on MultiMediaMouth.com. Follow Ruben on Instagram, Twitter, and Tiktok @TheRubenJay.

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