Just over a year after the statement Batgirl has sent shockwaves throughout Hollywood, and Warner Bros. puts another of his films in the studio vault.
Warners no longer plans to release Coyote vs. Acme, a live-action, CG-animation hybrid that completed principal photography in New Mexico last year. The move follows veteran animation director Bill Damaschke acquiring Warner Animation Group earlier this year.
“With the relaunch of Warner Bros. Pictures Animation in June, the studio shifted its global strategy to focus on theatrical releases,” a spokesperson for WB Motion Picture Group said in a statement. “With this new direction, we have made the difficult decision not to continue Coyote vs. Acme. We have enormous respect for the filmmakers, casts and crew and are grateful for their contributions to the film.”
The feature film involved key Warners talent in front of the camera and behind the scenes. It stars John Cena, who starred in Max’s hit DC show Peacemaker and who returns for the second season. And James Gunn, co-head of DC Studios, produced the feature and worked on the story. Dave Green directed. Warners plans to continue doing business with the filmmaker and is developing a project at sister film division New Line Cinema.
The previous Warners regime greenlit the film in December 2020 as a production for HBO Max, the young streaming service. It was announced later Coyote would be released on July 21, 2023. A trailer for the film was never released, leading to questions about the studio’s intentions for the project. In April 2022, Warners removed the feature from the release calendar Barbie on the July 21 release date.
The film was based on Ian Frazier’s “Coyote v. Acme,” a humor article published by the New Yorkr in 1990.
Warner Bros. Animation tries to release about two films a year, with upcoming projects including the Locksmith Animation features Bad fairies And The Moon Chronicles in development. There are also several Dr. Seuss adaptations in the works, including Cat in the hat and an animated musical adaptation of Oh, the places you go!. Sources say Damaschke is the focus of Warner Bros. Animation is looking to shift toward strictly theatrical fare, aiming to produce both original films and films based on the studio’s IP, including Looney Tunes, the stable of cartoon characters of which Wile E. Coyote is a part.
Warners suspended the $90 million Batgirl and the $40 million animated film Scoob! Holiday chase in August 2022 as a tax write-off, with the newly installed CEO of Warner Bros. Discovery, David Zaslav, tried to find $3 billion in savings in the newly created media conglomerate. Both Batgirl And Scoob! were intended for streaming, with Zaslav also shifting strategy in favor of theatrical releases. The move sparked outrage among the creative community.
Sources say that in this case, the studio at least gave filmmakers advance notice of the decision.