If a project co-written by DC Studios CEO James Gunn is unsafe from cancellation then what could be the fate of other completed features under Warner Bros. Pictures? That is the sentiment from critics & cinephiles since learning of the shelving of the animated movie Coyote Vs. Acme featuring John Cena.
Coyote Vs. Acme’s shelving feels all too similar to Batgirl‘s axing at Warner Bros. Pictures – for starters, the animated project cost $72 million. While Hollywood creatives have been occupied in rejoicing over the Actors Strike conclusion – Warners’ latest move has reminded everyone of the risks filmmakers face due to studio execs’ inability to profit from a project they greenlit. A statement from WB’s spokesperson indicates the cancellation could be related to the earlier regime’s idea to produce Coyote Vs. Acme as a direct-to-HBO Max project instead of the big screens.
“With the re-launch of Warner Bros. Pictures Animation in June, the studio has shifted its global strategy to focus on theatrical releases,” notes WB Motion Pictures group’s statement (via: THR). Coyote Vs. Acme was a live-action based on humorist Ian Frazier’s 1990 article published in The New Yorker.
While the animated film was directed by David Green, DCU chief James Gunn helped develop the story and is also attached as a producer. The reactions on X clearly indicate WB’s goodwill among critics, filmmakers and moviegoers has taken a major hit. Readers can check out reactions below.
James Gunn produced and co-wrote the film. I wonder how he feels about this https://t.co/8GbEtfbAb8
— Daniel Richtman (@DanielRPK) November 9, 2023
The backlash for cancelling Coyote vs ACME is going to be far worse than the Batgirl cancellation
The movie was finished, not a victim of a dying cinematic universe AND had potential buyers who would have easily paid more than that 30 million tax credit
Heads are going to roll pic.twitter.com/nRYoUoq1Mk
— The Moonlight Warrior 🌙 (@BlackMajikMan90) November 9, 2023
COYOTE V ACME is a great movie. The best of its kind since ROGER RABBIT. It's commercial. It tested well. The leads are super likable. It's beautifully shot. The animation is great. The ending makes everyone fucking cry. I thought the goal of this business was to make hit movies?
— BenDavid Grabinski (@bdgrabinski) November 9, 2023
man if zaslav is even happy to kill a movie co-written by james gunn, the guy he JUST hired to save his superheroes….why would any filmmaker sign on to a warner brothers production! https://t.co/OKooOqqoAr
— John DiLillo (@JohnDiLillo) November 9, 2023
This is James Gunn production.
Zaslav really doesn't give a fuck, ah? https://t.co/1cZFl27sVH
— Unbiased Snyder Fan (@snyder_all) November 9, 2023
WB = We Broke https://t.co/irJzeYfYiD
— Chris Wong-Swenson⚡ (@pingpongflix) November 10, 2023
Cancelling a movie written and produced by James Gunn, the guy you want to oversee and regenerate the DC brand across movie tv and video games when it already completed filming. Yep, buddy you’re going in the wood-chipper https://t.co/ZFd5lRQMol
— Putruck #1 fan of the big wheel scene from POTC 2 (@SmallPutrk) November 9, 2023
James Gunn’s DCU ain’t making it past Superman: Legacy. If WBD is in a bad spot, they will just delete a movie rather than release it https://t.co/RjPsPGzX84
— X (@XTheExiled) November 9, 2023
I'll keep saying it. Can't even imagine spending years of my life to pull off the miracle that is bringing a feature film to life and then the studio deciding to delete it off the face of the earth for a tax write off. Before anyone even gets to see it. Impossibly cruel. https://t.co/j4Paa4TaRB
— John Squires 🎃 (@FreddyInSpace) November 9, 2023
I feel like the people involved in these films should be able to sue these companies in these matters https://t.co/iAnwEYtgJa
— Z (@TheeDCstan) November 9, 2023
Said it before, but the deal should be that if a studio wants to shelve a film for a tax write-off, then that film should be placed in the public domain. https://t.co/dr5Aka7T7G
— Rgirvan (@RobGirvan) November 9, 2023
Scott Pilgrim Takes Off director (which has Chris Evans & the original squad returning to voice) BenDavid Grabinski, who appears to have seen an early version of the movie – sounded off on social media stating, “Coyote V Acme is a green movie” while further criticizing the studio for shelving a commercial project for tax purposes.
Several critics have asked if James Gunn’s DC Films could also face the same uncertainty considering the DCU head-produced animated project has faced the axe. But on the bright side, THR’s report says the studio informed the filmmakers of the decision and plans to stay in business with director Green.
Meanwhile, WB may have restored some of the damage caused by the previous regime. In this instance, it is related to Christopher Nolan‘s exit from the studio following controversy surrounding their decision to release 2021 films simultaneously on streaming and in theaters. Surprisingly, the Oppenheimer director is on board to work with the studio
“Oh yeah, absolutely,” he says. “Pam and Mike and Zaslav, they’re trying to do some great things with that studio, which is encouraging to see.” It looks like WB chairpersons’ strategy to offer the Tenet filmmaker a bonus has paid off. However, it remains to be seen if the studio execs have any more offerings for the filmmakers of Coyote Vs. Acme
Heard this film got good test screening scores too. Very worrying that this is continuing to be a trend at Warner Bros https://t.co/EvnXssplW8
— Jacob (@JacobFisherDF) November 9, 2023
James Gunn produced this. Not even the head of DC Studios could get this film released by WB after a year of post-production.
WB isn't a studio anymore. It's just part of a conglomerate being hacked apart for profits until WBD can sell the whole thing off to Apple or Universal. https://t.co/WrjMfHzZfb
— staid (@staidindoors) November 9, 2023
shelving a fully finished film and erasing the work of the entire cast and crew just to take a tax write-off is one of the cruelest things you can do and the fact that it’s happened twice at WB makes me sick to my stomach https://t.co/sdUhwzko47
— Zoë Rose Bryant (@ZoeRoseBryant) November 9, 2023
James Gunn movie gets shelved it should read.
Guy is double dipping left right and center but somehow got stopped here. https://t.co/MKCnzzAUx8
— Carlos Digital (@BobDigi69) November 9, 2023
Can someone go back in time to when David Zaslav learned about tax write-offs and distract him?
If even a James Gunn-produced film isn't safe, it makes me wonder why anyone would decide to pitch a movie to Warner Bros. https://t.co/557O2GJf0b
— Stefan Ellison (@MisterCoat) November 9, 2023
David Zaslav canceled a show produced by James Gunn 💀 pic.twitter.com/1bVj2HDz5l
— Geralt of North (@Itssan17) November 10, 2023
Absolutely insane that Warner Brothers is hinging their entire empire on James Gunn and are yet still willing to completely junk one of his projects without a second thought.
— The King of Burbank (@akingofburbank) November 9, 2023
"best of its kind since roger rabbit" combined with "internal test scores were consistently in the 90s" combined with "james gunn looney tunes movie with practical effects and 3d animation" is going to make me pop a blood vessel https://t.co/s9rSxHz983
— Mush // COMMS PINNED (@Mush_64) November 10, 2023
What do you think of the shelving of the James Gunn-produced Coyote Vs. Acme? Let us know in the comments below
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