The Completed and Canned ‘Coyote vs. Acme’ Movie With John Cena Was Good Actually
When David Zaslav goes to collect his $30 million tax write-off for shelving yet another finished film, he would do well to make sure it’s not sitting atop a big red X and below a dangling grand piano.
Yesterday afternoon, Warner Bros. announced that it would not release its already completed film Coyote vs. Acme, a live action-animation hybrid featuring the iconic Looney Tunes character and starring WWE Hall of Famer John Cena. The studio spent an estimated $70 million making the movie that was ordered under the company’s previous CEO, Jason Kilar, who also commissioned two other projects that were canceled by his successor Zaslav after they were completed: the highly publicized Batgirl film and the less-mourned Scoob! Holiday Haunt.
Though the controversial Warner Bros. Discovery don’s decision to can the completed film is hardly a surprising one, given Zaslav’s history of hating movies as well as the creatives who make them, the greatest shock to come out of the Coyote vs. Acme shelving is the revelation that, judging by the reaction from the film community and the spectacularly successful test screenings of the movie, it could have been a massive hit – and not in the comically oversized hammer to the head way.
Coyote vs. Acme was originally supposed to premiere this past July, but the release date was bumped to make room for Barbie, thus clearing the way for the Barbenheimer phenomenon that gripped the summer movie schedule. Coyote vs. Acme co-starred Saturday Night Live alumnus Will Forte and X-Men: Apocalypse actress Lana Condor with DCEU director James Gunn serving as producer and co-writer on the project.
According to data acquired by Deadline, Coyote vs. Acme saw incredibly strong results from test screenings that were “14 points above the family norm,” which, without knowing exactly what those “points” are and whether or not they can be exchanged for prizes, sounds promising. Additionally, industry insiders who had access to screeners for the film have lamented the decision to seal it off from audiences, with filmmaker Brian Duffield tweeting, “I have seen this movie and it is excellent. It also tested in the high 90s repeatedly. It also had interested buyers. The people working at Warner Bros are anti-art and I hope multiple anvils drop on their heads.”
The Scott Pilgrim vs. The World Netflix series co-creator BenDavid Grabinski spoke similarly after seeing Coyote vs. Acme, addressing Warner Bros on Twitter, “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?”
Sadly, with Warner Bros. Discovery facing a $417m loss in Q3 following extended strikes and ongoing executive incompetence, the media giant decided that scoring some quick cash off a tax write-off and cutting their losses was a more attractive option than releasing Coyote vs. Acme on Max or attempting a theatrical run. So, just like Cena himself, we can’t see it.