After Warner Bros. decided to scrap Coyote vs. Acme for a tax write-down, a US congressman has even voiced displeasure at the decision.
Last week, Warner Bros. made the annoying and bad decision to just shelve its live-action, CG hybrid film Coyote vs. Acme, starring John Cena. It was quite literally to just save money on taxes, an infuriating decision it also made with Batgirl and Scoob! Holiday Haunt last year. Backlash was immediate, though, with many across the internet – including some of those that worked on the film – expressing irritation at the news, particularly due to the fact the film had been completely shot. And now, US congressman Joaquin Castro has even commented on the matter.
The @WBD tactic of scrapping fully made films for tax breaks is predatory and anti-competitive.
As the Justice Department and @FTC revise their antitrust guidelines they should review this conduct.
As someone remarked, it’s like burning down a building for the insurance money. https://t.co/Vb8vj3brD7
— Joaquin Castro (@JoaquinCastrotx) November 14, 2023
“The [Warner Bros. Discover] tactic of scrapping fully made films for tax breaks is predatory and anti-competitive,” wrote Castro on Twitter. “As the Justice Department and [Federal Trade Commission] revise their antitrust guidelines they should review this conduct. As someone remarked, it’s like burning down a building for the insurance money.” While comments from random people on the internet can only get you so far, an actual congressman tackling the matter is potentially a different story (though, politicians aren’t exactly known for following through on things).
Warner Bros. has actually changed its stance on the film, as it’s now letting director Dave Green to shop the film around to other potential buyers. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Amazon is reportedly interested in the project, and screenings are said to take place this month. The report also claims that after the news of Coyote vs. Acme being scrapped was announced, a number of filmmakers told their representatives to cancel meetings they had with Warner Bros.
What made the decision from Warner Bros. even stranger is that the film was testing in the 90s, across multiple audience tests, so it had plenty of potential to do well. Warner Bros. may have had some amount of an argument with Batgirl, as it positioned the film as low quality, but that argument doesn’t work in this case (there’s also no way of knowing considering, you know, no one can actually watch it).
For now, we’ll have to wait and see who picks up Coyote vs. Acme, and see how much Warner Bros. ends up regretting the decision.