Rumor: ‘Coyote vs. Acme’ Was Shelved To Make Way For A New Looney Tunes Movie

Elmer Fudd Jams gun
Elmer Fudd (Greg Burson) sticks up Bugs Bunny (Billy West) in Space Jam (1996), Warner Bros. Animation

Why is it that a film ready for release after six years of development and high scores in test screenings got canceled overnight? When you’re dealing with Warner Bros. Discovery, the likeliest and easiest answer is a tax break, but that might not be the whole story.

Duck-Rabbit season
It’s open season for Bugs and Daffy (both Joe Alaskey) in Looney Tunes: Back In Action (2003), Warner Bros. Animation

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WBD might have shelved Coyote vs. Acme with their wallet on their mind while also secretly working in favor of a more traditional Looney Tunes cartoon called The Day the Earth Blew Up, according to Movie Web.

The site’s report posits Warner got cold feet due to the performance of the films Space Jam: A New Legacy and Looney Tunes: Back In Action. Similar to Coyote vs. Acme, these films employed a mix of animation and live-action, but unlike their predecessors Who Framed Roger Rabbit and the first Space Jam, they couldn’t recoup their budgets or become classics.

LeBron Legacy
LeBron James in Space Jam: A New Legacy (2021), Warner Bros. Pictures

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Contrast that with a fully animated movie like Teen Titans Go! To the Movies which had a leaner budget and made a bundle in theaters relative to it, and you might see why WBD had trepidation. Fortunately for a studio tightening its belt, they have the presumably less expensive Day the Earth Blew Up to give priority.

That doesn’t mean, however, that Coyote vs. Acme has reached the end of the trail without catching The Roadrunner. One source very close to the project says negotiations to shop the film around are still ongoing. 

“As far as I know, it’s ongoing,” the film’s writer Sammy Burch said via Indie Wire at the Oscars red carpet. “I think we’re all pretty heartbroken about it. We hope it will somehow find its home and not end up stuck in a vault for the rest of time. That would be a great resolution.”

“I know that they have been screening places and I think they still are,” Burch added. “I hope that I’m allowed to say that. I’m going completely rogue here. It’s just the best group of people. Dave Green, who directed it, I just love so much. Will Forte is amazing in the movie. I’ve seen the final cut of the completed film and I’m very proud of it.”

Forte expressed his discontent in a statement posted to social media. “Super funny throughout, visually stunning, sweet, sincere, and emotionally resonant in a very earned way. As the credits rolled, I just sat there thinking how lucky I was to be part of something so special,” Forte wrote in defense of the film. 

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“That quickly turned to confusion and frustration. This was the movie they’re not going to release?” He wondered.

IW reports Warner turned down offers made by Paramount and Netflix to buy Coyote vs. Acme for $30 million, which is an amount that wouldn’t cover the reported $70 million budget.

In The Day The Earth Blew Up: A Looney Tunes Movie, Daffy Duck teams up with Porky and Petunia Pig to stop an invasion by mind-controlling aliens – which is a plot quite befitting of old Duck Dodgers. 

Scheduled for theatrical release later this year, it will be the first Looney Tunes feature to hit theaters in over 20 years. Coyote vs. Acme and Space Jam: A New Legacy would have beaten it to the punch had things around the world worked out differently.

NEXT: Texas Congressman Joaquin Castro Wants Investigation Into Warner Bros. Discovery For Sudden Cancelation Of ‘Coyote Vs. Acme’

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