As ‘Coyote vs. Acme’ Hangs in the Balance, Warner Bros. Discovery Takes $115M Write-Down on Mystery Projects

Those following the saga of Coyote vs. Acme waited with bated breath Friday for Warner Bros. Discovery’s earnings report to hint at any signs of the animated film’s fate.

The feature became the most talked about movie in town on Nov. 10, when The Hollywood Reporter broke the news that Warners intended to scrap the movie. The outcry from filmmakers on social media was swift, and Warners soon reversed course, and decided to allow director Dave Green to shop the film to other buyers — something Green had been preparing to do when Warners surprised him by scrapping the film. Green ultimately showed the film to multiple buyers, with at least one bid coming in at around $40 million, according to one source.

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Friday brought no definitive news on Coyote vs. Acme‘s future, but there are troubling signs for those rooting for its release. As part of an earnings filing, Warner Bros. Discovery said it wrote off $115 million in content due to abandoning films in the third quarter of 2023 as part of a “strategic realignment plan associated with the Warner Bros. Pictures Animation group.”

Notably, Warners relaunched its theatrical animation division last year under the lead of Bill Damaschke and the plan is for the unit to have two features a year on its slate beginning in 2026, WBD CEO David Zaslav added on Friday in a call with analysts.

Part of those $115 million in newly disclosed write-down costs could conceivably belong to Coyote vs. Acme, a $70 million feature whose fate has been hanging in the balance for several months. Will Forte, John Cena and Lana Condor star in the film, a live-action, CG animation hybrid, alongside classic Looney Toons character Wile E. Coyote. Warner Bros. had no comment one way or the other.

The move arrives 18 months after Zaslav stunned Hollywood by canceling Batgirl and Scoob! Holiday Haunt for tax writeoffs. The strategy has made him a controversial figure among creatives, though his film division has managed to build relationships with top talent such as Tom Cruise, George Clooney, Paul Thomas Anderson, Margot Robbie and Ryan Coogler, who have all inked deals with Warners in recent months. (“Our partnership with Tom is off and running,” Zaslav said Friday, noting that film chiefs Michael De Luca and Pamela Abdy “spent a couple of days hard at work with Tom in London earlier this month.”)

Since last fall, there has been a grassroots campaign to save Coyote vs. Acme, with voice actor Eric Bauza among those championing the hashtag #ReleaseCoyoteVsACME. Observers were aware Friday could be judgment day for the project, as it was assumed the earnings disclosure would reveal its fate. Wrote Bauza Friday morning on X: “The fight to release ‘Coyote Vs ACME’ goes far beyond saving a great movie. We are trying to preserve the integrity & importance of these icon legacy characters, while protecting the creative process of storytelling all together.”

Alex Weprin and Borys Kit contributed to this story.

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