How quickly things can change for Wile E. Coyote. Last week, Warner Bros. announced that Coyote vs. Acme, a hybrid animated/live-action movie starring John Cena (Peacemaker, pictured above) and a bunch of familiar cartoons, would never see the light of day, or the dark of theaters. The studio decided to shelve the completed film entirely, just like they did with the unreleased and also completed Batgirl.
But there’s a twist here: As reported by Puck and confirmed by IndieWire, Warner Bros. is now going to allow the filmmakers to shop the film to other distributors.
Okay, so, they’re going to do the same with Batgirl next, right?
Though the studios rarely quite say as much, films are often shelved for tax breaks: Because of Hollywood math, it’s cheaper for studios to write off entire productions than just release them into the world. In the case of both Batgirl and Coyote vs. Acme, the WB line was that the studio was choosing to focus solely on theatrical releases—not the Max streaming releases these were both originally intended to be. But that doesn’t explain why they wouldn’t then simply release the dang things in theaters.
The creators of Coyote vs. Acme took to Twitter to talk about their frustration—and, in the case of composer Steven Price, to share a fun behind-the-scenes peek at a choral bit from the score. Director Dave Green wrote:
For three years, I was lucky enough to make a movie about Wile E. Coyote, the most persistent, passionate, and resilient character of all time. I was surrounded by a brilliant team, who poured their souls into this project for years. We were all determined to honor the legacies of these historic characters and actually get them right. Along the ride, we were embraced by test audiences who rewarded us with fantastic scores. I am beyond proud of the final product, and beyond devastated by WB’s decision. But in the spirit of Wile E. Coyote, resilience and persistence win the day.
Green might have known something the rest of us didn’t; he posted that line about resilience on November 9th, days before news broke that the film might find a new distributor. Whether that actually happens remains to be seenbut now, per Deadline, screenings are being set up for potential coyote rescuers.