Coyote vs Acme: John Cena Led Live-Action/Animated Film Unceremoniously Shelved Forever by WB After Filming Completed

It appears Coyote vs Acme, the live-action and CG animation hybrid starring WWE Superstar John Cena and Looney Tunes character Wile E. Coyote will never see the light of day.
Space Jam A New Legacy Wile E. Coyote, Coyote vs Acme

It appears Coyote vs Acme, the live-action and CG animation hybrid starring WWE Superstar John Cena and Looney Tunes character Wile E. Coyote will never see the light of day. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Warner Bros. Discovery has opted not to release the film and put it in its vault forever, as the film will suffer a similar fate as the previously unreleased live-action Batgirl movie and the sequel to Scoob!

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The film was previously greenlit as a feature that would’ve been released straight on HBO Max (now simply Max) before it was later considered for a theatrical release. It had wrapped shooting in New Mexico in 2022. Director Dave Green also issued the following statement on social media:


Director Dave Green shared a message regarding the movie’s unceremonious cancelation via his X account (formerly Twitter) this week. 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.” He continued, “I was surrounded by a brilliant team, who poured their souls into this project. … Along the ride, we were embraced by test audiences who rewarded us with fantastic scores.” Green continued, “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.”

Space Jam A New Legacy Wile E. Coyote Road Runner, Coyote vs Acme

The move follows veteran animation executive Bill Damaschke taking over Warner Animation Group earlier in the year. The hybrid feature was reportedly budgeted at $72 million, and there were key Warner talents involved in the project both in front and behind the camera. Cena previously starred in Warner Bros. and DC’s The Suicide Squad, along with its hit spinoff TV series, Peacemaker. Also, DC Studios co-CEO James Gunn produced the film and also worked on the story.

While Warner Bros. is no longer releasing Coyote vs Acme, THR notes that the studio is looking to stay in business with the filmmaker, who is still developing a project at sister studio New Line Cinema. Also, a Warner Bros. Motion Picture Group spokesperson commented on the decision, noting that the studio had shifted its focus back to a theatrical release strategy.

Peacemaker John Cena Grand Theft Lotto star
Courtesy of Warner Bros.

The spokesperson stated, “With the re-launch of Warner Bros. Pictures Animation in June, the studio has shifted its global strategy to focus on theatrical releases.” They continued that the decision was the result of the studio’s new shift in direction, adding, “With this new direction, we have made the difficult decision not to move forward with Coyote vs Acme. We have tremendous respect for the filmmakers, casts, and crew, and are grateful for their contributions to the film.” The film was inspired by a humor article by Ian Frazier, “Coyote vs Acme,” that was published by The New Yorker back in 1990.

The previous studio regime greenlit the picture in December 2020 as a production meant to stream exclusively for HBO Max, which has since been rebranded as only Max. It was later announced for a July 21, 2023 release. No trailer was ever released, leading to questions surrounding WB’s plans for the project. Back in April of last year, Warner Bros. removed the film from its release calendar, and Barbie got placed for a July 21 release this year instead.

Batgirl Leslie Grace HBO Max

This decision appears highly reminiscent of what happened to the live-action Batgirl and CG-animated Scoob! Holiday Haunt films. Batgirl was a $90 million DC Universe feature and Scoob! Holiday Haunt reportedly cost $40 million and was a sequel to 2020’s Scoob! However, in August 2022, Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslav shelved both features as part of a tax write-down, saving $3 billion across Warner Bros. Discovery. Both films were intended to be released as streaming-only films on HBO Max.

The decision to permanently shelve both of those films was highly controversial. THR also reports that Warner Bros. in the case of Coyote vs Acme did at least offer the filmmakers advance notice that they were making this decision.

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The hybrid feature would’ve showcased Wile E. Coyote pursuing legal action against the Acme Corporation due to the failure of all their products when he tried to capture the Road Runner. As a result, he hires an unlucky human attorney (Will Forte) to sue the company.

John Cena would have portrayed the ACME Corporation’s CEO. The cast also featured Lana Condor and Eric Bauza, who would’ve voiced multiple Looney Tunes characters in the film.

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But what do you think of the news? Do you think Warner Bros. made a good decision here or is this incredibly disappointing news? Do you think Warner Bros. Discovery should rethink this move and still release Coyote vs Acme? Let us know your thoughts on the news on The Illuminerdi’s social media.

SOURCE: The Hollywood Reporter

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Jeff Harris

Jeffrey is an entertainment journalist and podcast host based in Los Angeles. He graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with a Bachelor of Science in Radio, TV, & Film and a Bachelor of Arts in Theater. Jeffrey is also a Staff Writer at where he writes about movies, TV, games, wrestling, interviews talent, and covers special events such as Anime Expo, Comic-Con, and CinemaCon. When Jeffrey is not binging his favorite seasonal anime or show, he enjoys playing dodge ball, gaming, watching films, and enjoying UT football. You can find him on Twitter @Wheeljack83.