Congressman Joaquin Castro has taken to X/Twitter to call out Warner Bros. Discovery for planning to shelve the completed film “Coyote vs. Acme” for the sake of receiving a $30 million tax break. Amid backlash against the studio, WBD has since put the film on the market in an effort to shop it to other potential distributors.
“The @WBD tactic of scrapping fully made films for tax breaks is predatory and anti-competitive,” Castro wrote on X. “As the Justice Department and @FTC revise their antitrust guidelines they should review this conduct.”
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The Texas Democrat concluded his message by saying, “As someone remarked, it’s like burning down a building for the insurance money.”
“Coyote vs. Acme” is a live-action animation hybrid from WBD’s “Looney Tunes” universe, featuring Lana Condor and John Cena. Shooting concluded in 2022 with a $70 million budget.
“Coyote vs. Acme” marks the third instance in less than two years in which WBD has announced its plan to withhold a fully completed film’s release in order to get a tax break. Both “Batgirl” and “Scoob! Holiday Haunt” were originally intended to be released on Max, but never saw the light of day so the studio could cut its losses. WBD conveyed at the time that this would not be a repeated occurrence, prompting further outrage when the studio announced “Coyote vs. Acme” would not hit screens big or small.
Director Dave Green shared his disappointment with WBD’s decision on social media, writing, “Along the ride, we were embraced by test audiences who rewarded us with fantastic scores. I am beyond proud of the final product.”
Warner Bros. Discovery did not immediately respond to Variety‘s request for comment.
Read Castro’s post below.
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
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