This Looney Tunes Movie From 20 Years Ago Weirdly Predicted The Coyote Vs. Acme Drama
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This Looney Tunes Movie From 20 Years Ago Weirdly Predicted The Coyote Vs. Acme Drama


  • Warner Bros. cancels projects under new CEO, mirrors meta-commentary in Back in Action movie.
  • The cancelation of Coyote Vs. Acme reflects an imbalanced, commercial approach to filmmaking.



The Coyote Vs. Acme drama was oddly predicted in a 2003 Looney Tunes movie with impeccable meta-commentary scenes. The Looney Tunes constitutes a significant cartoon franchise dating back to the 1930s, responsible for some of the most iconic and innovative animated characters of all time. The Simpsons have developed a reputation for “predicting the future” with bizarre segments that have imagined real-world events years before they happened, and while Looney Tunes may not have the same fortune-telling reputation, one movie scene bears an uncanny similarity to current drama in the film industry.

Coyote Vs. Acme was a project that began production in 2018 and was eventually filmed in 2022, mixing live-action stars like John Cena with beloved animated characters. However, in November 2023, Warner Bros. canceled Coyote Vs. Acme after it had already been completed, deciding the project would be better off shelved to obtain a $30 million tax write-off. This has been a continued trend for Warner Bros. since David Zaslav stepped in as CEO in 2022, also infamously canceling Batgirl and Scoob! Holiday Haunt, raising genuine concerns over Warner Bros. work ethics and the relationship between art and business.

Looney Tunes Back In Action Made Fun Of The Movie Studio Business Model

The 2003 movie’s opening scene depicts a robotic, bureaucratic approach to movie making.

In 2003, Warner Bros. released another live-action/animation mix for the franchise, titled Looney Tunes: Back in Action. The film wasn’t particularly well-received by critics, but it’s become a nostalgic classic for audiences who grew up with it and is still considered the best Looney Tunes movie. One thing is for certain: Looney Tunes: Back in Action is ripe with meta-commentary on the film industry, including critical scenes that poke fun at the bureaucracy behind the Hollywood filmmaking process.

The film’s opening scene takes place at a Warner Bros. executive board meeting where dozens of men (who are all hilariously wearing the same suit) discuss the research going into making a film. There are scenes with executives watching Looney Tunes movies and deciding whether they work or not. The question of whether Daffy Duck is a popular enough character to hold his own as a movie’s lead is also discussed. The commentary on the filmmaking process is fascinating and, unfortunately, demonstrates how little has improved in the past 20 years.


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Coyote Vs. Acme’s Cancelation Makes Looney Tunes Back In Action Weirdly Accurate

The Back in Action scenes perfectly reflect the Coyote Vs. Acme controversy.

A composite image of Will Forte and John Cena with Wile E. Coyote from Looney Tunes

The broader issue behind Coyote Vs. Acme’s cancelation is the bureaucratic, commercial-based approach to filmmaking. On the one hand, the movie business needs to make a profit to stay afloat, but the balance between artistic freedom and commercial control seems to be at a grave risk when viewing the Coyote Vs. Acme situation. Not only did Warner Bros. shelve the project for tax purposes, but they also refused to negotiate in good faith with other companies interested in purchasing and distributing the film. Given how monumental Looney Tunes is to Warner Bros. history as a studio, it’s even more upsetting.

The shocking, weirdly accurate part is that the actual company’s actions resemble those of a cartoonishly evil organization that would exist in a
Looney Tunes

The scenes in Looney Tunes: Back in Action reflect the situation perfectly, as they portray the Warner Bros. executive team as an almost robotic institution whose only goal is to make a profit. The film’s use of focus groups and research studies to show which characters perform well with audiences is reflective of the real-world industry. The shocking, weirdly accurate part is that the actual company’s actions resemble those of a cartoonishly evil organization that would exist in a Looney Tunes cartoon.

Wile E. Coyote reading the Acme catalog

Looney Tunes movies have had a bad track record in the 21st century, with Space Jam: A New Legacy receiving an abysmal critical reception. Still, part of why audiences have gravitated toward the unmade Coyote Vs. Acme is that it seems to indicate a fresh, progressive take on the franchise, which could help guide Looney Tunes forward into contemporary pop culture. This lends itself perfectly to the meta-commentary in the previous film, which partially examines the movie studio’s relationship with risk-taking.

The Looney Tunes: Back in Action commentary jokes about the company doing what’s safe, i.e., relying on Bugs Bunny to lead films because he “tests well.” Coyote Vs. Acme is a risk because it doesn’t utilize Bugs Bunny or Daffy Duck as its main characters and instead looks to offer a fresh take on the Looney Tunes. Risky ideas have constantly pushed the film industry forward, and the cancelation of Coyote Vs. Acme, out of fear of trying something new, is incredibly disheartening. The film’s future is still in the air, so here’s to hoping audiences get to see it.

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