Movies

With Pic’s Fate Uncertain, Phil Lord Envisions Congressional Finale

  • Netflix and Paramount submit bids below the $70M asking price
  • Warner Bros. takes a $70M writedown on Q3 earnings
  • Concerns about anticompetitive behavior and tax loopholes raised

Introduction

After Warner Bros. decided not to release the animated live-action hybrid film, “Coyote vs. Acme,” the studio has screened it to around 12 potential buyers. The asking price for the movie is set at $70M, which is the exact cost of production. However, bids from Netflix and Paramount fell below the asking price, indicating that the rivals did not value the film at its cost. While Warner Bros. took a $70M writedown on their Q3 earnings, the future of “Coyote vs. Acme” remains uncertain.

Warner Bros. Seeks to Recoup Costs

According to sources close to production, Warner Bros. is not actively pushing for the sale of “Coyote vs. Acme” but rather aiming to recoup the costs of the film. The studio is not looking to make a profit but simply wants to recover the money invested. This has led to speculation about potential saviors for the film, such as David Ellison, who could acquire it and release it through Skydance’s Netflix output deal.

Phil Lord Raises Concerns about Anticompetitive Behavior

Phil Lord, the filmmaker behind successful Warner Bros. movies like “The Lego Movie,” expressed his concerns about the studio’s actions on Twitter. Lord questioned whether it is anticompetitive for Warner Bros., one of the biggest movie studios in the world, to shun the marketplace and use a tax loophole to write off an entire movie. Lord’s tweet suggested that this behavior may be related to Warner Bros.’ intentions to merge with another major movie studio.

Texas Congressman Criticizes Warner Bros. for Tax Writeoff Attempt

Texas congressman Joaquin Castro criticized Warner Bros. for attempting to use a tax writeoff for “Coyote vs. Acme.” He called the studio’s tactic predatory and anti-competitive, urging the Justice Department and the Federal Trade Commission to review the conduct. Castro compared Warner Bros.’ actions to burning down a building for the insurance money, suggesting that they were taking advantage of the system.

Conclusion

As Warner Bros. screens “Coyote vs. Acme” to potential buyers, the studio is seeking to recoup the costs of the movie rather than make a profit. However, bids from Netflix and Paramount have fallen short of the $70M asking price. Phil Lord’s criticisms of Warner Bros.’ actions and the involvement of a Texas congressman further complicate the situation. The fate of “Coyote vs. Acme” remains uncertain, and it remains to be seen if the film will ever see the light of day.

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