A massive amount of pushback hit Warner Bros Discovery after it scrapped a $70M Coyote vs. Acme for a tax write-off. And while its decision was walked back, one U.S. congressmen is calling for an investigation on the company.
Texas congressman Joaquin Castro voiced his disappointment at Warner Bros Discovery’s decision on X, calling their scrapping of movies for tax breaks “predatory and anti-competitive.”
“As the Justice Department and @FTC revise their antitrust guidelines they should review this conduct,” Castro continued. “As someone remarked, it’s like burning down a building for the insurance money.”
According to DEADLINE, Castro alongside other Democratic congressmen had previously called out Warner Bros Discovery for the similar scrapping of the Batgirl movie in April.
While nothing has been confirmed, the scrapping of Coyote vs. Acme is likely due to the success of the Barbie movie.
Sources told DEADLINE, that the new administration “didn’t want the problem of the previous admin’s greenlights” and that the movie’s cost was “too high” to skip a theatrical release and to launch on its streaming service.
Basically, it’s hypothesized that Warner Bros Discovery doesn’t want to be tied down by its previous iterations projects. Additionally, it’s alleged that Warner Bros Discovery wanted to protect its Looney Toons IP from failure at the box office, following the massive success of Barbie.
That said, CEO David Zaslav isn’t necessarily to blame. It’s alleged that Warner Bros. Motion Picture bosses Michael De Luca and Pam Abdy, as well as animation head Bill Damaschke, were responsible.
“The studio executives, though not in their nature to cancel a movie, are getting a free pass from the top down to avoid any risk, and that’s being taken advantage of, as unhealthy as it is,” said one source.
With the investigations of other huge companies like Google and Meta, many see this uptick of suspicion as a long time coming, in part by Warner Bros Discovery merger.