Congressman calls for Warner investigation – The Hollywood Reporter

A congressman is calling for a federal investigation into Warner Bros Coyote vs. Peak.

Texas State Rep. Joaquin Castro took to X to criticize the studio over its original plan to shelve the film for a tax break.

“WBD’s tactic of canceling full-production films to obtain tax breaks is predatory and anti-competitive,” the San Antonio Democrat wrote. “As the Department of Justice reviews its antitrust guidelines, it should review this behavior. As one person noted, it’s like burning down a building to get insurance money.”

Warners has since reversed its decision amid industry backlash and decided to try to shop the film to other studios and broadcasters. But the studio has previously shelved films for a tax write-off last year along with the films Bat girl And scoop! Holiday Hunt.

Castro has been outspoken on antitrust issues in media and entertainment. In April, he called on competition enforcers to reevaluate Discovery’s merger with AT&T’s WarnerMedia. This came after 30 members of Congress warned that the resulting competition vacuum would hurt workers and consumers, as well as reduce diverse programming — something that became a common criticism after the company packaged a $90 million movie for HBO Max. Bat girlthe first DC film directed by a Latina tax write-off.

In a letter to the Justice Department, Castro previously wrote that the deal enabled Warner Bros. Discovery from “adopting potentially anticompetitive practices,” including “cancelling products.”

“The damage to content creators whose projects are canceled in deep development and post-production cannot be overstated.” April 7 letter. “Such cancellations tarnish these projects, making them less attractive and less marketable to other buyers – consumers will likely never be able to view shows that were purchased and then canceled by WBD. WBD’s conduct amounts to a de facto ‘catch and kill’ exercise.” , which significantly limits consumer choice.

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Under current merger guidelines, the consideration if a deal is approved is whether it would induce the company to “divest a product that is strongly preferred by a significant number of customers.” Castro, in his comments on the shelves Coyote vs. Peakcould refer to the lack of competition in Hollywood that allows WBD to make unpopular moves without hurting its bottom line.

The call for an investigation is the latest development in the almost cartoon-like saga between live action and animation Coyote vs. Peakwhich went from just another title on Warners’ slate to the most popular film in Hollywood thanks to the studio’s initial efforts to cancel the project.

Unlike Bat girl And scoop! Holiday Huntbut, Coyote vs. Peak It was fully completed and successfully presented to the public with test scores in the 90s. Supporters of the project put pressure on the studio to change the decision last week, with some creators even canceling meetings with the company in protest. “I don’t know how you see a movie and then say, ‘This can’t happen to me.'” No one will save you Director Brian Duffield previously said THR.

Now the studio will now allow director Dave Green to shop the project, though it’s not yet clear what price Warner Bros. will set. for the title due to its potential value as a tax write-off that would help offset the film’s $70 million budget.

Coyote vs. Peak It follows the speechless and down-on-his-luck Wile E. Coyote as he teams up with a lawyer (Will Forte) to fight ACME. Just like in the cartoon, Coyote purchases ACME devices to try to kill Road Runner, but they never work properly, leading him to embark on a mission to take down the company instead.

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