Coyote Vs. Acme: Warner Brothers just killed a full-length animated film to avoid paying taxes

That too… under Zaslav, they keep making shit up about shows not have financial value, but it’s pretty clear that they do. This is what happens, though, when everything is a commodity, and its only inherent value is money. :woman_shrugging:


I was thinking that maybe the plot of the movie was a thinly-veiled dig at Amazon, with an evil Bezos-type character as the main villain. And that the real reason the the movie was getting canned was because of pressure from Bezos, much like how Hearst tried so hard to kill the release of Citizen Kane.


If they can’t sell it for more than it cost them it doesn’t have value. But I’m not really arguing that this was a good or bad write-off, especially given the atrocious state of accounting in the entertainment industry. All I’m saying is that, while the idea of closing what is seen as a loophole sounds good, there would be a lot of unintended consequences.

Nonsense. People and businesses sell assets at a loss all the time. There’s no reason the tax code should make it more profitable to destroy a usable asset rather than sell it off to someone else.


Again, “value” should not be defined just by the immediate short-term economic gains. This strategy is bullshit and is based on short-term economic thinking rooted in modern neoliberalism, rather than any long-term strategy to ensure that culture that has value to people in ways other than how rich it makes some already rich assholes has a chance to be seen by the public rather than us being on the hook for growing the wealth of the 1%… This is a flat out bankrupt way to run a company, frankly, that diminishes the value of culture into nothing more than a commodity.

I say fuck that shit. I’m tired of thousands of people busting their asses on a project that they likely give a shit about and getting their hard work shelved so Zaslav can buy another yacht or mansion or whatever. I really don’t understand holding water for this strategy because it’s “rational”… no, it’s fucking not. NONE of the modern neolliberal economy is rational… we’re fucking up our planet in a myriad of ways (including here, culturally) so that a few dudes can get a few more billions? How the fuck is that RATIONAL!!!


My point is exactly that it does have real world ramifications. I’m not talking about wealthy investors. The tax code applies to everyone. The vast majority of business in the U.S. are small businesses. The majority of non-employer businesses have revenue somewhere between $50k and $80k. Restricting the ability of businesses to write-off impaired assets would cause real hardship to very ordinary people.

None of this is really about this film, and I apologize for that. It sucks that this film will never see the light of day and that hundreds of thousands of hours of work will go to waste.

I’ve never said that I think what’s happened here is a good idea. Someone said we should close this “loophole,” and I said that’s likely to affect a lot more people that they’d expect.

Ah yes… me, as a random person who isn’t a billionaire, has the exact same access to a team of accountants who can figure out a way to ensure I pay no tax whatsoever. Yep… that’s how the world works. We all have the exact same experience with the tax system as billionaires and trillion dollar corporations… yes sir… /s

Who also do not have the same power as a wealthy corporation.

No one is saying “no one ever should write shit off”… of course they should, because sometimes it’s necessary. This is not one of those times.

We need a tax system that takes the vast inequality that exists into account, prioritizes ensuring everyone contributes, gives breaks and write-offs that make sense, rather than just letting the most empowered people do whatever they’d like with no consequences so that they are not contributing to the things that they benefit from…

The tax system is absolutely rigged in favor of the ultra-wealthy and this is an example of that reality…


We should not have a tax code that creates perverse incentives for businesses of any size.

If a Mom-and-Pop business has a usable but unprofitable asset (say, a bike shop with a high-performance bike they can’t sell for as much as they put into it) then the tax code shouldn’t reward that business for destroying the asset instead of selling it at a loss.


Pop Tv Yes GIF by Schitt's Creek

Not sure how we got to debating the points of whether or not tax law is working for the vast majority of us, when it’s clearly given extensive privileges to a minority of tax payers, who happen to be the ultra wealthy… This strategy that Zaslav has been using to get tax breaks for a while now is frankly just evidence of how lop-sided and borked our tax system is…


Can they not sell it at a loss and then write off the difference between recovered sales price and production cost instead? Genuine question, I have no ideas how these things work.


New rule: If you kill a project for a tax write off the country now owns it and it becomes public domain.


Exactly, assign the ownership and copyright of the film to the Library of Congress, and let them license it to streamers and distributors as they see fit, preferably without exclusives. They can then take the revenue to augment their other cultural preservation efforts.


None of that happens until we overhaul our tax system and our copyright system. :woman_shrugging:


The one acceptable excuse I can think of for shelving a movie like this is if it ended up being so bad that, not only was it unlikely to make much money at the box office, but it was also going to damage an otherwise-valuable brand or franchise and therefore hurt future earnings potential. But that’s a whole different matter than going for a dumb tax write-off, and likely wasn’t a factor in this case. It’s not like Warner Brothers is selling a ton of Wile E. Coyote merch right now and that a bad film would kill that revenue stream.


In other words “The Day the Clown Cried-bad.”

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Coyote Vs. Acme was, by some accounts, was a different account (like you said). I’m not sure I agree with the acceptable excuse you offer considering how broadly that could be interpreted. How can you know it’s going to damage a brand? Aside from films that are disgustingly offensive or mistimed (like a film featuring an attack on the Twin Towers released literally days before 9/11), it’s too broad and leaves open the exact scenarios we have now with Zaslav and his project shelving.

It’s even more frustrating when you think about it. For the past several years we’ve seen companies launch their own streaming services and then chase after content to put on them. Now we have completed projects that they’re pushing aside instead of releasing them on streaming to see how well they do. They could even do low or no marketing effort silent releases instead of implying to their creative talent that these films are worth more when buried.

Maybe Zaslav is overcorrecting after the releases of Space Jam 2 and Tom and Jerry. But even they made a (marginal) profit despite being pandemic releases and having same day streaming.


June 2024. Save the date!


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