May 28, 2024

Warner Bros. Discovery’s streaming platform Max caused a bit of stir on Monday when it sent out its list of films and television series being added to and leaving the service in December. Included on the list of shows being taken off Max was “Looney Tunes,” one of the studio’s most cherished properties. The news sent “Looney Tunes” fans and Max subscribers into a frenzy on social media, with many infuriated at Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslav for seemingly stripping Max of “Looney Tunes” content after his recent decision to scrap the “Looney Tunes” movie “Coyote vs. Acme” despite filming being already completed.

Was this the latest step in the total erasure of “Looney Tunes” at Warner Bros. as many fans feared? Not at all, according to Max. The streaming service later sent out an updated list and the following statement: “Please note – a revised What’s New on Max This December press release can be found below. ‘Looney Tunes’ was included in error as a title leaving the platform. This is not the case and the show will continue streaming on Max.”

The only “Looney Tunes” property leaving Max in December is the 2003 film “Looney Tunes: Back in Action,” starring Brendan Fraser and Jenna Elfman. It’s not uncommon these days for streaming services to remove films and license them out to other platforms, and “Back in Action” could very well return to Max in the future.

For many “Looney Tunes” fans, the idea of Max removing the show from its platform was entirely believable considering what went down with “Coyote vs. Acme.” Warner Bros. announced earlier this month it was shelving the completed “Looney Tunes”-inspired film as a $30 million tax write-off, following its strategy with other shelved-films such as “Batgirl” and “Scoob! Holiday Haunt.”

“Coyote vs. Acme” director Dave Green expressed his disappointment about Warners’ decision to nix his film, a movie he worked on for three years. “Along the ride, we were embraced by test audiences who rewarded us with fantastic scores,” the filmmaker wrote on social media. “I am beyond proud of the final product.”

Amid backlash from the creative community, Warner Bros. announced it was letting the filmmakers shop “Coyote vs. Acme” to other distributors. Screenings are being set up for Amazon Prime Video, Apple and Netflix to acquire the movie.

The “Looney Tunes” scare comes at a time of increased awareness over streaming services’ ability to remove content at any time. Christopher Nolan recently made headlines when he humorously urged fans to buy a physical copy of “Oppenheimer” on Blu-ray so that no “no evil streaming service can come steal it from you.”

“It was a joke when I said it. But nothing’s a joke when it’s transcribed onto the internet,” Nolan later told The Washington Post. “There is a danger, these days, that if things only exist in the streaming version they do get taken down, they come and go.”

Guillermo del Toro then echoed Nolan’s sentiment on X (formerly Twitter) by writing: “Physical media is almost a Fahrenheit 451 (where people memorized entire books and thus became the book they loved) level of responsibility. If you own a great 4K HD, Blu-ray, DVD etc etc of a film or films you love…you are the custodian of those films for generations to come.”

“Looney Tunes” remains available to stream on Max.

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