Is “Birdman” a stealth remake of a 1957 Looney Tunes cartoon, “Show Biz Bugs”?

Is “Birdman” a stealth remake of a 1957 Looney Tunes cartoon, “Show Biz Bugs”?

Over the weekend I had the pleasure of screening the sure-to-be-nominated acting/directing tour de force, Alejandro González Iñárritu’s Birdman (or the Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance). It’s an original film, shot in a unique style, filled with some of the best acting I’ve seen all year. 

But something was nagging me as the film went along… a feeling I’d seen this story before, with another somewhat bird-like leading character as the star. By the film’s conclusion, my encyclopedic-cartoon brain began to count the similarities in Birdman to a 1957 Friz Freleng Warner Bros. cartoon, Show Biz
starring Daffy Duck and Bugs Bunny.

Here are some striking comparisons I made between the two films (WARNING: Spoilers Below!). See if you agree with my findings:

1. Daffy Duck and Riggan Thomson both gained motion picture
fame playing  feathered lunatics.

2. Daffy and Riggan both stake their professional comeback
on a stage performance. 

3. Daffy and Riggan are both thwarted in their stage show by a
clever, more appealing rival (Edward Norton/Bugs Bunny) 

4. Daffy and Riggan make their way around Times Square without any clothes on.

SPOILER ALERT!  5. Daffy and Riggan commit suicide on stage
…Or do they?? 
"But…" as Daffy says floating towards the sky, "I can only do it once!"

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How ’bout putting "Spoiler Alert" up at the top, rather than right next to the spoiler?


You do know that Birdman was a Hanna Barbera cartoon right? I understand your plot comparison, I’d say an ode at best, but instead of trying to analyze similarities why don’t you analyze why the Hanna Barabera Birdman is used in this amazing multi-layered film?

Jerry Beck

"Show Biz Bugs" is indeed on DVD – The Looney Tunes Golden Collection Vol. 2 (disc 4) and on blu ray Looney Tunes Platinum Collection Vol. 2.


I wouldn’t surprise me at all if he indeed ‘remade’ this Looney Tunes cartoon. He’s done it before: Iñarritú’s initial sequence of "Biutiful" is a ‘stealth remake’ (or homage?) of Milos Forman’s 1965 ‘Loves of a Blonde’.


These comparisons are ridiculously inane. Even if I tried to take it seriously, none of the examples given are even accurate comparisons. Regardless, "Show Biz Bugs" is arguably the last great Bugs Bunny short. Dig the variation on the exploding piano gag, this time with a xylophone but as always, it’s "Those Endearing Little Charms."

Dale Latimer

So Show Biz Bugs isn’t in any (actively available) L.T. collection video?



Whoa! Talk about similarites! Birdman is not the only work that used some of the plot of "Show Biz Bugs"…..remember the season 1 SpongeBob episode "Culture Shock", they lifted a scene from that episode from "Show Biz Bugs". If "The Bugs Bunny Show" is impossible to find in vaults, ask collectors for kinescopes!

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