Friday, December 26, 2008
This may not be good if you are a Watchmen fan. Quick recap, Fox owned the rights to Alan Moore's masterpiece, Watchmen, but did nothing with it. Then Warners made a movie with Fox fully aware.
But once the fans fell hard for it during Comic Con, all of a sudden Fox gives a damn. So they sued and I hate to say it, but they won.
In a surprise ruling, a federal judge in Los Angeles said he intended to grant 20th Century Fox’s claim that it owns a copyright interest in the “Watchmen,” a movie shot by Warner Brothers and Legendary Pictures and set for release in March. The decision was disclosed in a five-page written order issued on Wednesday.
Gary A. Feess, a judge in the United States District Court for Central California, said he would provide a more detailed order soon. Fox has been seeking to prevent Warner from releasing the film. The superhero adventure, based on the “Watchmen” graphic novel, is being directed by Zack Snyder (who also directed “300”) and has shaped up as one of most eagerly anticipated releases for next year.
A Warner spokesman, Scott Rowe, declined to comment on the ruling and the studio’s plans. At an earlier hearing, the judge said he believed that issues in the case could be settled only at a trial, which was scheduled for late January. On Wednesday, however, Judge Feess said he had reconsidered and concluded that Fox should prevail on crucial issues. “Fox owns a copyright interest consisting of, at the very least, the right to distribute the ‘Watchmen’ motion picture,” the ruling said. Fox acquired rights to the “Watchmen” graphic novel in the late 1980s for the producer Lawrence Gordon, but eventually dropped its own plan to make a movie from its story, about the underside of life for superbeings.
Mr. Gordon later pursued the project with Universal Pictures, and then with Paramount Pictures, before shooting it with Warner and Legendary under an arrangement that allows Paramount to distribute the film abroad.
In ruling on Wednesday, Judge Feess advised both Fox and Warner to look toward a settlement or an appeal. “The parties may wish to turn their efforts from preparing for trial to negotiating a resolution of this dispute or positioning the case for review,” he said.
This should prompt artists and creators to keep their stuff on lockdown so mess like this won't happen. Fox had every right to sue, but it still comes off very shady. Both studios should work something out and make sure this movie is released on time. They need to know that we, the fans, are in middle of this. If this battle gets ugly, everybody suffers. So I hope this can get solved and settled soon.
Thanks to Latino Review for the news.