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Watchmen halted by courts

Watchmen_Poster.jpgThis is one hell of a shock, and one that stopped me from going to bed at the end of a long Xmas day. The news is that a Judge has ruled in favour of Fox in the ongoing legal battle between them and the studio who have made the Zack Snyder film happen, Warner Bros.

So what you might ask? Well Fox originally had control of the Watchmen film and dropped it thinking it wasn't such a good idea. The project has moved to a few studios since with failed attempts, and it's only Warner Bros. that have had the vision and pockets to get the film made.

Now Fox want the film stopped, and it looks like they're going to get their way.

Unbelievably the Judge presiding in the case of Fox versus Warner Bros. over the rights to distribute Watchmen has delivered a ruling early, and turned around from the direction that we all thought he would take.

The Judge previously announced that he only believed that the issues could be decided in court in January, but he's surprised everyone and issued a five page court ruling early, just in time for Christmas.

In the ruling he states the following:

“Fox owns a copyright interest consisting of, at the very least, the right to distribute the ‘Watchmen’ motion picture...”

Merry Christmas all comic book fans from Judge Gary A. Feess and Fox. The Judge has just given some copyrights and control of the film over to Fox, and it looks like Fox will put a halt to Watchmen and fans will never see the film.

However, just so that the Judge could ensure that he didn't have to make a concrete decision, he's also allowing Warner Bros. to have a crack at an appeal. His ruling also states that the trial is going to go ahead and that the parties should sit down and talk about sorting things out.

“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...”

Frankly I consider this to be complete rubbish and Fox are being incredible sore losers, showing a complete disregard for the audience and the comic book fan, and are actually showing a hatred and revulsion for fans of the Watchmen.

They don't apparently seem to be after any profits from Warner Bros., they've openly stated that before and again here in the ruling written up in the NY Times through Cinema Blend, that they want to stop the film. They want to stop the audience from seeing Watchmen, keeping it from the cinemas and the fans.

Now I don't pretend to understand the inner workings of contractual law and how the deals with studios and production companies work, but let's have a quick run down of the history and how we got here, believe me this won't take long.

Fox got the rights to Watchmen for the producer Lawrence Gordon, but they decided not to make it, they lacked the vision and the guts. Gordon took the film to Universal and Paramount, where both studios fell flat on there behinds trying to make the film, getting close with the last attempt getting Paul Greengrass behind the helm and moving forward with pre-production.

However those studios faltered with the project too. Then came Warner Bros. and the talent of Zack Snyder. Now together they had a great vision, and Warner Bros. pulled behind Snyder allowing him to create what looks like a stunning adaptation of perhaps the world's greatest comic book.

Now Fox are feeling put out and are throwing their toys out of the pram. They couldn't make it through their own choices, but Warner Bros. could, they put money, resource and time into the project and invested a hell of a lot, making the film where other studios had failed, including Fox.

So Fox are taking them to court and want the rights to distribute the film. This is perhaps to take all the profits from the hard work and investment that Warner Bros. and Zack Snyder have carried out and reap the benefits for doing nothing but sitting on their arses for all this time sulking that someone else had the guts to make the film.

As Fox manage to get the Judge to agree with them and issue a big “tough luck” to the audience anticipating Watchmen, they look set to gain a hell of a lot, and maybe even stop the film completely.

I can hardly believe it. This ruling says that Fox have rights over the Warner Bros. film for doing nothing and even dropping the idea, and this paves the way for them to stop the film entirely. Surely that just can't be right?

Thanks to Fox, no one might get to watch the Watchmen, and if they do that I can see a big fan backlash - and I'm not talking fanboy here, don't dismiss us that quickly Fox, I'm talking audience, the people who give you your profits. I can see Wolverine, the young X-Men and Magneto all suffering.



Well I certainly hope this comes out because its my most anticipated movie for 2009. It seems ridiculous that they would never release the movie but then again there are some incredibly stupid people out there.

Fox is going to get some nasty press over this from us internet fanboys.

I can't believe this is going so far.
when it eventually comes out, the press that this is stirring up should actually help WB market the film.

utter shock. is there any possibility that we'll never get to see it? or is this just a matter of an agreement being struck bt/ WB and fox? and if so, i wonder what will happen.

If I'm going to be really honest and objective about it I think Fox is going for a 100% in order to get 50%. They're saying they want the film shut down in order to scare Warner Bros. into giving as much as they can in profits as payment to Fox - for doing nothing other than getting Gordon the rights to the novel.

It's basic negotiations, aim high and work down till you get an agreement, well I hope that's how it's going to play out, I can't really see them stopping the film completely. At least that's what I'm hoping for.


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