EDITORIALS

Fox Suing Warner Brothers Over Watchmen Movie

by
February 12, 2008
Source: Hollywood Reporter

Watchmen

What the heck is it with lawsuits this week? First it's the Tolkien estate attacking New Line, now it's Fox attacking Warner Brothers. If you know me well enough, you probably know exactly what I'm going to say about this before we even begin. Fox filed suit on Friday against Warner Brothers, claiming they have the rights to develop, produce, and distribute a film based on Watchmen. Interesting thing to note: DC Comics, who published (and therefore owns the real rights to) Watchmen, is a subsidiary of Warner Brothers Entertainment and has been since 1969. Oh Fox, let's just admit you've already lost this case.

Fox's lawsuit seeks to "restrain (Warner Bros. Pictures) from taking actions that violate Fox's copyrights and which stand to forever impair Fox's rights to control the distribution and development of this unique work." In essence, this would shut down production on the film. They claim that between 1986 and 1990, they acquired all movie rights to the 12-issue DC Comics series and screenplays by Charles McKeown and Sam Hamm. That's not it though, things aren't that streak-free here.

In 1991, Fox sold some rights to Largo International with the understanding that the studio still held exclusive rights to distribute the first movie based on the graphic novel. Largo shut down sometime around 1994 and the rights were thus transfered to big-name producer Lawrence Gordon. Fox claims that under a separate agreement between Fox and Gordon, he would pay a "buy-out price" to Fox if he was contracted by another studio to develop Watchmen. Fox also claims that they have now not been paid the buy-out amount by either Gordon or Warner Brothers and have not been otherwise involved in the development of the movie, even though they think they should be.

I love it when people squeal and complain when they "had it first" but someone else made it big and successful. Fox, you gave up on this project 17 years ago, back in 1991. I think it's best if you just consider yourself stubborn for giving up the rights and not progressing forward on what could turn out to be an incredible adaptation of the greatest graphic novel ever written. And do I need to mention again the fact that DC Comics is owned by Warner Brothers, which I think just about trumps everything regarding intellectual rights? I'm not a lawyer, but I do think I'm correct here, right?

It really seems like both of these lawsuits are just a matter of some company flipping out because something became big and they gave up on it way back when and now want to be involved. And when something becomes a success, whether financially or publicly, or both, people desperately want to have their involvement back, even if it means taking them to court. This country is sue happy. Remember last year when all those people who were shown in Borat tried to sue Fox for the most ridiculous reasons? Same story there. People are greedy, jealous, and sue happy in this country and it's a sad thing to see. Fortunately Fox is going to get squashed in this case, but nice try.

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  • ----Fortunately Fox is going to get squashed in this case, but nice try.---- Hope you'll right...
  • Micah
    As if I needed any more reasons to hate Fox.
  • Well, I guess I'll be boycotting Fox' Movies then. Shame, I was really looking forward to ..... oh no, I wasn't !! They've nothing of interest on offer. Nada. Lets all boycott them, they'll collapse and wont be able to afford the Lawyers for this petulant case ... (ok, I was kinda looking forward to Jumper, but thats it.)
  • derek
    Seriously. Fox pisses me off. This is just one more reason for me to hate them.
  • AT
    I'm not a huge Fox fan myself, but aren't they almost done filming this thing?!? Why has it taken so long for them to get sued over this? And what's going to happen to the film that's already in production? I'm guessing that's gonzo now.
  • JoyBoy
    OK Now Everyone needs to Boycott FOX.....They're just pissed off that Warner Bros. is making far better movies than they are. If you looked at the past few years of the best films out there its most likely Warner Bros. was behind it. Fox Ruined Dragonball, Street Fighter (Chun Li), and don't forget The Happening. Lately they havent been doing a good job out there and I'm going to Boycott Fox Films from now on.

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