EDITORIALS

Watchmen Legal Battle is About the Sequel Rights, Too?!

by
November 18, 2008
Source: LA Times

Watchmen

This is all just speculation, nothing official, so don't get too heated up over it. Blame Hollywood for the lack of interesting news, because I wasn't going to mention this today until I ran out of things to write about. Over the weekend, the LA Times ran an extensive article on the ensuing legal battle between Fox and Warner Brothers over the rights to Watchmen. There isn't a soul left who doesn't know about it and it isn't over yet - but everyone (including me) is tired of writing about the mundane legal aspects especially when we just want the two to figure it out. However, an interesting quote was found in their article that makes me a little nervous. "They are not just fighting over Watchmen, they are also fighting over sequel rights."

Before I get too far in, let me clarify what the statement really means. Entertainment attorney Mel Avanzado, who is not at all involved in the litigation, told the LA Times that. However, he added at the end: "Whoever controls the franchise probably controls quite a bit." Obviously this guy doesn't exactly know what he's talking about and shouldn't be commenting on this. He may know legal issues, but anyone who has ever read Watchmen knows that there is no way there would ever see a sequel. However, he is right in that whoever wins will control the franchise, and if Watchmen turns out to be as big of a success everyone is predicting, this means making money on merchandising galore, DVDs, and so much more.

That's I'll mention from their write-up, unless you've got time to spare and want to read through it all. They do actually clarify what the battle is about, though, in terms everyone can understand. "20th Century Fox believes that no matter how many hands Watchmen has passed through, Fox controls the right to make or, at the very least, distribute Watchmen, even though Warners is currently producing and distributing the film." On the flip side: "As Fox sees it, Warners infringed on Fox's rights, and Watchmen producer Lawrence Gordon gave Warners rights he didn't possess. Warners says Fox's claim is baseless and, as one of its court filing says, 'opportunistic' -- a last-minute, backdoor attempt to cash in on another studio's potential hit." Hopefully they get to the bottom of this soon. The day that happens, we'll be here to report it!

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  • big r
    I love how through all of that i am only writing about the fact that they are making sequels! thanks for the great news Alex
  • real talk
    these squabbles seem irrelevant, considering this movie MAY not be thought too highly of "in the long run". ( 300 comes to mind) my hopes of this being a faithful adaptation are declining with the consistent clips of stylized slow motion, talks of an alternative ending, and trailers relying on pseudo-mainstream-alternative rock. like most who enjoy a good action romp, especially ones based on interesting source material, this Watchmen situation is shaping up to be almost insulting to the fans of Moore and Gibbons' work. i guess we will see come next spring!
  • Laser-beak
    @2 300 still rocks, man. Rocks hard. And I don't think we have a lot to worry about here. Like it said, this is mostly speculation anyway. But what we've seen of the movie looks pretty darn good, in my opinion. In any case, I would argue that Snyder is being much more faithful than any number of other directors of movies based on fan-favorites. As long as it's more faithful than Spiderman 3, right?
  • Blue Silver
    I suppose a lawsuit was in order since Fox screws everything they make. Since the poor performance of the Fantastic Four series---Fox is hard up for a potentially BIG franchise! I'm really disliking Fox more and more!! How low can they keep going????
  • JL
    @#2 real talk, Snyder already said he wants to be as faithful to the subject material as possible. Don't lose faith in the production based on the trailers alone. Most trailers contain whole scenes or versions of scenes that won't appear in the actual film. And about 300, the subject material was a god awful embelishment of a great story that needs no embelishment, and Snyder delivered THAT very well. If the film had been more closely based on the actual historical event, it would have been interesting, horrifying, and exciting enough to get and hold an audience, without the ogre and the metro sexual Xerxes. I too have seen some things in the trailers that I didn't see quite fitting with the graphic novel, and the fact that there is mention of an alternate ending has many people upset. Nevertheless, I'm counting on this one to be one of the better films of 2009.
  • A.J.
    I certainly hope Warner comes out on top or a compromise can be reached, because knowing Fox, they would try and make a sequel to cash in.
  • nelson
    ummm i am 100% positive Snyder said he would never do a sequel so whats the point
  • dac_fan
    I have to disagree, if this movie makes big money at the boxoffice you can bet your ass they will find a way to make a shitty second film.
  • Janny
    well the current fanbase of those who read the watchmen would most likely set aflame the internet if a sequal was proposed. 1) how the hell do you add a sequal to that 2) Alan moore will not be involved (unless some miracle happens) It has been stated a prequal could be drawn up but once again Alan Moore wouldn't be involved
  • nelson
    it not just that there is nothing left to tell Manhattan isolated on mars Rorschach dead comedian dead dan and Laurie aswell as Manhattan are fine with Adrian getting away with murder all past foes or allies are either too old or dead there is no point
  • scm1000
    @10 Wow, thinks for giving the whole story away. Luckily I've read it, but still. No need to go into that here where there are people who haven't read it everywhere. Just leave it at "No sequel would be possible due to the way it all turns out."
  • Luis M
    Coming soon... WatchKids! See the adventures of li'l Rorschach, li'l Manhattan, the Nite Owling, Silky the Kid Spectre, and more! Saturdays at 9 AM, only on Fox! /dying on the inside for merely thinking about this.
  • ck
    why does everyone keep saying that there is "talk" of an alternate ending? There REALLY IS and alternate ending!!! The SQUID will NOT be in the ned of the movie! Zack Snyder said it himself-- do yourself a favor and read!! http://watchmencomicmovie.com/111008-watchmen-movie-zack-snyder-ending-changed.php
  • S
    After reading the link on #13's post this whole “Dr. Manhattan energy beam” thing has me worried. What does that mean? Are they going to frame Dr. Manhattan?
  • Ajax
    14: No, and here's why. Ozymidas said that teleportation would not exist without Dr. Manhatan. So, anything that Ozymidas would teleport would look similar to Dr. Manhatan.

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