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