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Watchmen Update: Fox Still Fighting to Delay its Release!

by
December 29, 2008

20th Century Fox - Justice is Coming to All of Us. No Matter What We Do.

An unnerving update on the Watchmen legal battle has arrived today courtesy of the AP. An attorney for 20th Century Fox told them that "the studio will continue to seek an order delaying the release of Watchmen." And on the other side, an attorney for Warner Brothers also told them that "he didn't know if an appeal was coming, but thinks a trial is necessary and a settlement unlikely." While it wouldn't be right of me to jump to conclusions, this seems to be getting worse every day. Naysayers believe this will be settled quickly, but news like this obviously shows that Fox and Warner Brothers don't want that.

We still don't know what this means for Watchmen, as we only get tidbits of news like this randomly. On Christmas Eve, we reported that Judge Feess had ruled that "Fox owns a copyright interest consisting of, at the very least, the right to distribute the Watchmen motion picture." However, Feess has said today that he plans to hold a trial on January 20th to decide on remaining issues. While Feess did make that previous statement in a five-page written order released last week, it's obvious that Warner Brothers still wants to fight this and will probably file an appeal soon in hopes of keeping the March release date.

Those of you that think this is going to be solved quickly and Fox will just get their logo slapped on the front of Watchmen are very wrong. I'm not a lawyer, but it's not too hard to tell that this isn't just an open-close kind of court case. Obviously Warner Brothers is going to fight tooth and nail for this, just as I would, because they're the ones who made it what it is and they're the ones who have supported it all along. Fox doesn't deserve a single penny, or so I believe, and I'll be supporting Warner Brothers to the end. Who knows what is going to happen next, but you can be certain we'll be following this to the very end.

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Reader Feedback - 41 Comments

1

🙁

Al on Dec 29, 2008

2

Warners screwed up royally by not clearing all the rights before they started shooting. You can't just build a house on some else's land without permission. Warners has been reckless in the past with rights issues and this one is coming back to bite them in the ass.

Zack on Dec 29, 2008

3

Zack: Fox may be within their rights, but to continue your analogy, what kind of dirtbag sits there and watches the other guy build the entire house brick by brick, and right when the moving truck pulls up with furniture for the new family, THEN he protests that it's his land? Fox did this to be maximally destructive; screw them accordingly.

Joe on Dec 29, 2008

4

Well, I guess that means the movie is good. If it weren't, Fox wouldn't be such an ass about it

dodo on Dec 29, 2008

5

We actually had an entertainment lawyer come speak to us in our film class at college, and it was said that Fox actually have a team of lawyers whose sole job it is to look through any material entertainment or otherwise, where they can find grounds to sue. To me, they're just bunch of greedy fuckers, but #2 is right. Warners should have cleared the rights in the first place. In another area, Alan Moore was quoted in saying that he actually put a curse on the film. Hmm, coincidence??

Leon on Dec 29, 2008

6

I don’t think it’s got anything to do with the movie at all. I think that Fox is going to go for the throat so to say and stop this movie from ever being released. Think of the money that went into Watchmen if the studio cant recoup some of this then in this current economic climate this will bankrupt Warner or this is what they are hoping. Seems fox can’t make a decent movie themselves so there out to steal one from Warner. I always knew Fox was full of shit but even this is a very low act to commit and I for one would not like to be them when Karma bites them in their greedy asses. I fully intend from here on in to Boycott every film that Fox makes and then make sure that I watch it on Screeners and copied DVDs.

Dar-El on Dec 29, 2008

7

Fox suits are just too damn ruthless. I guess that is one way to cash in on another studio's formula for a potentially good movie, something they can't do themselves---butchering their own movies. Ex: "X-Files", "Babylon AD", & "Live Free or Die Hard"!

Blue Silver on Dec 29, 2008

8

how in th hell does fox expect to get money from this if it never gets released to be able to make money LOL

nelson on Dec 29, 2008

9

Can't Warner invoke laches? Since Fox has basically been bleeding Warner dry with lawsuits AFTER they made the movie?

Daniel on Dec 29, 2008

10

What is laches? I hope they can do something, because I don't want to see Fox get any money...

Alex Billington on Dec 29, 2008

11

I'm no law student, but the definition is here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Laches_(equity) "In most contexts, an essential element of laches is the requirement that the party invoking the doctrine has changed its position as a result of the delay. In other words, the defendant is in a worse position now than at the time the claim should have been brought. For example, the delay in asserting the claim may have caused a great increase in the potential damages to be awarded; or assets that could earlier have been used to satisfy the claim may have been distributed in the meantime; or the property in question may already have been sold; or evidence or testimony may no longer be available to defend against the claim."

Daniel on Dec 29, 2008

12

Great, movie looks stupid. I would know, I'm stupid.

scared stupid on Dec 29, 2008

13

I wrote this on a petition I'd started: "Things have their shape in time, not space alone. Some marble blocks have statues within them, embedded in their future. Without me, things would have been different... Am I to blame, then?.. Which of us is responsible? Who makes the world? Perhaps the world is not made. Perhaps nothing is made. Perhaps it simply is, has been, will always be there..." -Dr. Manhattan "We in this country, in this generation, are by destiny, rather than choice, the watchmen on the walls of world freedom." -John F. Kennedy Watchmen is more than just another comic book waiting to be filmed and mined for profit. To many of us, Watchmen changed our lives. It made us want to be writers, directors, comic book authors, artists. It is a book of such gravitas and intelligence that it is more than simple art or great storytelling. It is one of a kind and there will never be another like it. The care and love is in every panel, every page, every instance of dialogue and at every available opportunity it asks us to go farther. It is a book you never stop thinking about and one whose resonance only increases with each passing year. There's a reason this film wasn't made until now. It asks, nay screams, for a guiding hand in assuring it is preserved, respected, and most of all, treated with a sense of versimilitude. Zack Snyder is that hand, and this film is his as much as the graphic novel is Alan Moore & Dave Gibbon's. Hollywood has fallen dramatically out of step with it's audience and in giving us what they think we want or what maximizes profit, they've sacrificed quality. By thinking that no one wants to sit through a three hour comic book film, they've grossly underestimated us. Isn't The Dark Knight now one of the most critically acclaimed and financially successful films of all time? It's not that we don't want to sit through a three hour film; it's that we want it to be worth those three hours. Please don't give us another film of misdirected passion. 20th Century Fox has had every available opportunity to make this film, and have chosen to remain completely quiet through pre-production, filming, and post-production. It wasn't until that first trailer was released and they saw the potential, ambition, pure love, and absolute dedication to detail that Snyder & his production team approached this film with. It's in every frame of every bit of footage they've released. There are images and layers of details in this film no one will ever fully comprehend, no matter how much we freeze frame. It is as close as anyone will get to bringing that world to life. And now, that world is in danger. We don't want to see another generic superhero flick. For once, we want to be heard. This is our stand. Who watches the Watchmen? We do.

Fuelbot on Dec 29, 2008

14

Excellently put, Fuelbot.

trig. on Dec 29, 2008

15

I would be on board to boycott if it weren't for the Wolverine movie coming out. Then again, I heard they effed with that too, so if they effed it up enough to the point where it disappoints, I will forever hate Fox, and boycott them in any way I can. I think that's the only way they can realize they need to stop messing with their own (and even others') movies. Just allow some creative license. Let directors make the movie they want. Dunno how else they would understand to stop butting in so excessively other than if they start to lose a lot of money. And only the general public will be able to effect that.

Alfredo on Dec 29, 2008

16

Sure it is partly Warner Bros. fault this happened, but (and its a big but) Fox should not have let the film get completely made and then complain. The fact that they waited should make any attempt for them to get profit or do anything to WB's film null and void. How can that be right? They had the chance to act, and they didn't. So screw Fox, they're going to fail with the economy soon anyways - who the hell even sees their films or watch their channel (besides the terrible American Idol which people go ape shit over).

Itri on Dec 29, 2008

17

so did fox just wait till WB finished the movie or did they just not know? I mean if they knew the movie was being made and had rights to it and said nothing wouldn't that work against them somehow in the court room?

cali on Dec 29, 2008

18

i wish fox was one huge throat and i had my hands around it. but seriously i went on wikipedia and looked at the list of past 20th century fox films, and from what i remember, they really have done a panfully terrible job at marketing their movies. they really don't run their trailer stoo much on television and they never hype it enough, not to mention the quality of their movies. if u look at the upcoming release schedule and take watchmen out of it, needless to say we're in for a long, cold winter

LeeMan on Dec 29, 2008

19

fuck fox! i'm boycotting everything fox. wolverine, avatar, the super bowl, and the MLB postseason. i hate them even more for forcing me to boycott wolverine (one of my fav comic characters and he's an x-man) and avatar (james cameron). fox are sleazy fcuks who'll never get my respect

andrew on Dec 29, 2008

20

I'm laughing at this -it's too funny!

MJC on Dec 29, 2008

21

Sorry Andrew (#19) but I think you need to take some pills... as much as I hate the way FOX runs their film branch, I can't believe you would boycott something you WANT to see like Avatar or Wolverine. You are choosing to boycott them not the other way around. I think guys like Gavin Hood and James Cameron deserve to have their movies seen even if it comes down to money for FOX, it's a creative achievement for them and the same goes with Snyder's Watchmen.

BahHumbug on Dec 29, 2008

22

i actually respect andrew for wanting to boycott something he likes. that takes a lot of balls. as for those who say it was WB's mistake and get over it, that does not make WB the bad guy. They made a mistake, thats it, nothing that would counter act the evil empire that is fox.

Al on Dec 29, 2008

23

BahHumbug - From the way they treat their movies, or the way they dump television shows like it's nothing, they simply DON'T CARE about anything but money. Wolverine is most likely going to suck because it isn't the movie Gavin Hood wanted to make. That news came a few weeks or so after the director of Babylon AD ripped Fox a new one in the press. James Cameron, seriously; what can Fox say to James Cameron? Most directors working for Fox aren't going to get final cut, but Cameron can pretty much do whatever the hell he wants at this point.

Fuelbot on Dec 29, 2008

24

Fox might just want to move Watchmen out of the way so it doesn't compete with one of their movies. That's me thinking REAL positive.

MCab on Dec 29, 2008

25

Fox is indeed a horrible company. They knew from day one that Warner Bros were going to make this film. They sat idly by and waited for the right moment. Money is all that they care about. They could care less about the quality of the film because all they see is numbers. I don't care when Watchmen comes out, as long as Fox doesn't have their filthy little hands fucking with one of the greatest stories ever written. Justice is coming to all of us, no matter what we do.

Neo on Dec 29, 2008

26

Seriously I had a doubt that fox was as bad as everyone says they are but definitely not anymore. I mean it just seems like there being a little childish about it because most of THEIR movies blow.

Cody on Dec 29, 2008

27

Blame Warner Bros. legal team for not doing their due diligence before the film was produced. Alex is making it personal. Fox is bad, blah, blah, blah. Its business. That's all it is.

Film-Book dot Com on Dec 29, 2008

28

#19 Don't worry the Super Bowl is on NBC this year and CBS next.

Joker on Dec 29, 2008

29

If Watchmen doesn't come out, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince will probably get a MAHOOSIVE, ginormous Box Office turnout. It got pushed way back and people have been anticipating a big tentpole blockbuster ALL.YEAR. LONG. It'll be interesting to see the outcome of this.

George on Dec 30, 2008

30

I've never read the Watchmen books, so this movie doesn't mean as much to me as everyone else, but I will say that the last trailer released got my attention. Now, I'm not so sure I even want to see or hear anymore about it. Fuck Hollywood.

TCox on Dec 30, 2008

31

These things don't usually "just happen". WB probably did the diligence and determined on their own that Fox didn't have the rights to it, and went ahead. If you read up on the whole thing, it's predicated on a few sketchy events - that's why it will probably need to go to a judge to decide. It's not a clearcut case of "oh, Fox owned it and WB made it anyway". It's more like "Fox may or may not have rights to it, and WB may or may not have known that at the time they produced the film". Either way, Fox is in the wrong because they should have put an immediate stop to this BEFORE it was finished if they had an issue with it. Basically, they want to swoop in at the last minute and take the film away from it's creators (and quite possibly ruin it completely with unnecessary edits, as Fox often does) so that they can get the money and credit for someone else's hard work. Unforgivable. Hopefully, WB will put the integrity of the film above this petty squabble, pay Fox to shut the hell up, and release the film as soon as humanly possible before people just stop caring.

BleepingGeek on Dec 30, 2008

32

Fox could not file a lawsuit until warner was about to make money. And fox warned WB many times before production. So it really is warners fault and it does not mean fox is a bad company. They are protecting what they own.

jj on Dec 30, 2008

33

Fuck Fox ! WB deserves it all...

Florian on Dec 30, 2008

34

Everyone saying Warner Brothers didn't do their diligence or whatever...you don't sit by and watch someone make a movie, then try to claim rights. Forget the movie for a second and think about the cast and crew of hundreds who've put their souls into this thing. Fox just doesn't give a shit about anything but money. That and they never they'd make it this good.

Fuelbot on Dec 30, 2008

35

This is unacceptable. This is Greed and Jealousy and petty vindictiveness. I will be boycotting everything Fox produces and distributes until they stop trying to profit from the hard work and talents of others without putting in some effort of their own. I call on the open minded Movie lovers amongst you to join me. Yes, we might have to miss Wolverine and Avatar, but there is no gain without pain. Back off Fox, this is our movie and we will not allow you to fuck with us. p.s. #13 Excellently put Feulbot.

Dr. Duvel on Dec 31, 2008

36

While it was sleazy for Fox to do, it was smart to wait for them to hafve WB finish the movie and see the audience reaction. It looks like WB is fucked unless the Judge questions why FOX only said something now and not earlier, which could be their downfall.

Ryan on Dec 31, 2008

37

fuck FOX.

ethermay on Dec 31, 2008

38

Wow Fuelbot...that post was beautiful and brought a tear to me eye to even consider that Fox will try to destroy a text that is so near and dear to me...

peloquin on Dec 31, 2008

39

I don't see why anyone is taking either side right now. Yes, FOX is fucked up for letting production go this far before saying something, and yes, the legal team at WB should have been more diligent checking the legal rights before this thing went into production. Everybody wants to point fingers and blame one side or the other, but the fact of the matter is that both parties are responsible for this legal battle. I'm not saying I'm not upset by FOX's actions, because I, like many, enjoyed reading Watchmen and watching many of WB's movies. But WB did fuck up, and now they are going to have to fight to get what they've worked for on this film. I will say this, though. I like what #6 Dar-el said about all the money that must have gone into making this and what a hit WB will take if they cannot distribute this and lose their investment. This is the way capitalist enterprise works. It's about competition. And if one company can't please its customers with its product, it will do everything within its power to destroy the opposition and obtain selling power. Yet another example of how the right-wing operates. It does it at every level of this society and it's getting away with it. That is until enough people get pissed off about it and rise against.

JL on Dec 31, 2008

40

This reminds me of that rivalry a few years back. In 2005, Brian Singer was supposed to be making the 3rd X-men movie. However, he left the project so he could film Superman Returns for WB. Quickly, Fox put in Brett Ratner so to keep their production schedule. This led to a media-fueld rivalry between Fox and WB. Fox ended up making more money in 2006. Now it seems that the rivalry is started again. Although it doesn't make sense as to why Fox started it (they were the original victors), it is clear that they will keep on trying to beat WB.

Ajax on Jan 1, 2009

41

1. Fox buys rights to Watchmen 2. Fox does nothing with Watchmen for 20 years 3. Warner Brothers announces they are making the Watchmen movie 4. A year goes buy and the Watchmen movie is made 5. Fox files a claim saying that Watchmen is Fox's property 6. _________ Fox should have said something when WB announced they were going to make it, but didn't. Given, they weren't obligated to, but it would have made them less of a jerk. WB should have taken care of the copyright issues before any of this even started. I really want to see this movie as is, no adjustments from Fox. With that said, Fix bought the rights to this movie 20 years ago, so it was very bold of a different company to produce this film. Warner Brothers took a shot and got caught, thats it. Really the whole situation was handled poorly.

Zak on Jan 3, 2009

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