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Warner Stays With 'Watchmen' DVDs, Despite Litigation

19 Aug, 2008 By: Erik Gruenwedel


Warner Bros. is apparently going forward with separate DVD releases tied to the 2009 theatrical release Watchmen, despite a Los Angeles court green lighting a copyright infringement lawsuit filed against the studio by 20th Century Fox Film Corp.

Last week, judge Gary Feess of U.S. District Court in L.A. ruled Fox had select rights to copyrighted material of Watchmen, which was originally published as a 12-issue graphic novel in 1986-87 by DC Comics, which is owned by Time Warner.

Fox, according to the complaint, said it had theatrical motion picture distribution rights to Watchmen, despite relinquishing other rights in the early 1990s.

In July, Watchmen director Zach Synder (300) said he planned to make DVD release Tales of the Black Freighter, set in the Watchmen universe, to coincide with the theatrical release. He is also planning an ultimate Watchmen DVD.

Warner Bros. spokesperson Scott Rowe said the court’s ruling simply meant both parties would engage in discovery and proceed with the litigation.

“The judge did not opine at all on the merits, other than to conclude that Fox satisfied the pleading requirements,” Rowe said. “We respectfully disagree with Fox's position and do not believe they have any rights in and to this project.”

With a reported $120 million budget, Watchmen portrays a group of past and present superheroes against the backdrop of the Cold War and the events surrounding the mysterious killing of one of their own (The Comedian).

Warner earlier this month released “Watchmen: Motion Comic” on the iTunes Store for $1.99 per episode.

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