Fox Seeks to Halt ‘Watchmen’ Release29 Dec, 2008 By: Erik Gruenwedel
According to reports, 20th Century Fox Studios plans to stop Warner Bros.’s slated March 6, 2009, release of Watchmen, a $100 million superhero feature film from director Zack Snyder (300) and starring Carla Gugino, Patrick Wilson, Billy Crudup and Jackie Earle Haley, among others.
A lawyer for Fox told The Associated Press the studio would seek a court order postponing the theatrical release.
Judge Gary Feess of U.S. District Court in L.A. Dec. 24 ruled Warner Bros. violated select theatrical rights held by Fox to copyrighted material of Watchmen, which was originally published as a 12-issue graphic novel in 1986-87 by DC Comics, owned by Time Warner.
“Fox owns a copyright interest consisting of, at the very least, the right to distribute the Watchmen motion picture,” Feess said in his ruling.
In response, Warner Bros. said it “vigorously” disagreed with the judge’s ruling, was exploring appellate options and had no plans to alter the release date.
“We continue to believe that Fox’s claims have no merit and that we will ultimately prevail, whether at trial or in the court of appeals,” the studio said Dec. 29 in a statement.
A trial on the matter is slated to begin Jan. 20.
Fox, according to the original complaint, said it had theatrical motion picture distribution rights to Watchmen, despite relinquishing other rights in the early 1990s.
Last July at San Diego Comic-Con International, Snyder (300) said he planned to make the 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.