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Warner, Fox Settle ‘Watchmen’ Dispute


By Erik Gruenwedel | Posted: 16 Jan 2009

Warner Bros. and 20th Century Fox Jan. 16 said they reached a pre-trial settlement regarding rights to Warner’s super hero movie Watchmen, due in theaters March 6.

Under the confidential agreement, Fox reportedly will receive 8.5% of the film’s gross, plus a percentage of revenue from sequels and spin-offs (including presumably Blu-ray and DVD), undisclosed cash, and payment of legal fees and development costs.

"Warner Bros acknowledges that Fox acted in good faith in bringing its claims, which were asserted prior to the start of principal photography,” the studios said in a joint statement. “Fox acknowledges that Warner Bros. acted in good faith in defending against those claims. Warner Bros. and Fox, like all Watchmen fans, look forward with great anticipation to this film's release in theaters."

The fate of the $130 million film — based on the 1986-87 DC Comics limited series by Alan Moore, with illustrations by Dave Gibbons — from director Zack Snyder (300) had been up in the air after U.S. District Court Judge Gary Feess Dec. 24 ruled Warner violated select theatrical rights held by Fox to copyrighted material of Watchmen.

“Fox owns a copyright interest consisting of, at the very least, the right to distribute the Watchmen motion picture,” Feess said in his ruling.

Warner said at the time it “vigorously” disagreed with the judge’s ruling and had no plans to alter the release date.

Watchmen stars Carla Gugino, Patrick Wilson, Billy Crudup and Jackie Earle Haley.


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