Judge’s Ruling Favors 20th Over Warner on ‘Watchmen’
Judge Gary Allen Feess handed Warner Bros. a legal lump of coal on Christmas Eve, as he issued a brief ruling indicating 20th-Century Fox has the distribution rights to Watchmen, according to Variety.
His five-page ruling said, “Fox owns a copyright interest consisting of, at the very least, the right to distribute the ‘Watchmen’ motion picture.”
Frees, over the fall, urged Warner Bros. and 20th to iron out their differences. He repeated the suggestion in the document, saying, “The parties may wish to turn their efforts from preparing for trial to negotiating a resolution of this dispute or positioning the case for review.” Warner is set to release the film on March 6, 2009.
Fox acquired the rights from DC Comics in the 1980s with producer Lawrence Gordon’s production company. When 20th lost interest, Gordon moved the project to Universal and Paramount Pictures before landing it with Warner, parent company to DC.
Fox contends that Gordon never obtained all rights from them and they have a controlling interest in the highly-anticipated feature based on the Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons comic.
Given the holidays, Freees promised a lengthier explanation prior to the January 20 trial date. Warner Bros. had no comment on Wednesday.