‘Watchmen’ Ruling Analysis
Jeff Jenson at Entertainment Weekly analyzes Judge Gary Allen Feess’ Christmas Eve ruling, clearly stating 20th-Century Fox has the copyright to The Watchmen film, granting them distribution rights.
"Fox owns a copyright interest consisting of, at the very least, the right to distribute the Watchmen motion picture," Judge Gary Allen Feess said according to Variety.
“In his ruling, Feess concludes that Gordon never properly presented Fox with the option to produce and distribute the version of Watchmen developed by director Zack Snyder,” Jensen wrote.
“He also makes it clear that neither Gordon nor Warner Bros. had bought out Fox’s interest before Warner Bros. went into production. Indeed, Feess’ ruling includes a rather sarcastic footnote blasting Gordon for his conduct in resolving this dispute. In section 3, Feess remarks that during Gordon’s deposition, the producer claimed he couldn’t properly recollect his contract with Fox.”
Jensen notes that the summary judgment, which had been requested by both studios on December 16, “should be seen as an important move that really benefits all of Hollywood, as it affirms copyright laws that protect all studios. Fox deserves a break on Watchmen; according to Feess, their beef with Warner Bros. has always been legit.”
The two studios no doubt will be seeing a lot of one another in the coming weeks prior to the January 20 trial date. As of today, the March 6 release date remains in place.