Fox Wants to Delay ‘Watchmen’ Release
Warner Bros and 20th-Century Fox attorneys met with U.S. District Court Judge Gary Feess on Monday for a conference in the wake of the Christmas Eve ruling saying 20th had rights to The Watchmen after all.
Fox’s lawyer indicated that the studio would seek to delay the schedule March 6 release which has sent fans awaiting the Zack Snyder-directed feature into despair.
Warner’s attorney, Stephen A. Marenberg, made it clear they were ready to go to trial, as scheduled for January 20 and remain defiant of the ruling. "We respectfully but vigorously disagree with the court’s ruling and are exploring all of our appellate options. 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. We have no plans to move the release date of the film," the studio said according to The Hollywood Reporter. "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."
When he steered the argument back to the core issues, Feess said, “I have spent more time than I think you can imagine working on your case at a time when I didn’t expect to be working on it.” As a result, he was looking for remedies not rehashing.
"We are gratified by the recognition of our rights in the Judge’s order, which speaks for itself," Fox said in a statement.
Fox’s contention has been that their agreement with producer Lawrence Gordon required him to offer them first dibs on the feature each time it was reconfigured. They claim the Zack Snyder version, which was ultimately filmed, was never offered to them. Gordon, who has not been named in the lawsuit, did not testify during the hearings to date and Feess said Monday that his silence hurt Warners’ case. “The court takes a dim view of this conduct,” Feess wrote as a footnote to his December 24 ruling, according to The New York Times. “The court will not, during the remainder of this case, receive any evidence from Gordon that attempts to contradict any aspect of this court’s ruling on the copyright issues under discussion.”
Warner has said when they signed with Gordon, he never mentioned his obligation to Fox and if anyone owes the studio money, it should be the producer not Warner Bros.