Clash of the ti­tans in ‘Watch­men’ rights row

The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - News -

Few projects have taken quite so long to reach (ap­par­ent) fruition as Watch­men. Since the ground­break­ing comic by Alan Moore and Dave Gib­bons was first pub­lished in 1986, film stu­dios have tossed the project around like par­tic­i­pants in an end­less game of pass the par­cel. So, fans of Watch­men, which cyn­i­cally de­con­structs all the su­per­hero myths, could hardly be­lieve their eyes when the trailer for Zack Sny­der’s adap­ta­tion of the story emerged last month. Come next March the film will fi­nally reach our screens.

Or will it? Last week a judge failed to dis­miss a law­suit from 20th Cen­tury Fox aimed at for­bid­ding Warner Brothers from re­leas­ing the film. Fox main­tains that, hav­ing dab­bled with a Watch­men film a decade or so ago, it never prop­erly ceded rights to the prop­erty.

If Warner loses the case, it could, the­o­ret­i­cally, be forced to al­low Fox to dis­trib­ute the film and, keep­ing in mind the vast sums taken in this year by Iron Man and The Dark Knight, could see tens of mil­lions of dol­lars head­ing the way of their chortling ri­val.

“Warner Brothers’ pro­duc­tion and an­tic­i­pated re­lease of The Watch­men [sic] mo­tion pic­ture vi­o­lates 20th Cen­tury Fox’s long-stand­ing mo­tion pic­ture rights in The Watch­men prop­erty,” a Fox spokesper­son opined. “We will be ask­ing the court to en­force Fox’s copy­right in­ter­ests in The Watch­men and en­join the re­lease of the Warner Brothers film.”

Keep (hem, hem) watch­ing this space.

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