Clash of the titans in ‘Watchmen’ rights row
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.