Worst Watchmen news ever
So, a couple of days ago — when I posted a picture of what Rorschach will look like under the mask in the upcoming “Watchmen” adaptation — I revealed that I had broken down and read the comic book, even though I’ve never enjoyed comics. But I’m sure hardcore “Watchmen” fans aren’t surprised to find out that I loved the book and immediately began counting down the days until the movie came out.
Now comes news that, if FOX has their way, the movie will never come out.
FOX has sued Warner Brothers, the film’s producer and eventual distributer, over the rights to the “Watchmen” property, saying they’ve owned the right to make an adaption all along. A lot of internet wizards and movie geeks such as myself dismissed the lawsuit as silly and without base when the news first broke that FOX was attacking Warner Bros, just waiting until the thing was thrown out of court. But yesterday, a judge took the case a little more seriously, denying Warner Bro’s motion to dismiss the case. Uh oh.
Very little was divulged about the case, and neither party wants to comment on “ongoing litigation,” so us fans are left to twiddle our thumbs and hope for the best. But here’s the shitty party — FOX says they’re not looking for a monetary compensation or to become a profit participant of the film. They want to see that Zack Snyder’s “Watchmen” never gets released. Ever.
It doesn’t make any sense that FOX wouldn’t want this film released. True, they have the rights to produce their own “Watchmen,” and they would make tons and tons of money. But guess what? They’d have to front tons and tons of production-cost money, casting money, marketing money and whatever else production companies have to spend to get movies made. Here, the movie’s already made, Warner Brothers have already put all the money up front, and FOX stands to gain huge amounts of money from the film’s release — money that will all be straight-up profit, since they didn’t have to pay anything to get the flick made.
Maybe it’s just the fact that I’m upset at the prospect of this version of “Watchmen” never getting released. Maybe I’m just not seeing the advantage that FOX sees of blocking this film’s release. But, to me, this looks like a MASSIVE lose-lose-lose (Warner Bros, FOX and “Watchmen” fans everywhere) for everyone involved.
Variety has a little explanation about the origins of the film’s copyright history:
At the heart of Fox’s suit, filed in February, is the contention that it never ceded rights to the property. And according to the federal Judge Gary Allen Feess, Fox retained distribution rights to the graphic novel penned by Alan Moore and illustrated by Dave Gibbons through a 1991 claim. Furthermore, Feess appears to agree that under a 1994 turnaround deal with producer Larry Gordon, Gordon acquired an option to acquire Fox’s remaining interest in “Watchmen,” which was never exercised, thereby leaving Fox with its rights under the 1994 agreement.
The film has been in development hell since 1994, with many people saying it was impossible to bring a faithful adaption to screen. So, with so many people taking an ill-fated stab at a “Watchmen” movie, I can see where the murkiness as to who owns the rights came from.
I really don’t know much about the legal side of things. I wish I going give you some expert analysis about the goings on in the court room, but you and me both are just going to have to wait and see on this one.