Details Of The Watchmen Lawsuit Settlement

Published 6 years ago by

watchmen image1 Details Of The Watchmen Lawsuit Settlement

Fox and Warner Bros. settled their lawsuit over the rights to Watchmen this past week, and now the details of that settlement are starting to come to light.

Everyone knew that Fox was going to see a pretty hefty payday for Watchmen, a film they contributed nothing to, but many of us have been wondering, “What other perks are they going to see out of the deal?”

Well, now we know. Take a look for yourself.

First off, in order to keep everything looking friendly, Fox and Warner Bros. released the following joint statement about the settlement this past Friday:

“Warner Bros. and Twentieth Century Fox have resolved their dispute regarding the rights to the upcoming motion picture Watchmen in a confidential settlement. Warner Bros acknowledges that Fox acted in good faith in bringing its claims, which were asserted prior to the start of principal photography. Fox acknowledges that Warner Bros. acted in good faith in defending against those claims Warner Bros. and Fox, like all Watchmen fans, look forward with great anticipation to this film’s March 6 release in theatres.”

Notice how they inserted that part about how Fox asserted its legal claim to Watchmen before Warner Bros. ever began principal photography on the film? I know a lot of us were previously asking, “Why did Fox wait so long to put this lawsuit in motion?” Guess that little bit in the statement was meant for our benefit.

But on to the settlement. So far, we know that the lawsuit will reward Fox with the following:

  • Gross participation between 5% and 8.5%, depending on Watchmen‘s overall performance at the box office.
  • Future gross participation rights to any future Watchmen-related properties, including prequels, sequels and spinoffs (god forbid).
  • An upfront payment in the $5-$10 million range, which will cover Fox’s costs while previously trying to develop a Watchmen movie, as well as the cost of the legal fees in the studio’s suit against Warner Bros.
  • Other conciliatory favors from Warner Bros. that haven’t been officially announced as of yet, but are rumored to include moving Terminator Salvation from its original release date of May 22nd, 2009, in order to open up the box office for Fox-owned movies like Night at the Museum 2.
  • Attempting to get certain Fox movies that in some way conflict with Warner Bros. contracts greenlit, including the comedy movie Date Night, which Fox wants Steve Carrell and Tina Fey to star in.

All and all, not a bad reward for Fox. And yet, as always, there’s something about the way Fox has gone about all this that makes my skin crawl. Talk about an evil empire.

Still, Watchmen is going to premiere in theaters as scheduled on March 6, 2009, and any pain to be felt is not going to be felt by us, the fans. In my selfish book that equals out to a victory. But what about you? Are you still crying out for retrobution against Fox? Or, like me, are you just happy to see Watchmen make it into theaters.

Sources: Variety via Slash Film

Get our free email alerts on the topics and author of this article:


Post a Comment

GravatarWant to change your avatar?
Go to and upload your own (we'll wait)!

 Rules: No profanity or personal attacks.
 Use a valid email address or risk being banned from commenting.

If your comment doesn't show up immediately, it may have been flagged for moderation. Please try refreshing the page first, then drop us a note and we'll retrieve it. Keep in mind that we do not allow external links in the comments.

  1. Evil empire? Just another company out to make some easy money. Don’t think there is any company out there that wouldn’t have done the same if they were in the same position, nor would any individual give up the opportunity to make free money.

    Whatever, the movie is coming out, my sister will be happy, she’s been waiting for it.

  2. After the way they’ve treated their properties in the years since their last truly successful AND respected blockbuster – X-Men 2 – I really have no love for Fox. HOWEVER…

    Imagine I owned a dilapidated house I no longer cared much for and someone submitted building plans to myself and another person, which I rejected. The other person decides to proceed with the building and I inform them beforehand that I actually own the land… but they ignore me and begin construction.

    Do I not still have the rights to that land? Or do they, simply because they made good use of it?

    I hate Fox at the moment, as I said, and I won’t claim to know everything there is to know on the matter… but it certainly sounds like WB knowingly did the wrong thing.

    I’m just glad the film’s coming out on schedule and fans aren’t going to be made to suffer based on some petty legal squabbling. Let me move into that new house and the courts can decide how my money is distributed!

    I think the moral of the story, too, is that some laws need to be introduced to ensure that companies can’t just sit on properties they aren’t interested in developing.

  3. This has been complicated for sure – but I think you’re missing the “real estate agent” from your analogy (Larry Gordon). That’s the guy with authority that you trusted who SEEMED to have the title to the property, but it turns out he didn’t.


  4. Maybe WB can sue Larry Gordon for the mess they are in now.

  5. Like I said… I don’t claim to know everything about it. Just wanted to throw a bone out there for all the knee-jerkers who instantly presume Fox were just being petty and pathetic.

    Just because they suck 99% of the time, doesn’t mean they’re ALWAYS going to be wrong.

  6. I really wonder just how sucsessful this movie will be, surely it only has a cult following? the trailers look great but i’m not really looking forward to the film, i’m pretty sure I wont bother(not that i do much these days anyway!)going to the cinema to see Watchmen.
    my problem with it is that I dont like the watchmen story, just never really got it( i’ve owned the graphic novel for nearly 20 years and have only read it once.)so this does not make me too eager to see a film of the same book.

  7. @The Glove

    That’s a great point that’s been brought up before. Can you imagine if after all this the movie ends up doing mediocre box office?

    Although I tend to doubt that, myself.


  8. some times you have to sleep with the devil to get what you want.

    i never put too much stock into the studios, but i will be more aware whom i patronize now. fox is at the bottom of my list.

  9. What a waste of time effort and moeny for anyone involved. These are resources better spent elsewhere, all so fox can promote their crappy movies.

  10. @Metallicat

    While it was a big ugly fight, I wouldn’t call it a waste of time, effort and money since WB ends up with the lion’s share of the profits but Fox still gets some coin for doing nothing.


  11. @Vic
    I suposes so, but it just feels a bit overblown, coupled with the fact fact fox has not had a descent film in over a year or so, they had torecoup their losses somehow i guess. Perhaps a better term would have been Overhyed and overblown.

  12. Over a year or so…?!

    Hehe… Pfft. I’d say Fox hasn’t had a tentpole release that was both critically AND commercially successful since ‘X-Men 2′ in 2003!

    It’s actually become a bit of an obsession of mine lately – a game I play, guessing which films are Fox films, simply by looking at the title and the poster. Perfect example in recent memory? ‘Meet Dave’. You can just tell… way before you see the Fox logo.

    The only films that ARE worthy seem to be ones that are mostly done by outside creative forces, such as ‘Revenge of the Sith’ (the quality of which is debatable), ‘Borat’ and ‘The Simpsons Movie’.

  13. I’m surprised no mention of the 60′s Batman TV series came up. You would think Fox would push that point to make a lot more money off the deal.
    I don’t hate Fox. I blame W.B. incompetence. Fox of course waited until a movie got made. What’s the point of suing without a bargaining chip.

  14. Wasn’t Live Free or Die Hard a Fox production? I loved that movie, lol.

  15. Just a thought…

    Isn’t it well known now that Fox DID INDEED bring this issue up prior to filming?

  16. @Kane

    That’s what Fox claims, yes. I never heard whether that was verified or not.


  17. This is what happens when you borrow Dad’s car without permission.

    Is anyone wondering if Peter Jackson got ‘permission’ from the Tolkien estate and anyone else that had their fingers in the LOTR’s pie to make those movies? Nope.

    So why didn’t Gordon get permission…in writing, when it clearly wasn’t ‘their’ movie to make.

    THIS is why we have lawyers.

    I’m just glad they got it sorted out and Fox left it UNTOUCHED in time for release.

    (Nice gesture for such an evil empire.)

  18. @Inquisitor

    Well, while I agree that it sucks when a company buys up the rights to something and never put it to good use, there’s also the issue of first come first served. If they were fast enough to get the rights to it before you did, you know what, it’s their’s. I mean how would you like it if you were quick to buy the rights to something that nobody else wanted at the time, the rights become in demand, and just because you took a while to find what you want to do with it, or you make something that didn’t turn out well, they force you to forfeit the rights on the basis that you didn’t do anything good with it for a certain amount of time? You probably wouldn’t be happy. So while it’s not perfect, as in this case with Fox, it is only fair that the people who purchased or acquired the rights to something first maintain those rights until they give them up or sell them…

  19. I’m glad that I’ll still be able to see Watchmen, but I’m almost tempted to boycott Fox. Okay, maybe not, but this is just the latest in a long line of moves that Fox has made that I don’t appreciate.