Watchmen Movie Banned From Release?

Published 7 years ago by , Updated July 7th, 2014 at 10:04 am,

watchmeninsignia Watchmen Movie Banned From Release?

This is the post I never, ever, wanted to write. The post I never, ever thought I’d have to write. But writing it I am, scarcely believing the words even as I type them: the Watchmen movie is embroiled in a legal battle that, (in a worst case scenario,) could end up having it be barred from release, indefinitely.

What evil cabal would ever concoct such an insidious plot as to kill the long-awaited adaptation of our favorite graphic novel of all time? There is only one organization that evil: 20th Century Fox.

The legal broo-ha-ha started back in February of this year, when Fox filed a copy infringement and breach of contract suit against studio Warner Bros., which owns the current version of Watchmen being helmed by director Zack Snyder (300). Fox’s claim was that they had obtained the rights to Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons’ genre-shattering graphic novel, and all subsequent film endeavors related to it, between the years of 1986 and 1991.

But when attempts to make the film in the 80′s and early 90′s stalled, the usual legal gymnastics ensued, with Fox selling off partial rights of Watchmen to other interested companies (who ultimately went under), all with the understanding that Fox would still hold the exclusive right to distribute any Watchmen film, sequels or spin-offs (like “The Black Freighter” tie-in) that got made down the line, unless an sizable buy-out fee was paid to the studio.

watchmen all Watchmen Movie Banned From Release?

Well, after nearly two decades of starts and stops and almosts, Watchmen was finally tossed into the laps of Warner Bros. by producer Larry Gordon, who had obtained the rights to the film in a turnaround agreement with Fox in 1994, with the stipulation (according to Fox) that the studio’s original terms of contract still be honored, including the buy-out fee. According to the Fox’s lawsuit, Gordon and Warner Bros. failed to make good on that promise.

After Fox filed suit, Warner Bros. immediately filed a motion for dismissal with the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, claiming to have done no wrong. As of this past Friday, the judge has thrown out that motion, allowing Fox to proceed full-steam with its lawsuit.

With Watchmen having already wrapped its principal shoot, and gearing up for its March 6, 2009 release, Fox is urging that the case to be fast-tracked, and, if this latest court action is any indication, the judge will heed that call. Even worse, Fox isn’t just looking to dip into Warner Bros.’ pockets for profits: they’d rather see the film banned from theaters altogether.

“When you have copyright infringement, there are some damages you never recover,” said a source close to the litigation.”

This makes me SICK TO MY STOMACH. I’m going to try not to curse, but WTF is wrong with 20th Century Fox???? To put this in terms of a rap beef: quit playah-hatin’.

Seriously though, I feel like this is all a vile bit of strategy to help Fox have a better $ummer at the multiplex in 2009. Think about it: if Watchmen gets knocked off the ’09 lineup, it leaves the comic book lane wide open for Fox’s own properties, most notably X-Men Origins: Wolverine. The simple truth is that Fox has reason to be scared: since the first trailer premiered, then the fan fervor at this year’s Comic-Con, and now acclaimed directors like Kevin Smith spouting gospel about how freakin good Watchmen truly is, the movie has been blown-up as one the most highly anticipated releases of 2009. (Even the original graphic novel has started flying off shelves!

watchmen comic comp1 Watchmen Movie Banned From Release?

But the truth of the matter is that studios have been trying to make Watchmen happen since the 80′s. Even in recent years, industry heavyweights like Paul Greengrass and Guillermo Del Toro were courted to get a Watchmen film up and going, and nothing ever came of it. What Fox is doing to Warner Bros. and Zack Snyder is like the old man who has popped a handful of Viagra with no success, getting angry with the young guy who walks by and knocks off the hot-chick, no problem. No one respects that old coot.

I solemnly swear: if Watchmen ends up on the list of great movies that almost made it, I will be leading the charge to make Fox PAY. I will slam every one of the crap movies and TV shows they put out, and use every bit of my blogger-power (it’s about 3/4 as potent as flower-power) to downright brainwash every suggestible reader into boycotting any movie released by 20th Century Fox until Watchmen sees the light of day. (Sorry Wolvy, you’ll be my first victim. Just to let these stuffed-suits know I ain’t playing!) Fox will come to learn the TRUE meaning of the word “backfire,” and I think I speak for a great many Watchmen fans when I say that.

Are you trembling with fear at the thought of Watchmen getting the ax? Is your stomach churning with a mix of nerves and disgust like mine is? Damn being silent, let your battle-cry be heard on this one!

Sources: Slashfilm, Watchmen Comic Movie, IGN, Film o Filla, Deadline Hollywood Daily, Variety

TAGS: Watchmen
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  1. Oscar! We have to hate fox, lol. Look at all this crap, they have a horrible history of screwing everyone over…I don’t know why people continue to deal with them over other distributers.

    I say we burn Fox HQ to the ground!!! ya!!!! No im just kidding, relax. I’m just putting all the fury on this thread into a visual, haha.

    I say before and say again, we’ll see it on schedule next year, no problem.

  2. I agree with Rob that FOX deserves some hate right now. They also report fake news on a daily basis but thats another thread.
    Clean Talking Chimp,
    Im not in denial that at one time FOX controlled aspects of the film and distribution, Im simply saying that WB has more leverage at this time,and in this case. :-)

    IMO, were witnessing FOX get a stay of execution from a loophole judgment fluke,,,
    WB has more leverage and will ultimatly previal in court once all the contracts are laid out. 8-)

    Warner Brothers wants to go forward with DC material, The Watchmen is next years TDK !!! (At least they hope).
    FOX really has more too loose by making an Enemy out of WB.
    R Murdoch (Mr Burns) is clearly (insane with greed and prob worships satan) jelous and is striking out like a child-king. Hell suck his thumb and after a while will take his Ritalin, and grow tired of this BS.
    Meantime it wont matter WB will be proven the film controller and all will be well.
    (IMO, of course, )


  3. I wonder…

    Since Fox had the rights since the early 90′s I wonder if that ever included distribution through digital online resources, media which didn’t exist at the time of the arrangement.

    Rights are often broken up into different packages. If so, one option for WB might be to sell their film digitally online in order to recoup at least some of their losses, and to stick it back in the eye of Fox. (It would keep Fox from developing their own version for awhile, at least, lest it face the inevitable comparisons).

  4. I would like to think that people are bigger than this sort of petty behaviour, even executives and big wigs of multi-million dollar corporations. Nix that, ESPECIALLY those running multi-million dollar corporations. But I guess that’s not how you really make the big bucks these days. What ever happened to the days when one company made a movie before the other and they just shrugged and said “thems the breaks”? That Fox (or Fux xD) decided this late in the game to try and stop the release to me says one thing: They’re scared. OR quite possibly that the Wolvie movie isn’t that good, which would be thouroughly depressing. Then again look at X-3, but I digress!

    I read the link, along with a couple of other articles and it does seem that Warner Bros may have jumped the gun, or possibly should have paid the money to Fux even before shooting the film. It may have saved them alot of hassle and possibly some cash. But what it REALLY sounds like is petty jealousy of a childish man who can’t stand the thought of losing money on the rights to something he were already losing money on by not touching for 20 years! With the success of Batman Begins and The Dark Knight also produced by WB and the …lets call it distress… brought on by the X-men films to long time x-fans everywhere, you can bet your arse they are scared.

    We all know Fux is not known for being the nice guys of the movie biz, no they are just the easiest. Wanna get a movie deal? Fux will take care of it – by making darn sure you can never get your hands on your movie script/concept again. Look what they did to Joss and Firefly.

    I’m just saying – maybe WB made a mistake by not looking into it further, but really after 20 years and handing the project over Fux should just kiss it goodbye with a shrug and a “them’s the breaks”. That Fox is even attempting to take legal action is absurd.

    But lets face it – WB will make fat cash from this movie, and who says not just paying them outright wasn’t an attempt to make fans panic a little and hype the movie even MORE? Call me pessimistic but this is the kind of bs that turns a $900,000 grossing flick into The Titanic ($1,835,300,000)

    This movie is getting made, whether Fux really has a case or not. And I bet you dollars to donuts that WB will be paying them to do it.

    ~ Your normally lurking and currently outraged friend,

  5. 8-) 8-) 8-) 8-)

    this could all be a viral marketing event/stunt.

    Something to consider…

    8-) 8-) 8-) 8-)

  6. Wait, this is an excuse to up the ticket prices… Bux I’ll say we were short changed no matter the payoff, and Warner having to pay a heavy price will up their price theater owners have to pay to show one of their films too, so who pays, we do!

  7. Fox’s claim is legit, even if they’re being very irritating about it. I wouldn’t worry; they’re looking for profit sharing, they’re just waiting to hear the right numbers before they admit that.

  8. Alan Moore will sit in his chair, read this news, take a sip of coffee… and smile.

    Yes, it’s a tragedy. But, honestly, don’t you expect anything else from the likes of Fox? Or those who produce a film knowing that there might be just that kind of “obstacle” further down the road?

    In the end, this will only make the movie far more interesting to the press and audiences.


  9. The movie will be released on time. Don’t worry about it.

  10. What I don’t get is this:

    In today’s day and age, people simply don’t just take whatever property they want and make it into films. They obviously need the license/rights. How could WB just make a film, have DC’s approval and that of the original artist…and then all of a sudden the old right-holder say they still have the rights? How the hell did WB start this project in the first place then?

    These people aren’t stupid (referring to WB’s execs, Fox’s execs clearly are). I think this is all a big meaningless issue and I don’t think anything will come of it.

  11. You dont need rights to start filming a movie, you need rights to not get your a$$ sued when it comes out in theatres.

  12. I’m sorry(not really) But if fox owns the rights then they have the right to take legal action. And lets be honest. I don’t care how many people clam they’re going to boycott wolverine if fox doesn’t stop. That’s BS. I’ve met plenty of people that were going to boycott this movie and that movie and at the end of the day, They went sooner or later. WB will give in. It’s a business and Fox is in it to make money. Not be YOUR friend. And if they can’t make money no one will. I’m a HUGE fan of watchmen and I honestly think that the movie is still gonna come out in March. So stop worrying about it.

  13. i agree i don’t like the idea of watchmen not coming out but i think it will. plus you would have to be stupid to boycott wolverine

  14. Stupid.. Like a FOX. 8)


  16. I completely agree with you about the legal battle. These @$$ holes are so bent on money and dominance that they forgot they’re pissing off their fan base. I mean do they really want (to use slang) “hate” on W.B. so bad that they’re going to nit pick over producing rights (or what ever it is). If any thing they should be happy that they are stepping up the bar. Think about it, if the movie is as good as i think its going to be then that will be all the more reason for the cast and crew of they’re movies to do a better job on what they get their hand in. Although if this is unappealing to them then they should just give all of their comic book movie rights to the W.B. I don’t want to have to sit through my favorite super movies and walk out feeling r@ped and dis appointed!!!!!!!!

  17. Hopefully some people at the legal department at Warners or the person that overruled them gets fired for this debacle.

  18. I hope it doesn’t get released…I don’t feel this is something that needs to be adapted for the entertainment of the non-comic reading public and wrapped in a pretty bow so the masses can easily digest it…

  19. someone said they hope that watchmen doesn’t get released, are you f#*king serious?! People should stop trying to dis like stuff, it doesn’t make them superior it just makes them seem like a jack @ss that’s trying to ruin everyone else’s excitement about a comic book to make themselves look cool! so unless the movie is going to be the death of you please people don’t ruin our fun!!!!!!!!!



  21. lol greenknight, I have a sidescroll option on the browse cuz of ur message, heh.

    so ya, Fox continues the screwathon. They screwed over Babylon A.D.

    If Gambit in the Wolverine flick doesnt have his french cajun accent, then im boycotting for sure

  22. I’m not gonna go see any fox movies or tv shows (except family guy) until watchmen comes out.


  23. Personally, I am happy. Watchmen should never be made into a movie. it just doesn’t translate, hence why it has always fallen apart in the past. regardless, i know some people are excited about this movie. if it gets more of my dumb friends into a great graphic novel than i am all for it. either way, if the movie comes out, i am still not going to see it, so it doesn’t effect me.


  24. heres my opinion…

    I would think that FOX would prefer the release with a payout, instead of no release. Their research ‘team’ would assess a general worst case scenario figure to their potential gross profit for the new Wolverine… then figure a best case scenario profit for Watchmen. What be the remainder would (theoretically be the lowest amount that they would ask Warner for. That way they know they made some decent money. Naturally Warner would rather pay up then not have it released since they would have already spent some dough on the filming. Unless they find some legal loophole and can release it on schedule as planned without a payout.
    …How’s my logic? Am I missing anything?

    I’ll bet it is released… maybe not in March, (if thinks go awry in court), but probably released no matter what.

    I just read Watchmen a month ago for the first time because someone recommended it. I didnt even know it was being filmed until 2 weeks ago. Naturally I re-read it. So this is all pretty new for me.


  25. This is ridiculous! Unless Fox JUST heard about this movie, which I doubt, then they had plenty of time to try and stall it before any trailers came out. So now, when everyone is riled up and excited, they try to slam on the brakes. How do the Fox executives see this ending well, or can they see at all?