…And So Ends The Watchmen Lawsuit

Published 5 years ago by

watchmen fox wb issues ...And So Ends The Watchmen Lawsuit

The lawsuit between Fox and Warner Bros. over the rights to Watchmen has reached its end. And it pretty much ended the way we all knew it would:  Fox’s “Little Red Hen Syndrome“, combined with the alleged legal carelessness of Watchmen producer Larry Gordon, equaling out to Warner Bros. having to pay out tens of millions of dollars just to get Watchmen in theaters on March 6, 2009.

Details have not yet been revealed as far as dollar amounts, but it looks like it will be an upfront payment and a percentage of the box office. The original release date is still golden as well.

We here at Screen Rant take a look back on the ridiculous drama of the Watchmen lawsuit (hopefully for the last time!).

I can only say that I bet Alan Moore is somewhere laughing right about now, saying to himself, “This is exactly why I don’t mess with Hollywood.” [Well he wouldn't put it quite like that, but you get the idea.] As of today, Fox and Warner Bros. have a reached a settlement regarding the Watchmen case, after nearly a year of drama that had fanboys panic stricken and holding their collective breaths in dread.

Only in Hollywood.

rorschach watchmen poster ...And So Ends The Watchmen Lawsuit

For those just joining us, this is what the case was basically about:

Larry Gordon, über producer of 80′s classics like Die Hard and Predator (and former Fox studio chief) made two deals with Fox to obtain the rights to Watchmen in 1991 and 1994. As a clever little footnote to those deals, Fox said that any producer who ever tried to make a Watchmen film was contractually obligated to contact Fox and obtain the last percentages of the studio’s rights to the property (which I guess Fox was keeping in its back pocket).

Seasoned super-producer that he is, Gordon allegedly failed to notify Fox before conveying the rights to Watchmen to Warner Bros., back in 2006. On December 8, 2008, Warner Bros. filed court papers stating that the studio “never received the very documents upon which Fox asserts its claims” until over a year after Gordon had supposedly sold them the Watchmen rights, and the film was already in production.

This leaves Gordon between a rock and a hard place, possibly looking at future lawsuits from both Fox and Warner Bros. Add to that Gordon’s long standing reputation for letting his attitude get the better of his judgment, and its no surprise that on December 24, 2008, Judge Larry Fees was already ruling in Fox’s favor, despite his original claim that he would delay the case until January 20th.

At this time Gordon is legally prohibited from producing any further evidence in regards to the case (made the judge mad – bad move), and Fox and Warner Bros. have reached an equitable settlement. Time will tell if Fox gets more out of the deal than a share of Watchmen‘s profits. (Like the distribution rights to the 1960′s Batman TV series, which Fox is rumored to have had its eye on.)

And for us the fans, it all ends up meaning nothing, just as the wisest among us predicted way back when. Watchmen will still be in theaters on March 6, 2009. Only question left is will it be as awesome as it’s looked so far (especially that Japanese trailer!).

Good to know that this mess is finally being cleaned up. (Now let’s all hope it stays that way!)

watchmeninsignia ...And So Ends The Watchmen Lawsuit

Sources: LA Times, MTV News, Total Film,

TAGS: watchmen

21 Comments

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  1. It’s about time this crap ended, the only thing I was worried about was the release date, I’m glad nothing changed, considering this could be the 2009 Movie of the Year.

  2. Very glad that it’s still showing in theaters. I was pretty worried there but knew some way a deal had to made since WB was sure it was going to be shown that day.

  3. LOL Like i say last time: Imagine that the movie sucks lol and don’t make much as they hope it will LMAO poor poor Fox lol

  4. @jbrrex

    ??I think maybe you’re confused about this. What do you mean poor poor fox? Fox didn’t spend a dime to make this movie. WB did. Every penny it makes is all profit for them. So whether it does well or not, they will profit just from this payout alone… I think you meant poor poor WB??

  5. If the movie sucks, its “Poor Watchmen Fans”.

    I dont think it will suck, but I could care less about the two production companies

  6. Might want to remove or change the first image in the article. Between that, and the ambiguous title, I got the impression that the decision was to cancel the release of the film.

    Glad it’s on track for release, however. I’ve only read the parts of the novel that I could read in short bursts while visiting Barnes & Noble. Liked the complexity of thematic work.

  7. The people at Fox are complete morons when it comes to making movies, like Lionsgate. But when it comes to making money, they seem to know a trick or two…

    Legally, yes, WB was a bit sloppy in their legal department in not seeing this coming a mile away, but from a common sense standpoint, Fox was just holding on to the rights to this film for no reason. They should have just sold the rights to WB.

    Fox did the right thing with that cancelled tv show Firefly. After they cancelled the show, and it was obvious they were not going to change their mind, Joss Whedon asked for the rights to the show and characters and Fox simply gave it to him. So he could persue other studios to see if any of them want to pick it up, eventually finding one willing to make it into a feature film. Too bad Fox didn’t do the same this time and too bad WB wasn’t more careful about the rights…

  8. Everyone wants a piece of that pie. I guess.

  9. Glad its over!
    Bring on the film!

  10. So, what if they want to make a movie about this stupid lawsuit bewteen Fox and WB, who has the righst to do it? :)

  11. Glad the movie will come out when planned. I was starting to suspect Fox wanted to push it back for a summer release in hopes of getting more money.

    I still don’t know what to expect with the movie adaptation (which hopefully means I’m less likely to be disappointed). Part of what baffles me is that they’re ditching the big “monster” in New York ending. After all, the production of the monster is an important part of the plot for the entire graphic novel.

  12. They were saving it for the sequel man, lol.

  13. @Ken J
    Sorry for the misunderstanding I said Poor poor Fox because they really want to get a big check out of this as they had been sucking this last 2 year.

  14. YES!!!

  15. Who would know… apparently the WILL see the D@MN movie!!! :) weeeeeeeeeeeee

  16. …I meant the FANS will… :P

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