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

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