Jackie Earle Haley opens up and explains why there were no sequels ever made to the 2009 live-action Watchmen film. Before director Zack Snyder was involved in the DCEU -- where he was tasked with bringing iconic characters like Superman and Batman to life on the big screen -- the filmmaker was responsible for another live-action adaptation of one of the most beloved and well-regarded comic book's of all time with 2009's Watchmen. While the film was met with divisive reviews upon its initial theatrical release eight years ago, the fan base for the film has been steadily growing ever since.
However, there have been curiously no talks or movement made from Warner Bros. to pursue additional Watchmen films or sequels since the 2009 film's release, an uncommon move for any studio dealing with such a popular pre-existing property. Most fans had blamed it on Watchmen's lukewarm box office numbers, though, it looks like there may be another, even more irritating reason for Warner Bros.' apparent lack of desire to make any Watchmen sequels.
Haley, who played Rorschach in Snyder's Watchmen, talked about the subject while recently speaking with CinemaBlend, stating that studio contention between Warner Bros. and Paramount Pictures for the film rights is the main reason no sequel was ever made:
"I wish they would have gone on. You know, I think they probably would have gone on and done more films with Watchmen, different versions of it, because I think there was enough success that they could have gone back in time or done something with it. But I think the thing that really kind of held it up was the fact that there was this contention of ownership between Warner Bros and Paramount."
For those who may not already know, the behind-the-scenes drama between Warner Bros., Paramount, and 20th Century Fox came from before the 2009 film had even gone into production. Basically, Paramount had the film rights for Watchmen, but the studio later put them into turnaround -- which gave another studio the chance to make a film based on the property, in exchange for a tax write-off, which Warner Bros. agreed to. However, there was still continued drama between the two studios.
That was in addition to 20th Century Fox even suing Warner Bros. for copyright violation, on the basis that producer Lawrence Gordon had failed to pay a buy-out back in 1991 -- when he was first developing Watchmen with Fox -- but which would have enabled him to develop the film at the other studios. Fox and Warners eventually reached an agreement on the case, with the former receiving a portion of the film's gross. But with Watchmen not making as much at the box office as insiders had hoped, Warners likely decided long ago to forgo trying to make a sequel, much to the chagrin of the film's passionate fans. However, with a Watchmen TV series currently in development at HBO, it may not be much longer before fans can see these characters and the Watchmen world brought back to life again.