Judge Fails to Dismiss Lawsuit, ‘Watchmen’ to Stand Trial

Watchmen Movie LogoBack in early February of this year, we reported on a lawsuit filed by 20th Century Fox against Warner Bros. over the film property that has become Zack Snyder’s Watchmen. The lawsuit was all about the rights to the film, which Fox claims were never properly purchased by Warner Bros. In short, the intention of the lawsuit was not to stop production, but to get WB to cut a large check to Fox.

Since then, we have heard very little about the lawsuit’s progress. That is, until today. Both Nikke Finke and Variety are reporting that U.S. District Court Judge Gary Allen Feess has denied WB’s motion to have the lawsuit dismissed.

As Variety explains, “Judge appears to conclude that Fox retained distribution rights to the graphic novel penned by Alan Moore and illustrated by Dave Gibbons through a 1991 claim, and he concludes that under the 1994 turnaround with producer Larry Gordon, Gordon acquired an option to acquire Fox’s remaining interest in “Watchmen,” which was never exercised, thereby leaving Fox with its rights under the 1994 agreement.”

As we reported from Comic-Con, Warner Bros. has already started to drive home this property with its base, the comic fans who hold “Watchmen” up as one of the greatest literary accomplishments in the history of comics. It is a marketing blitz that has paid off, as buzz continues to grow for the film with every new image, clip and trailer. Needless to say, fans are very interested in watching the Watchmen. This lawsuit however, could put a dent in the film’s release date, which is currently set for March 6, 2009. Though, with six months left before the film is slated to hit theaters, it is highly likely that something will be worked out. So while this lawsuit should have almost no effect on fans, it appears that it could very well have an effect on the pocket book Warner Bros.

For more on Watchmen, check out the recently released images and the first teaser trailer.

Neil Miller is the Founder and Publisher of Film School Rejects. For almost a decade, he has been talking movies on television, the radio, and the Internet.

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