When director Zack Snyder took on Watchmen he probably thought his biggest obstacle was making a great film of a graphic novel that’s considered the best of its genre. He knew it would be impossible to please writer Alan Moore, and Watchmen has been considered almost impossible to put on film, but Snyder has done it and the film is scheduled to be released March of 2009.

Not so fast, says Twentieth Century Fox.

The biggest roadblock to the film is a lawsuit filed against Warner Bros. by Twentieth Century Fox. The lawsuit was filed in Federal court, and it asserts that Twentieth Century Fox is the owner of the rights to Dave GIbbons and Alan Moore’s “Watchmen”.

Fox wants the film’s release stopped. Warner Bros. is asking why Fox stood by while the film was being made, saying nothing, asserting no claim on the material. Fox even allowed Warner Bros. to take the rights to the title. They say it didn’t bother Fox when one of the producers of Watchmen, Lawrence Gordon, shopped it to other studios after Fox turned down the opportunity to make the film.

All of these assertions, assuming Warner Bros. is telling the truth, would be puzzling if it wasn’t for the obvious idea that what Fox wants is money, a cut, a share in the film. They saw Snyder’s 300 make a killing at the box office. Now would be the time to set things up to get a share of the profits should Watchmen match or exceed the success of 300.

The lawsuit could also involve Paramount and Legendary Pictures who are partners with Warner Bros. on the film. I have a feeling Fox might just end up as a partner too, though one who didn’t put up any of the over $100 million it cost to make the film.

I don’t think Watchmen will be delayed. I believe a deal will be worked out, and money will exchange hands. Still, there’s a chance the suit could cost Warner Bros. time as well as money.

What do Watchmen fans think? Is there fear that the film’s release will be delayed or will money help soothe Fox’s hurt feelings?

Source: The New York Times


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