Judge rules for Fox in ‘Watchmen’ flap — what’s next?

Comics, Movies
Watchmen
THE ULTIMATE WEAPON? (WARNER BROS./LEGENDARY PICTURES - AND FOX TOO!)

Watchmen — a Warner Bros.-Legendary Pictures-20th Century Fox film?

A federal judge in Los Angeles said Wednesday that Fox owns a copyright interest “consisting of, at the very least, the right to distribute the ‘Watchmen’ motion picture,” according to a ruling quoted in the New York Times.

The judge had earlier said he believed the case could only be settled at trial, which was set to begin in January. That jeopardized the film’s planned March 6 opening.

But will it ever see the light of day? Fox had announced that instead of seeking a share of the sure-fire superhero hit it was intent on stopping the movie from being released.

Their beef is that when they teamed up with producer Larry Gordon in 1991 to develop a movie based on the groundbreaking 1986 graphic novel, the rights were transferred to them and so was due payment if the film was ever made. Things didn’t work out in developing the movie so Fox and Gordon went their separate ways. In 2006, Gordon made a deal with Warner Bros. to make Watchmen and Fox is saying they never got paid.

Will Fox be happy now with distribution rights? The judge, Gary A. Feess, is now urging the parties to reach a settlement or appeal, and says he will issue a more detailed order in the near future.

Fans will be watching.

Related:

>> Fox, Warner Bros. fight over ‘Watchmen’ release
>> Tribune goes to San Diego Comic-Con 2008

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