Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Who Watches the Watchmen?......Maybe nobody!

According to a Variety article, the future of the feature film adaptation of Watchmen is in doubt due to a lawsuit.

Back in February, 20th Century fox filed a lawsuit against Warner Bros, alleging that Fox never ceded distribution rights on the property from when it tried to make a film version in the early 1990s. The judge in the suit recently denied Warners' motion to dismiss the lawsuit, which could potentially signal a serious blow to the film.

According to the article:

Surprisingly, Fox said it would rather see the film killed instead of collecting a percentage of the box office.

"When you have copyright infringement, there are some damages you never recover," said a source close to the litigation.

Fox spent more than $1 million developing Watchmen but had not previously taken legal action against the project, which had been in development at Paramount several years ago.

WTF? You'd rather see the film shelved? Here's why I think something is definitely fishy here. First off, Warners should have paid the turnaround fee that they were obligated to pay way back when. Actually, according to the article, Larry Gorden, one of the producers, should have paid it. So, yeah, Warners should pony up some cash. But here's the thing, why hasn't Fox tried to settle this before? As the above quote makes clear, Watchmen has bounced around a few studios since 1990. It even went into pre-production under director Paul Greengrass at Paramount, like six months before Warners got a hold of it.

So, Fox waits until the movie is in the can, mid-way through post-production with a hard release date before filing suit? That's just a shitty thing to do. And then to threaten to block releasing it at all, over a piddling little thing like a turnaround deal? Take your cut of the gross, like Warners will undoubtedly offer you, and shut up.

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