postWednesday, 13 February 2008

Who was Watching the Watchmen?

Fox are suing Warner Bros. and may bring the Watchmen film to a halt.

WB anticipated big budget adaptation of Watchmen has hit a major snag in its production. Fox has filed a lawsuit claiming that they in fact own the rights to the project which is already well into production.

According to Super Hero Hype:

Fox claims that between 1986 and 1990, it acquired all movie rights to the 12-issue DC Comics series and screenplays by Charles McKeown and Sam Hamm. In 1991, Fox assigned some rights via a quitclaim to Largo International with the understanding that the studio held exclusive rights to distribute the first motion picture based on Watchmen, according to the lawsuit.

When Largo dismantled, the rights were transferred to producer Lawrence Gordon. Under a "turnaround agreement" between Fox and Gordon, the producer agreed to pay a buy-out price to Fox if he entered into any agreement with another studio or third party to develop or produce Watchmen, among other things.

Now, Fox claims that neither Gordon nor Warner Bros. has paid the buy-out price or advised the studio of any other conditions required under the agreement, including procedures necessary to acquire the rights to Watchmen from Fox.

The whole thing smells a little odd. WB own DC Comics for one thing. Secondly, is this some kind of smear tactic against WB who have a major film on track for a 2009 release. Of course the writers strike has severally halted production especially of big budget effects films, which need longer amounts of time in post-production. Finally, it's a bit odd that they've waited this long to start legal proceedings, it's not like WB has been hush, hush about this film's production.

If Fox do succeed there will be a lot of pissed off Watchmen fans who were foaming at the mouth for the Zack Snyder adaptation.

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