March Release for "Watchmen" Unlikely


Oh, hello there, Watchmen enthusiast. Hoping to see Zack Snyder's much hyped movie adaptation of Alan Moore's comic book masterpiece, are we? Excited that after 20 years of development, you're finally going to see the movie 3 months from now? Sorry, but that's not gonna happen.

The big story in movie news for the past week have been the ongoing war between Warner Bros and 20th Century Fox for the distribution rights of Watchmen. Last Wednesday, a District Court judge ruled that WB infringed on Fox's copyright when they decided to develop the film. There are many ways this could turn out, but rest assured that you can chuck that March 6th release date.

Of course, everyone and their tailor are giving Fox crap for this move—most entertaining is Cracked's Daniel O'Brien, who cordially invited Fox to "eat several dicks"—because they waited until February of this year, when the movie had already finished shooting, to file the lawsuit that resulted in this ruling. Yes, Fox are indeed being top grade dirtbags, no question about it; but really, I think it's quite the screw-up on WB's part in the first place for even allowing such a loophole to exist. Especially when it comes to such a high profile production. It doesn't matter that Fox never did anything with their rights, why the hell would you go ahead and get Zack Snyder to shoot this thing without clearing the legal cobwebs first?


Well, let's see... This is about money, right? Fox isn't going to throw away or shelf a perfectly good blockbuster with this big of a buzz around it when they could just let WB release it and get a cut of the profits. So why not? Well, I'd love to say that it's because Alan Moore put his black magic juju on the production to make sure it'll never see the light of day, but the truth is much lamer than that.


Beware of this man. He knows curses and stuff. Look at his beard.

(Frankly, I'd rather pay money to see a movie about Alan Moore calling on snake gods to ramf--k Hollywood up the waste chute than a Watchmen adaptation, but I digress.)

You can forget the March 6 date because Fox wants to delay the movie's release, for whatever reason, or so their attorney told The Associated Press Monday. Way back in August, when a judge denied WB's motion to dismiss the case, Fox's legal team claimed that they're not looking for money and that their goal is to stop the movie's release altogether, which made no goddamn sense because they didn't stop Snyder from entering production. If it's true that Fox has no intention of letting anyone see Snyder's film, then this is purposeful sabotage to make WB look bad.

Meanwhile, WB is refusing to settle, and plans to fight the judge's decision. As Rorschach would say, "Never compromise." They've released the following statement:

“We respectfully but vigorously disagree with the Court’s ruling and are exploring all of our appellate options. We continue to believe that Fox’s claims have no merit and that we will ultimately prevail, whether at trial or in the Court of Appeals. We have no plans to move the release date of the film.”

Okay, Warners. Sure, you don't plan to move the date, but if the court favors Fox and you end up having to appeal, how long is that going to take? They're lucky if they can release the movie in 2009 at all, let alone March. The options are to either give Fox money or continue a long drawn out fight which would delay the movie anyway.

I guess it was a good thing that WB moved Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince to 2009, eh? Might offset this loss a bit.

A trial date is set for January 20. We'll see what happens then.

UPDATE: Hey! They settled after all. You'll get your March release, Watchmen fans.

Arya Ponto • Contributor

As former Editor of JPP, Arya likes to entertain peeps with his thoughts on pop culture, when he's not busy watching Battle Royale for the 200th time. He lives in Brooklyn with a comic book collection that's always the most daunting thing to move with, and writes for Artboiled.com.


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