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Aug 20 08 10:15 AM
Aug 21 08 7:32 AM
Sep 3 08 3:34 PM
Sep 3, 2008, 02:58 PM | by Jeff Jensen
Categories: 'Watchmen', Movie Biz
Watchmen fans, the clock is now ticking - and that's a
good thing. A Jan. 6 trial date has been set for Warner Bros. and Fox to duke it out over what's basically a very expensive unpaid toll ticket. To wit:
Did Warner Bros. and producer Larry Gordon move on Zack Snyder's $100 million adaptation of Alan Moore's dark, revisionist superhero saga without
first properly buying out Fox's stake in the film? Regardless how the question is answered, the Jan. 6 court date would seem to all but assure that
Watchmen will be released on March 6. For all you furious
anti-Fox geeks who bought crayons to make Wolverine pickets, we hope you kept the receipt.
Parsing U.S. District Court Judge Gary Allen Feess' edicts on this matter has become great entertainment blogger sport - so let's play! With a
trial looming, and with the judge stating the case is too "complex" for him to grant Fox's request that he block Watchmen's
release, pressure is on both parties to settle the dispute before one of them emerges a big loser. As some armchair analysts have pointed out, arguments will
likely center on whether or not a 1991 payment to Fox effectively renders this whole business moot, or if a subsequent 1994 agreement between Fox and Gordon
(who has been trying to mount a Watchmen movie for many years with several different studios) kept that option open. In papers filed prior to the
Labor Day weekend, Warner Bros. put forth the fanciful notion that Fox doesn't deserve squat because they sat on their hands for years and did nothing to
make the movie or even prevent others from doing so. Fox's counter-argument: BWAHAHAHAHAHAHA! Such kidders, you Warner Bros. people are! Even if
that's true - so frakking what?
You'd think Warner Bros. would want to pony up some cash just to make this stupid thing go away - that is, after milking it for all the PR it's
worth, given how much everyone is all "Watchmen this" and "Watchmen that" these days. Seriously, I should have "Zack Snyder's $100 million adaptation of Alan
Moore's dark revisionist superhero saga" programmed into a default setting on my computer by now. If there was ever any worry that this
"obscure" comic was going to have to deal with an awareness/relevancy problem with mainstream moviegoers, that concern has now been alleviated by a
factor of 37.98%, according to the Crackpotatron we keep in the EW bloggercave - and that number is growing larger every day.
Of course, increased recognition and increased commercial potential also favors Fox, if Fox is going to insist on profit participation in worldwide
theatrical revenues and aftermarket stuff like DVDs licensed products.
Then again, with all of us talking about this all the time, thus raising the stakes of humiliation for both studios, maybe there's equal pressure on
both sides to settle this thing and seal the resolution air tight to avoid the risk of getting a big fat egg - or several thousand small ones - splatted
across the face.
This is all to say that I really have no damn clue, but I think it would be fair to say the following:
1. Hollywood is slimy.
2. Fox may get some money, and if they have the stones to actually go to trial and fight for what's right instead of just a check, even get what they
legally deserve... but man, have they lost the PR war. Threatening to take Watchmen away from geeks has unleashed some truly venomous blather toward
Fox and its moviemaking upper management - residual bitterness from adaptations of Daredevil, Elektra, Fantastic Four, The League of Extraordinary
Gentlemen, and the first and third X-Men movies. Never mind that most, if not all of these films were varying degrees of
"successful." Those guys at the studio know what they're doing, but the hardcore fanboys sure don't like the way they creatively do it.
3. Fox probably doesn't really give a crap about point No. 2.
4. Fanboys are probably stung to hear point No. 3.
5. But they'll totally get over it when Watchmen opens on March 6, 2009.*
*Pending future developments that make us change our mind.
Oct 20 08 1:21 PM
There has been a screening of Watchmen in Portland. It was unfinished. People are saying it's great.
Links posted below but WARNING they are filled with HUGE SPOILERS!!!!
Oct 22 08 7:40 AM
Oct 22 08 12:52 PM
Nov 6 08 7:50 PM
Nov 11 08 9:16 AM
Nov 13 08 10:18 PM
Dec 17 08 10:38 AM
Dec 17, 2008, 09:53 AM | by Jeff Jensen
Remember that scene in Footloose, set to Bonnie Tyler's
'I Need A Hero," where Kevin Bacon and some other guy each jump in tractors and start driving toward each other very slowly and from really far away
in what just may be the most ridiculously great game of vehicular chicken ever staged for the silver screen? No? NO?! Oh, you sad, culturally impoverished
soul! Please rectify that right now by clicking here.
Pretty awesome, huh?
Anyway, the current high-stakes legal war between Fox and Warner Bros. over rights to Watchmen kinda reminds me of that scene. Yesterday, the judge
in this slooooow-burning, why-hasn't-this-been-resolved-by-now? showdown decided to delay the trial from Jan. 6 to Jan. 20. More provocatively,
the judge declined to grant the requests of both sides to issue a summary judgment - meaning that this increasingly high-stakes game of Hollywood chicken will
result in the messy, juicy collision of a trial...or it won't, because between now and Jan. 20, Warner Bros. and Fox will forge a settlement, which is most
likely what the judge has been trying to not-so passive-aggressively facilitate all along.
Then again, what do we know? We barely understand how traffic court works.
To be clear, we here at EW don't mean to sound so cavalier about copyrights and intellectual property, despite our glib willingness to chuck around
YouTubed movie clips. (That's legal, right?) Fox believes that it possessed the right to distribute a move based on the Watchmen material, and
that Warner Bros. didn't properly acquire that right before setting up director Zack Snyder with $100 million to make his own Watchmen adaptation,
which is still slated for release on March 6, 2009 release.
But the same reason we choose to be so snarky about this biz - and why we steadfastly refuse to be sympathetic to anyone in this matter except fans who are
dying to see Snyder's flick, despite the furious desire of certain studio chiefs who desperately want the media to not just explicate their positions but
fight their fights for them -- is the same reason the judge has repeatedly refused to settle this tricky, murky conflict himself: It's really hard to know
who's in the right here. If someone with a super-powered law brain like Mr. Watchmen Judge can't/won't decide this matter without a trial,
why should we, with our smaller, sillier, comic book-addled brains, try to do the same?
So until the day of clarity arrives, we will sit in the peanut gallery. But we hope that justice prevails, that the wronged parties (if any) get what they
deserve - and that Watchmen is released, as scheduled, on Mach 6, 2009.
Dec 17 08 4:33 PM
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"We grow great by dreams. All big men are dreamers. They see things in the soft haze of a spring day or in the red fire of a
long winter's evening. Some of us let these great dreams die, but others nourish and protect them; nurse them through bad days till they bring them to the
sunshine and light which comes always to those who sincerely hope that their dreams will come true."
Woodrow T. Wilson
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