Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Who Releases The Watchmen?

Who Releases The Watchmen?

I'm starting to question my lack of belief in this higher snake God that fame writer, magician and all around crazy son-bitch Alan Moore believes in. His Comic books have been taken from print to screen in the possibly worse ways. From LXG to From Hell. His work has not been treated greatly. I'd even argue that V for Vendetta wasn't all that good of a book to film transition. That's not saying much since book to film has always lost something in transition.

In any event, Watchmen is set to come out this year and it's really a pretty accurate comic book to film translation the likes of which not seen since Sin City and 300. There's only one problem. Alan Moore must have prayed hard to his snake God as Fox wins their lawsuit against WB and wins rights for Watchmen film.

LOS ANGELES — In a surprise ruling, a federal judge in Los Angeles said he intended to grant 20th Century Fox’s claim that it owns a copyright interest in the “Watchmen,” a movie shot by Warner Brothers and Legendary Pictures and set for release in March.

The decision was disclosed in a five-page written order issued on Wednesday. Gary A. Feess, a judge in the United States District Court for Central California, said he would provide a more detailed order soon.

Fox has been seeking to prevent Warner from releasing the film. The superhero adventure, based on the “Watchmen” graphic novel, is being directed by Zack Snyder (who also directed “300”) and has shaped up as one of most eagerly anticipated releases for next year.

A Warner spokesman, Scott Rowe, declined to comment on the ruling and the studio’s plans.

“Fox owns a copyright interest consisting of, at the very least, the right to distribute the ‘Watchmen’ motion picture,” the ruling said.

In ruling on Wednesday, Judge Feess advised both Fox and Warner to look toward a settlement or an appeal. “The parties may wish to turn their efforts from preparing for trial to negotiating a resolution of this dispute or positioning the case for review,” he said.

You heard it correct. Warner Brothers lost the court case. Watchmen distribution rights go to Fox. And Fox previously stated that they wanted nothing more than Watchmen to never ever come out. So hey, it may very well be shelved if Fox has its way... Ok, scratch that, Fox wants it to stay dead forever.
Fox says it will try to stop 'Watchmen'

LOS ANGELES – An attorney for 20th Century Fox says the studio will continue to seek an order delaying the release of 'Watchmen.'
U.S. District Court Judge Gary Feess last week agreed with Fox that Warner Bros. had infringed its copyright by developing and shooting the superhero flick, scheduled for release March 6.
Feess said Monday he plans to hold a trial Jan. 20 to decide remaining issues.
Fox claims it never fully relinquished story rights from its deal made in the late 1980s, and sued Warner Bros. in February. Warner Bros. contended Fox isn't entitled to distribution.
Warner Bros.' attorney said Monday he didn't know if an appeal was coming, but thinks a trial is necessary and a settlement unlikely.
So wrap it up folks. It's over. Till the appeal case. If you believe this completely at face value without considering the possibility that it's being used as a bargaining chip to break WB into cutting Fox in on the profits then I have a bridge to sell you. If a deal were reached, Fox would literally be doing nothing and raking in millions of what, essentially, is pure profit money they could use to cushion themselves in case of a major box-office bomb.

WB, I think, would like to appeal rather than enter into settlement talks, but given the fact their entire movie slate in the first quarter (and in the early parts of the second quarter) are revolving around the success of this film, I don't think they want to do anything that could delay the film.
They're already going through the process to see how much they could write a check for to get rid of this or what rights they could give up to get this to be done with.
"How much will being right ultimately be worth to Fox? Perhaps a lot; perhaps nothing at all. Warner Bros. has been asking Feess to make one more crucial ruling in this case. The judge articulates the studio's request like this: “[T]o summarily adjudicate the issue of a contractual cap on the amount of compensatory damages to which Fox is entitled.” Now, I am no lawyer, but here’s how I might rephrase Warner Bros.’ position: “Let’s pretend for a moment that Fox is right in this matter. Judge, could you help us decide a fair price for Fox’s rights? Because we can't.” Perhaps all along, Warner Bros. has been gambling/banking that the judge will "adjudicate" a relatively affordable price for Fox's rights, or at least put a price tag on it that's much lower than the one Fox has been putting on it. As Feess has said that a longer version of his Christmas Eve ruling is forthcoming, perhaps the question of value will be determined at that time."
For example, those 60's Adam West Batman episodes have been something Fox wants on DVD but WB owns the rights to the name BATMAN, so that has been locked up for a while. So that's grease to the mill here.

I'm not going to talk smack here because Fox does have every right to do all this. They did own the rights and this is something I wondered ever since WB decided to get this off the ground again. It was public knowledge that Fox still had the rights to it.

That and I'm not going to bite the hand that feeds me. If there's one thing I do right, it's fall into being a company man. Yes sir, that's right. Anyone who thinks this stuff is black and white have never spent time in this fucked up industry. There's so much paper work and terms that would make your head spin. Fox had the turnaround rights for Watchmen. So that's to say that Fox never gave up rights for it, at least the distribution rights. Pretty ironic that this situation is going on as the theme of the book is centered around who keeps those with power in check Who Watches The Studio Execs?

As a fan of Watchmen, one who has owned at least 15 different copies of the book (Don't ask, I just seem to buy a new one during comic conventions) I would like to have this movie released for others to see. It's really a good adaptation to the graphic novel. This may very well be a case of "Fuck you, Got mine" that I partake in 2008, but I'm pretty damn sure it'll be released.

For the time being, Who watches the Watchmen? No one apparently. Thanks Fox!