Fox & Warner Bros Continue ‘Watchmen’ War

Fox and Warner Bros. remain at war over Watchmen, with Warners proclaiming it’s not moving off its March 6 release date.

No settlement emerged Monday, when U.S. District Court Judge Gary Allen Feess held a status conference with attorneys for the two sides. Feess, who found last week that Fox owns the distribution rights to “Watchmen,” indicated he’ll issue a fuller ruling prior to the Jan. 20 trial date to resolve the remaining issues.

Fox, which first acquired rights to the graphic novel in 1986, filed the suit in February at about the same time director Zack Snyder wrapped production. The studio contends it retains distribution rights under a 1994 turnaround agreement with producer Larry Gordon, who took Watchmen to Warner Bros. after attempts to make it with Fox, Universal and Paramount.

Feess found in the initial ruling that Gordon, who’s not a defendant in the case, had never exercised his option to acquire Fox’s remaining interest in “Watchmen” nor had he honored his agreement since 2005 to offer the project to Fox under the “changed elements” part of the pact. For its part, Warner contended that Fox did not own any rights to Watchmen.

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