Watchmen behind the scenes wrangling

A few months back, when The Dark Knight debuted, it did so with trailer for Watchmen attached.

The response was massive - which was kind of expected seeing as Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons' comic book miniseries, on which the film is based, is probably the most influential graphic novel of all time. It's the War & Peace of superhero stories.

Anyway, the trailer comes out, people go ballistic, and suddenly Warner Brothers, the studio financing director Zack Synder's film, get slapped with a lawsuit by rival studio Fox. It's no secret that Watchmen (which has frequently been labelled "unfilmable") languished in development hell for literally 2 decades, and pretty much was passed from studio to studio... including Fox.

Back in the late 1980s and early 1990s Fox did own the rights to Watchmen, but eventually passed on the project. They did however maintain some kind of distribution rights apparently, which is where this current lawsuit comes in.

I’ll admit I’m not completely up to speed with all this legal wrangling but here’s all that the average moviegoer and comic fan needs to know: Fox is claiming that their intellectual property rights have been violated and as such they want the release of Watchmen blocked until the issue is resolved.

And surprisingly, 2 weeks back, a judge agreed that Fox's claims were valid, and refused to dismiss the case, which is what Warners had been requesting.

Now I may be biased on the topic because I’m a massive Watchmen fan, desperate to see the movie, but I think this behaviour is very underhanded and fishy on the part of Fox. Why wait till now, once filming is complete and the film is well into post-production, to get your knickers in a knot? It wasn’t like Warners secretly made Watchmen – it always was a high profile project, well covered in the media. Fox could have complained much earlier on in the process.

This current chain of events suggests that Fox, after seeing audience reaction to the Watchmen trailer, suddenly woke up and realised the financial implications of their dismissive attitude towards the project. Launching a lawsuit now makes it seem Fox is chancing their luck – hoping that Warner Brothers will just pay them off, or give them a slice of the profits pie, instead of jeopardising their 2009 release schedule.

It all makes me very angry. Watchmen is set to open on 6 March 2009 so there isn’t much time to reach a resolution. A 6 January trial date has just been set for Warners and Fox to fight it out. I'm definitely on Warners' side with this one...


Anyway, in happier Watchmen news, some pretty cool new media has been appearing online since the debut of the film's trailer, and the panel that was held at this year's San Diego ComicCon.

This media includes 4 new movie stills, which can be found at the bottom of this Movieweb gallery page, as well as 7 super sweet posters that have adopted a more illustrative style, and include quotes from the graphic novel, as well as plenty of little easter eggs.

View the rest of the posters, in low and high resolution, here.

I can't wait to see Ozymandias's beloved hybrid pet, Bubastis realised on the big screen.


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