Who watches the Watchmen?
Betcha they didn’t know how important that question would become… In 2007 Warner Brothers and an amazing director named Zack Snyder, who you might know from the successful comic book adaption of Frank Miller’s 300, decided to create a movie called Watchmen… very closely based on the comic of the same name… a comic I might add that was created so well it earned the coveted Hugo award! (Read more on the Hugo Award)
This film has been closely followed by droves of fans for some time now.. frozen in front of our monitors in an almost drug induced state drooling over the stills and trailers that can be found at Watchmenmovie.warnerbros.com
Warner Brothers then goes on to display Watchmen trailers and assorted tidbits at all sorts of the most popular fan assemblages around the world.. notable of all is COMICON.. a virtual Mecca for we the comic fans. The point I’m making is that IT WAS NO SECRET THIS FILM WAS BEING MADE.
Currently all the principle photography is shot and the film is in post production. It was at this point about a month ago that I was just super excited at the prospect that in March of 2009 I’d be nestled in my theater seat soaking up all the superhero goodness… But of course… something has thrown a proverbial wrench into things, that wrench is called Twentieth Century Fox, who – if they have their way will keep anyone from watching Watchmen.
Just between you me and a fence post, if you own the copyright to something and you hear that someone is about to infringe on that copyright you’d be sure to stop that right away right?… sounds pretty normal huh… well FOX decides no… we’re gonna wait till they finish the film and spend all that money and then we’ll kick em in the nads… And that they did… despite the fact that the website has been up… with countless production diaries and all sorts of goodies… despite the fact that the film’s trailer has been shown at countless trade shows. FOX waited till now.. so what does this mean… aside from the obvious fact that whoever is pulling the strings at FOX is an utter ass.
It means simply that until a judge says otherwise the film can’t be released… that’s the short version. In more detail it works to the effect of this… According to BBC and Superherohype.com – I’ll paraphrase…
“On the 18th of Aug, Twentieth Century Fox has applied to a Los Angeles court to block the release of Watchmen, based on the comic books written by Alan Moore…” Warner Brothers’ pipes up saying: “We respectfully disagree with Fox’s position and do not believe they have any rights,” while Fox decalres it “will be asking the court to enforce our copyright interests”.
‘Copyright interests?’ WTF?!
Weeks ago, US District Court Judge Gary Feess said Fox could hold some of the rights to the material, even if it did not hold all rights. Fox spokesman Gregg Brilliant said it planned to stop the release of the movie and “any related Watchmen media that violate our copyright interests in that property”.
His Warner Bros counterpart, Scott Rowe, said: “The judge did not opine at all on the merits, other than to conclude that Fox satisfied the pending requirements.” So Fox saw that the WB made an amazing film and was going to break some serious benchmarks in the box office, which btw WB already has with the success of the Dark Knight… hmmm could there be a chip there on that shoulder? Well Fox couldn’t have that… no no no… not two films from the same studio… So instead of trying to make a good film and give the WB a run for their money… they decide to be childish and pull this crap.
Well happily I can report that the fans are not taking this sitting down.. There is a movement out there to boycott any Fox television or Films… The fans want FOX to know that they’re not gonna take this sitting down.. and I implore you to do the same… I know I know.. I’m gonna miss some of my favorite new t.v. programs too which really sucks.
While writing this, I’ve learned that in an effort to make WB miss their proposed opening date of March 2009 they’re trying to have the court date set in JUNE.. can you believe that.. how low can they go? Luckily a judge has set a date for the case to Jan 6th.
According to Variety, “the judge set the date Tuesday during a meeting between attorneys, setting the stage for discovery and deposition proceedings during the rest of this year. Warner Bros. has not backed off March 6 as the opening for Watchmen, directed by Zack Snyder. Feess indicated Tuesday that the case was not suitable for preliminary injunction and that the issues were too complex to be resolved on an interim basis. The judge had already indicated that he wants the case to move quickly, asking the two parties previously for expedited discovery. Two weeks ago, Feess denied Warner’s motion to dismiss the suit, which alleges that Fox retained distribution rights to the graphic novel through a 1991 claim. Fox has asserted it retains the rights since producer Larry Gordon’s option to acquire Fox’s remaining interest in Watchmen was never exercised, thereby leaving Fox with its rights under a 1994 turnaround agreement.”
So there you have it… FOX you suck!