The lawsuit Warner Bros. wishes would go away, just got a little more teeth yesterday when a federal judge refused to dismiss the case in which 20th Century Fox still claims to owns the rights to the film.

At the heart of Fox’s suit, filed in February, is the contention that it never ceded rights to the property. And according to the federal Judge Gary Allen Feess, Fox retained distribution rights to the graphic novel penned by Alan Moore and illustrated by Dave Gibbons through a 1991 claim. Furthermore, Feess appears to agree that under a 1994 turnaround deal with producer Larry Gordon, Gordon acquired an option to acquire Fox’s remaining interest in “Watchmen,” which was never exercised, thereby leaving Fox with its rights under the 1994 agreement.

What does all this mean?  While I doubt the film will get shelved, it could mean Warner Bros. is once again going to have to shell out a lot of money to make this all go away.  This is just one more reminder to the Warner execs why they should keep all their properties in house instead of signing things away willy-nilly just to make a few bucks.

Update: Actually Fox does want the movie from ever being shown.  If that does occur, expect Fox to earn the Major Dick of the Century award from nearly everyone in the world.

via Variety

The Author

Stephen Schleicher

Stephen Schleicher

Stephen Schleicher began his career writing for the Digital Media Online community of sites, including Digital Producer and Creative Mac covering all aspects of the digital content creation industry. He then moved on to consumer technology, and began the Coolness Roundup podcast. A writing fool, Stephen has freelanced for Sci-Fi Channel's Technology Blog, and Gizmodo. Still longing for the good ol' days, Stephen launched Major Spoilers in July 2006, because he is a glutton for punishment.

You can follow him on Twitter @MajorSpoilers and tell him your darkest secrets...

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  1. Slappy
    August 19, 2008 at 12:01 pm — Reply

    I they are smart, they would follow the example set by Marvel and create a D.C. production company to handle all of their properties. I don’t think anyone wants to see another Spiderman Movie debacle like they had in the late 80’s early 90’s.

  2. August 19, 2008 at 5:14 pm — Reply

    Do you now how upset the public will be if this gets shelved???

    Fox seems incredibly childish. I’ve got some children who act this way. I don’t want to play with this, but I don’t want you to play with it.

    But I guess if Fox really owns the rights…

  3. Randallw
    August 19, 2008 at 9:47 pm — Reply

    I love the idea of an entire movie that can’t be shown. Imagine just how much trading there’d be in illegal copies of Watchmen. Seen White and Nerdy, and Weird Al getting a copy of the Star Wars special in an alley. Now imagine that’s Watchmen instead.

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