The crux of 20th Century Fox’s suit against Warner Bros. to halt the release of Watchmen is that producer Larry Gordon failed in his turnaround agreement with Fox that allowed the company to distribute the film if Gordon was able to sell the concept to another studio.
This has lead to many citing Gordon as the one who is the big villain in this movie fiasco.Â Finally frustrated with all the criticism, Gordon fired off a lengthy letter Federal Judge Gary Frees stating his position in an attempt to clean up his reputation.
Gordon had remained silent since then but fired back Wednesday, stating in a letter filed by his litigation lawyers that he has been subjected to “significant public scorn” for his role in the studio battle and arguing his case that he answered deposition questions “to the best of his knowledge.”
Because it wasn’t filed properly, Judge Frees is refusing to read the letter, which makes any argument Gordon makes moot.Â The fate of Watchmen could be decided as early as Monday, but we probably won’t have a final answer until January 20, 2009.
DC must be tickled pink over the Watchmen Trailer Effect.Â Sales for the trade paperback have skyrocketed since July, and the book took a double dip at the top selling graphic novels for December.Â Watchmen took the number 1 and number 3 spots on BookScan USA’s graphic novel list, with the paperback taking the top spot, and the newly released hard cover coming in third.
Even though Watchmen is soaring high, Naruto still dominates the list with volumes taking the number 2, 5, 11 spots.
One of my favorite moments of 2008 was all the viral marketing that sprang up around the various movies and major events in comics.Â Even though the Watchmen movie is in turmoil at the moment, that hasn’t stopped the viral machine from launching The New Frontiersman website to hype the movie.
The New Frontiersman is Rorschach’s newspaper of choice, so why not have a website dedicated to this bit player in the movie?Â The website is only a dummy page at the moment, but it may spring to life as the release date (whenever that might be) draws near.
I’m not all that much into those inkblot tests, but does that look like a smiling fox to you?Â Could this be yet another dig at 20th Century Fox by Warner Bros?Â The domain is registered to the Picture Production Company out of the UK, which creates viral campaigns for a variety of companies.Â The company does list Warner Bros. as one of its clients.
I know George Lucas made a killing in the 70′s when he managed to secure the merchandising rights for Star Wars properties, that lead to those wonderful Star Wars bedsheets I used to have (sleeping with Princess Leia took on a whole new meaning), but check out the crazy stuff currently being hocked on eBay in an attempt to cash in on the upcoming movie.
You are bidding on a pair of standard size (18 x 28 inches) pillowcase. 100% Cotton with 200 thread count! They are very soft and comfortable since we use the highest quality of garment in the market. 100% Satisfaction guaranteed.
This unlicensed item is going to go fast, because…you know… we all like waking up to a bloody smiling face every morning.Â Be on the lookout for Rorschach themed bedsheets soon.
This isn’t as strange as the Marvel DCU that seems to throw everyone whenever it is mentioned on the site.Â Instead, these are custom Watchmen figures cobbled together from the Marvel Legends line.Â Looks pretty cool, even if The Comedian’s mustache features a bit of super-cheese.
Warner Bros. isn’t taking the early ruling by Judge Gary Feess lightly, when it came out yesterday with a comment about the court case.
“We respectfully but vigorously disagree with the court’s ruling and are exploring all of our appellate options,” the studio said. “We continue to believe that Fox’s claims have no merit and that we will ultimately prevail, whether at trial or in the Court of Appeals.”
While Warner Bros. is coming out strong on this one – and why wouldn’t they, this movie is shaping up to the be big blockbuster of the year – the studio does need to be careful, as Judge Feess is also the same judge who ruled against Warner during the Dukes of Hazard debacle that forced the studio to cough over millions to get the picture released.
Fox, which only stands to gain, even though they are still looking to block the March 9, 2009 release date, is satisfied with the judgement that says 20th Century Fox owns at least the right to distribute if not more.
As I previously mentioned on this site, and which The Hollywood Reporter is repeating in its latest issue, this looks to be a lot of chest thumping and delcarations by both sides before the ultimate big pay-off.Â Even though Judge Feess ruling was made on Christmas Eve, he still plans on holding the January 20, 2009 trial to see how far Fox’s rights extend, and how much compensation is due to the offended party.
If Fox wins its case, Watchmen could very well never see the light of day, but considering the tons of fan backlash on this site and the rest of the Interweb Nets, I think this is highly unlikely.Â Considering how hard I’ve been on Warner Bros. and some of its subsidiaries as of late, I’m behind the company on this one. If anything, it went into production of Watchmen on the good faith of Larry Gordon, who claimed he did all the proper paperwork and payments to ensure Warner Bros. had the rights to proceed with this project.Â If I were Larry Gordon, I’d be on a plane to a small South American country right now, where I could disappear for the next decade.
This might be one more reason not to see the 20th Century Fox Wolvering movie when it arrives.Â In a ruling by Los Angeles federal judge Gary Allen, his honor saw fit to release an intial ruling that says Fox owns a copyright interest in Warner Bros. Watchmen movie.
â€œFox owns a copyright interest consisting of, at the very least, the right to distribute the â€˜Watchmenâ€™ motion picture,â€ the ruling said.
Yikes.Â Considering that Fox’s original motion was set up to keep Watchmen from being released on March 6, this puts a big damper on the film. While I agree Fox is looking out for Fox, and has every right to protect their interest, and Warner Bros. should have done its own due diligence in making sure this passed around property was 100-percent theirs, it still sucks big time.
Now before everyone starts getting in an uproar over this ruling – a full 25 days before the January 20th trial was to begin – Fox is more than likely looking for a big payment (pay off) on what is sure to be the biggest money maker Hollywood has seen since The Dark Knight. More than likely Warner Bros. and Fox will reach some kind of agreement in which Fox gets a huge sum of the profits from the film.
However, if an agreement is not reached and the film does indeed get shelved, it will be one of the biggest Hollywood blunders since the motion picture industry began, and will be a case that will be examined in detail and discussed in many a copyright class for future lawyers.
The judge in the Warner Bros./Fox Watchmen trial has bumped the start date back to January 20, 2009, citing that the contracts signed by Larry Gordon are so complex, it requires a trial to sort it all out.
Fox’s suit, filed in February, contends that it retains distribution rights to the graphic novel penned by Alan Moore and illustrated by Dave Gibbons. It asserts that 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.
Warner Bros. is still sticking with its March 6 release date.Â Here’s hoping things don’t get buggered before then.