Judge Gary A. Rees, who had recently set a January 20, 2009 court date for the Warner Bros. vs Fox trial to see who has the rights to WB’s highly-anticipated Watchmen adaptation, has gone ahead and made a surprise ruling. I guess the judge must have gotten a Ding! from Southwest with can’t-miss airfare to Cabo, because he’s skipped the trial and made a decision in favor of Fox.
The official ruling came in the form of a five-page written order, but detailed reasons were not given. The only explanation given so far is simply that “Fox owns a copyright interest consisting of, at the very least, the right to distribute the ‘Watchmen’ motion picture,” which is really bad for the movie and Warner Bros. A lot more information is expected to be released soon.
The judge’s reason behind the initially set January 20 court date was that there were just too many variables going on to make a decision without a trial, which makes this decision only that much more questionable.
The judge has suggested that the two studios try to find a way to settle the dispute, but it’s fairly likely that Warner Bros. will appeal the decision. They’re already working with Legendary Pictures here and their current agreement involves Paramount handling the overseas distribution, so there’s not a whole lot of room for Fox, who now apparently is the rightful owner of the rights to distribute. Conundrum.
I’m sure I’m not alone in having no idea what this means for the movie, but it doesn’t sound good. It’s also likely that I’m not alone in thinking, well, who gives a shit who distributes it, just give us the damn movie and send a little money to every studio out there if you have to. While I’m not sure we’ll get the set March release, it has to be assumed that it’s only a matter of time before we do see this, so just have patience my friends. Have patience.
[Source: NY Times]