A couple of months ago we reported that Fox Studios filed a motion to halt the release date of Watchmen by Warner Brothers on March 6th. On December 24th 2008, a judge declared, “Fox owns a copyright consisting of, at the very least, the right to distribute the Watchmen motion picture.” Last weekend attorney’s began negotiating a settlement.
Last night the matter was settled with Warner Brothers reportedly paying “a sizable cash payment” and reportedly 8.5% of Watchmen’s box office to Fox. Fox also reportedly will get a piece of any sequels or spin-offs produced. If the movie is successful this could be tens of millions of dollars. But the film’s legal troubles aren’t over yet.
Warner Brothers apparently wants producer Larry Gordon to reimburse what they pay Fox because Gordon (or Gordon’s attorney) did not inform them that Fox still had a claim to the film. Fortunately this won’t stall the films release date.
Warner Brothers and Fox are set to make a joint statement about the settlement later today, and honestly the settlement terms were what we expected: Fox gets a percentage of the profits and Warner Brothers gets to release the movie and make (hopefully) a sizable amount of money. The big loser in this is producer Larry Gordon, but honestly it was his failure to check the copyright that caused this in the first place. In the end, the only winners in this case are the fans. They’ll finally get to the see the movie they’ve waited almost twenty years to see.