Film production companies in Hollywood sue each other all the time. Most lawsuits go without notice or interest from the public. However, every once and awhile a movie that is highly anticipated by the public gets embroiled in one of these lawsuits, and such is the case with the Watchmen movie.
While this is oversimplifying the dispute, Warner Bros. has a completed Watchmen movie ready to be released in theaters on March 6, 2009, but 20th Century Fox believes that it still has rights to the property. On Christmas Eve, a federal judge in Los Angeles sided with 20th Century Fox and agreed that 20th Century Fox did still have some rights in Watchmen.
Now, according to the Hollywood Reporter, 20th Century Fox is looking to get an injunction to delay the scheduled March 6 release date of the Watchmen movie. On the other hand, Warner Bros. seems to have no interest in settling and plans to go to trial or to appeal the ruling. What this spells for comic book fans is that the Watchmen movie release will likely be delayed.
The Watchmen is revered as one of if not the greatest comic book series of all time. Comic book fans have longed for the series to be made into a movie, but they have also feared the possibility of a movie that fell far short of the comic book. Then, along comes Zack Snyder, and he delivers the best comic book movie trailer ever for a comic book movie.
Given that Iron Man and The Dark Knight set the bar for what comic book movies could be like, advanced word on the Watchmen movie suggests that it could jump over the bar. After The Punisher War Zone and The Spirit flopped at the box office, comic book fans are hungry for another good comic book movie. Some comic book fans are so upset they have started a petition to boycott 20th Century Fox if they cause the Watchmen movie to be delayed.
Angry comic book fans aren’t the only reason that a delay in the Watchmen movie release date could spell disaster for 20th Century Fox. If the Watchmen movie does get pushed back a couple months, then Warner Bros. might wind up releasing it on May 1, 2009, which is the same date that 20th Century Fox plans to release the X-Men Origins: Wolverine movie. Think about it, angry comic book fans and a delayed Watchmen movie released on the same day as the Wolverine movie. Perhaps, what 20th Century Fox should be doing is petitioning the court to force Warner Bros. to release the Watchmen movie early to get it as far away from the Wolverine release date as possible.