The news isn’t getting any better for “Watchmen.”
Last week, the federal judge in the case ruled that 20th Century Fox did own a piece of the distribution rights to the upcoming film.Â Â Warner Brothers is currently producing and will distribute the film.
Whether or not we’ll see “Watchmen” on its established release date is up in the air.Â The two sides were set to go to court in mid-January, but the ruling has thrown a monkey-wrench into those plans.Â Warner could back up a Brinks truck full of cash to the Fox gates to settle the dispute, but that may or may not happen.Â Now comes news that Fox is seeking an injuction against the release date of March 6, 2009.
Warner is vowing to fight the move according to the Hollywood Reporter.
“We respectfully but vigorously disagree with the court’s ruling and are exploring all of our appellate options,” Warner Brothers 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.”
Both sides met Monday morning at the Los Angeles federal court, where Feess said he stands by the Christmas Eve ruling and also said he plans to hold a trial Jan. 20 to decide remaining issues such as damages, how far Fox’s rights extend, and if to actually block the release of the movie.
Monday’s events seem to be a speed bump to a costly settlement, with the hardline postures likely a strategic move for both sides more than anything else. Fox, which finally snapped a long boxoffice losing streak with “Marley & Me,” gains most with a settlement, not a blocked release. Warners, meanwhile, could be on the hook for millions for developing and then filming a movie in which the film’s producer, Larry Gordon, didn’t pay Fox turnaround fees after allegedly reacquiring rights to the property.
“We are gratified by the recognition of our rights in the Judge’s order, which speaks for itself,” Fox said in a statement.