In a surprise move by Los Angeles federal judge Gary Feess, the court has ruled in favor of 20th Century Fox in the lawsuit for rights to the Watchmen movie. Warner Bros shot the movie and planned to release it March 6, 2009.
The ruling was laid out in a five-page order obtained by the New York Times Wednesday. Feess said he would provide more details on the decision later, but urged the two studios to reach a settlement or an appeal. The trial was potentially scheduled for January 20, 2009.
“Fox owns a copyright interest consisting of, at the very least, the right to distribute the ‘Watchmen’ motion picture,” the ruling said.
The lawsuit claimed Fox still retained rights as far back as 1986 to the Watchmen material and WB infringed on the original ownership by creating a movie based on the popular graphic novel. Fox has made unsuccessful motions recently to stop distribution of the film. The details of the case are explained in detail here.
The surprise ruling could potentially mean a delay of the movie’s release while Fox decides the fate of the movie, though a complete cancellation is unlikely. It goes without saying this is a massive blow to WB after a reported budget of $120 million. They’re definitely looking at a multi-million dollar deal settlement after the holidays.
It’s more bad superhero news for Warner Bros this week, which recently decided not to release The Dark Knight in Chinese theaters due to pre-release censorship conditions imposed by the country.
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Well Hopefully this BS doesnt delay the film too long, I really want to see this!