Watchmen Legal Battle: Fox vs. Warner Bros.

The Hollywood Reporter reports:

Warner Bros. is scheduled to release Zack Snyder‘s big-screen adaptation of the Alan Moore/Dave Gibbons comics series on March 6, but a federal judge in Los Angeles complicated that plan Wednesday when he refused to dismiss a lawsuit filed by 20th Century Fox against Warners over rights to the property.

Judge Gary Allen Fees ruled that Fox has established enough evidence to support its claims that it holds the distribution rights to the film version of the 1980s graphic novel about damaged superheroes.

Asserting what it calls its “long-standing motion picture rights” to “Watchmen,” Fox said Monday that it will ask the court to “enjoin the release of the Warner Brothers film and any related ‘Watchmen’ media that violate our copyright interests in that property.”

Warners has high hopes for “Watchmen,” a potential franchise film that has a reported $120 million budget. The studio does not want to mess with success — it released Snyder’s previous big-screen effort, “300,” in March 2006, and that action movie went on to gross more than $450 million worldwide.

Warners counters that Fox has no rights to the project.

“The court’s ruling simply means that the parties will engage in discovery and proceed with the litigation,” it said. “The judge did not opine at all on the merits, other than to conclude that Fox satisfied the pleading requirements.”

Fox has sued Warners for copyright infringement and interference with its contract rights under a 1991 agreement between Fox and Largo Entertainment producer Larry Gordon.

Under that deal, Fox “quit claimed” its rights in “Watchmen” to Largo, with the understanding that if the production company proceeded with a big-screen version of the comic, then the movie would be distributed by Fox.

In 1994, Gordon negotiated with Fox “a turnaround notice” that established a buyout formula for the studio if he elected to acquire Fox’s rights. But according to Fox, Gordon failed to follow the 1994 agreement.

In 2006, Warners negotiated a quit-claim contract with Gordon, under which it claims to have acquired the rights to “Watchmen.”

Fox contends that it has retained its rights to the project because Gordon failed to buy out the studio’s rights. It further claims that Warners turned a blind eye to Fox’s rights. Warners, however, says under the 1994 agreement, Fox gave away all of its rights, including those to distribute.

Judge Fees disagreed, finding that Warners’ motion to dismiss ignored several facts, including that the turnaround notice separately dealt with “Watchmen” and that there is nothing in the court record that shows Gordon has an interest in the project.

 

Thanks to ComicBookMovie.com for this article.

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When Titans Clash – The Spirit vs. The Octopus

“Come on! Toilets are always funny.” So says Samuel L. Jackson as the maniacal Octopus, coming off as dedicated to his character as we’ve seen him since Pulp Fiction. This one short fight scene from Frank Miller‘s The Spirit, due out this December, isn’t yet quite enough to start fully judging the film, but I do feel comfortable saying that Mr. Miller seems to be trying to bridge the gap between the campy cartoony humor of The Spirit‘s golden age comic books and the noir sensibilities of modern age works such as Sin City.

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Thanks to Spill.com for this video.

Batman 3 Poster featuring The Riddler????

This is incredibly cool, but it is probably fan made. Take a look at these stories at FirstShowing.net and AintItCool.com. Also, the poster suggests the return of Two-Face. The internet is all a-flutter with debate as to whether or not Harvey Dent is actually dead.

NEW Punisher: War Zone restricted footage from Comic-Con

Full of unapologetic violence, as we would expect from a movie based on Marvel’s MAX version of the Punisher. Also, we get a look at Jigsaw in this clip.

 

NEW Red Sonja poster !!!

Here it is, straight from Comic-Con: Robert Rodriguez will be producing (what?! NOT directing?!) this remake of Richard Fleischer‘s 1985 cult classic, starring Arnold Schwarzenegger as Conan the Barbarian (aka Kalidor) and Brigitte Nielson as Sonja. For the remake, Rose McGowan will be playing the titular red haired she-devil.

Thanks to MTV.com and Comics2Film.com for this image.

The 25 Most Influential People in Comic Book Movies: #3 Kevin Feige

Kevin Feige is Marvel’s 21st century boy. He began his comic book movie career as associate producer of X-Men in 2000, and moved on to become co-producer of X2 in 2003 and executive producer of X-Men: The Last Stand in 2006, working with the likes of #19 Ralph Winter, #16 Lauren Shuler Donner, and #9 Bryan Singer. By this time, Feige had also worked in some sort of production capacity on eight other Marvel films, including Daredevil, Elektra, Hulk, Spider-Man 2, The Punisher, Blade: Trinity, Man-Thing, and Fantastic Four. In 2007, Feige was named President of Production at Marvel Studios. He continued to serve as executive producer of more Marvel properties that year, including Spider-Man 3 (made with #11 Sam Raimi at the helm) and 4: Rise of the Silver Surfer (working again with Ralph Winter). In 2008, he produced the enormously successful Iron Man and the also popular The Incredible Hulk (with the contributions of star writer #12 Zak Penn and famed producer #21 Gale Anne Hurd.) With the success of these two films, things look good for the future of Feige and Marvel Studios. Marvel’s relatively new comic book movie production studio has several ambitious new projects in the works, as does Feige himself. He is serving as executive producer of the soon to be released Punisher: War Zone, and will be an executive producer, with #22 Micahel De Luca, of a planned 2009 release of The Hands of Shang-Chi, based on the Marvel character of the same name. Feige will return to the X-Men franchise, accompanied by Lauren Shuler Donner and Ralph Winter, with their production of X-Men Origins: Wolverine, scheduled for release on May 1, 2009.

Influence Meter: ++++++++++

Watchmen pin-up girl art

Artist James Jean created this pin-up rendition of Sally Jupiter (portrayed in the movie by Carla Gugino) for use on the set of the film Watchmen. You can catch a very brief glimpse of it at 1:32 of the trailer. Jean cites the works of noted pin-up artist Alberto Vargas as a reference for this piece.

Thanks to Aint It Cool News for the pic. Click here for more about this peace on James Jean’s website.