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Friday, 16 January 2009

Fox, Warner Cut Watchmen Deal

WatchmenWarner Bros. and Fox have settled their very public battle over upcoming movie adaptation of Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons' Watchmen, which means its planned 6 March release will now proceed.

Variety reports a deal following a legal dispute over copyright. has been hammered out that that gives WB some face-saving points, but which gives Fox the equivalent of a movie star’s gross participation.

In a joint statement, Warner and Fox stated "Warner Bros. and Fox, like all Watchmen fans, look forward with great anticipation to this film's 6 March release in theatres."

Variety says sources told them Bros. gets the right to open its superhero pic on 6 March as planned, and Fox's logo will not be on the film.

Fox, on the other hand, will emerge with an upfront cash payment that sources pegged between $5 million and $10 million, covering reimbursement of $1.4 million the studio invested in development fees, and also millions of dollars in legal fees incurred during the case.

While the deal is a victory for Warner and for fans of the original comic eagerly looking forward to seeing how it will be brought to the big screen, Variety notes Watchmen marks the second big legal affairs snafu for WB in recent memory. "It wasn’t that long ago that WB had to pay $17.5 million to settle claims so that the studio could release Dukes of Hazzard; the Watchmen settlement is likely to cost WB much more money than that," the paper suggests.

Watchmen's director Zack Snyder turned another graphic novel, Frank Miller's 300, into a blockbuster in 2007 and Warner must be fervently hoping he repeats and even improves on that film's box office success.

It's likely the company will be hoping to recoup some of the film's costs from merchandising sales. Last year, we reported how Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons' ground-breaking Watchmen raced towards the top of the Amazon.co.uk book chart as sales rose by over 3000% and excitement built around 2009 film release.

downthetubes sources indicate that many in Hollywood, producers and directors among them, are beginning to tire of comic adaptations and a box office failure could spell big trouble for the some 200 plus comic book-inspired films at various stages of development at present.

Official Watchmen Movie site

• Titan Books Watching the Watchmen book was released last year (see our review), a beautifully packaged, well-designed celebration of the Watchmen that not only deserves high sales in itself but may also serve as inducement for fans to revisit the original work and see its pages and storytelling in a whole new light. Recommended.

A book detailing the making of the film, Watchmen: The Film Companion, is released next month, along with Watchmen: Art of the Film, both published by Titan.

Buy Watching the Watchmen from Forbidden Planet
• Buy Watching the Watchmen from amazon.com
• Buy Watching the Watchmen from amazon.co.uk

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