It’s official, the wait is over! Warner Brothers and 20th Century Fox have managed to reach a settlement over the live action adaptation of the DC graphic novel, Watchmen. If you’ve been following the drama that’s been surrounding these two, you know what’s been on the line in terms of the success and future of the film. Warner Brothers has been in a legal battle with Fox since early last year, over the Watchmen’s distribution rights. Fox had obtained the rights to the film in the mid-eighties, but signed a turnaround deal with producer Larry Gordon that gave him partial rights to the property, and the freedom to shop the film around to other studios. Enter Warner Brothers, Zack Snyder, and a whole lot of drama.
Check out the specifics of the settlement after the jump.
According to Fox they contacted Warner Brothers before production on Watchmen began, telling them that they still had claim on the properties film rights. Warner ignored the demands, went ahead as scheduled, and began a whirlwind marketing campaign for their film. Fox then went to the courts where it was ruled by a U.S. District Court Judge, that Fox did indeed hold a valid interest in the film.
Over the past couple of days, both studio’s have had meetings behind closed doors, which sparked talks of a settlement. Then to further hopes that the end was near, a scheduled conference for this past Tuesday between the studios was cancelled. This was a positive sign that Warner and Fox might settle the dispute amongst themselves, without having to go to trial.
According to Variety, Watchmen will be released on March 6, 2009 as planned, and will still be distributed by Warner Brothers.
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.
More importantly, Fox will get a gross participation in “Watchmen” that scales between 5% and 8.5%, depending on the film’s worldwide revenues. Fox also participates as a gross player in any sequels and spinoffs, sources said.
To a certain extent, it looks as if both studios are going to get something out of this deal. Yet, I’m still saddened by the fact that Fox had no part in the film’s production, but will still receive a percentage of the worldwide gross. Perhaps next time Warner Brothers will read the fine print, and not give someone else the opportunity to capitalize off of their hard work. Live and learn people, you live and you learn.
Do you agree with the settlement between Warner Brothers and Fox? It’s it fair?