For a while, it looked like Zack Snyder and Warner Bros. were covering their every base for next year's nerd-anticipated $120 million film adaptation of Alan Moore's Watchmen — they've cut the summer's most-discussed trailer, awed the geeks at Comic-Con, and even commissioned an awesome-sounding Watchmen video game to coincide with the movie's release. The only thing they forgot to do, we guess, was lock up the rights to the original graphic novel.
Vulture buddy Nikki Finke reports that a federal judge has dismissed a Warner Bros. motion to dismiss a 20th Century Fox lawsuit, filed in May, over the "rights to develop, produce, and distribute a film based on [Watchmen]." Apparently in the early nineties, through "a very complex, convoluted series of negotiations and agreements," Fox either retained its original rights to the comic or, according to Warner, gave them up entirely. Lawyers for Fox say they plan to file an injunction blocking Watchmen's planned release next March, though this infringement case, notes the Times, bears a strong similarity to a 2005 one over Johnny Knoxville's Dukes of Hazzard remake, which Warner settled for $17.5 million. Since we know people who actually want to see Watchmen, however, one presumes this case could be slightly more expensive.
SAVE US! Warner's 'Watchmen' In Legal Peril After Judge Won't Dismiss Fox Suit [Deadline Hollywood Daily]
Fox Is Allowed to Press Warner Over Rights to ‘Watchmen’ [NYT]