Friday, December 26, 2008

Oh snap

Judge Gary A. Feess has ruled in favor of 20th Century Fox in its case against Warner Bros. to assert its legal rights to a film adaptation of Watchmen. While the issue is far from settled, the ruling seems to have taken many by surprise, and Judge Feess is encouraging both sides to find a way to settle the case or appeal it, as it now will not be going to trial in January as originally intended.

So what does this mean? The excitement around Zack Snyder's upcoming film adaptation of the acclaimed graphic novel has only been building over the past year in particular, and there is a lot of concern from fans who anticipate this case delaying the release of the film, if not changing its content or cancelling it altogether. As of right now, there has been no official word on the tangible impact this ruling will have on the film or its release, but I'm confident that WB is going to do everything it can to protect the investment it's already made in the film's production, and the payoff they're expecting to receive from the hype it's generating around the world.

Indeed, while the judge's ruling shows that Fox does have legal claim to the property and the distribution of its motion picture adaptations, the timing of their case seems unfair to say the least. Why did they wait until the film was in post-production to push their legal rights? If they were sincerely concerned about preserving their claim to a film adaptation, it seems disingenuous to wait until the film was almost finished before opposing it. After all, the hype around the film has been building for the past two years -- it's not like its production was a secret.

In any case, it will be interesting to see where the case goes from here, and specifically, how it will impact the film. I, for one, hope the integrity of its content isn't touched by this lawsuit, and that the release date isn't significantly compromised -- the wait has been too long already!

1 comment:


    "Now, Fox, I know that you didn’t technically do anything illegal. In terms of the way the American justice system works, you are completely within your rights to do exactly what you did. You owned the movie rights to The Watchmen, and Warner Brothers made the movie anyway. Without having a real firm grasp on the law, I can certainly understand the concept of someone taking somebody else’s thing. Like, if I bought bacon with the intention of cooking it, chopping it up and throwing it into one of my famous omelettes, I’d be real pissed if some jerk showed up, took all my bacon and made their own breakfast with it. Even if that jerk was Warner Brothers, and even if their breakfast looked fucking awesome."