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Studios will let judge determine Watchmen‘s release

by  in Comic News Comment

A federal judge will decide on Jan. 20 whether Warner Bros. will be allowed to release Zack Snyder’s adaptation of Watchmen.

In court papers filed on Monday, attorneys for Warner Bros. and 20th Century Fox agreed to allow U.S. District Judge Gary A. Feess to decide if Fox can block distribution of the highly anticipated movie.

Attorneys for Warner Bros., citing the proximity of the planned March 6 release, have asked that the hearing be moved to Jan. 12.

Feess is the judge who on Dec. 24 ruled that Fox owns a copyright interest in Watchmen because of a tangled development history that dates back to the late 1980s, when the studio acquired the rights to the Alan Moore-Dave Gibbons  DC Comics miniseries for producer Lawrence Gordon. The movie passed from studio to studio over the next two decades before finally settling at Warner Bros.

However, Feess determined, Gordon never obtained the necessary rights from Fox. “Fox owns a copyright interest consisting of, at the very least, the right to distribute the Watchmen motion picture,” the judge wrote in his December order.

Feess had suggested the studios work toward a settlement or an appeal.

Rodney Perkins and Jeff Trexler have more analysis, plus links to the legal documents.