Nothing like a nasty public lawsuit to get the fans pumped about the next comic-book blockbuster. For months, Warner Brothers (the studio that produced the film) and Fox (the studio that contended it still had the rights to the graphic novel) duked it out over the rights to Watchmen in an expensive and increasingly ugly court battle, which only recently led U.S. District Court Judge Gary Feess to the extraordinary Christmas Eve ruling that Fox had distribution rights to the completed film. At the time, Feess strongly encouraged the two studios to reach a settlement and they’re finally come to terms, ending a court melodrama that’s had Watchmen fans on the edge of their seats, yawning.
Though the specifics of the settlement are confidential, here’s the basic outline of the agreement: Warner Brothers will release the film on March 6th. Fox will get paid between $5 million and $10 million upfront for their troubles, which will compensate them for legal bills and more (marina fees, a running tab at the Asian massage parlor, calf implants, etc.). In addition, Fox stands to get gross participation points in the area of 5% to 8.5% on worldwide ticket sales. Warner Brothers leaves with a tough (and seemingly obvious) lesson: Next time you’re looking to invest in a nine-figure blockbuster franchise, make sure the rights are cleared.
Full details are available at Variety.