Warner Bros / DC Comics
Warner Bros / DC Comics
We're still not sure if we'll ever be able to watch Watchmen, but at least the sideshow is entertaining.
With the release of the anticipated comic book flick in jeopardy amid a blistering battle between rival studios, lawyers for Warner Bros. and 20th Century Fox gave fanboys a glimmer of hope Friday, announcing that settlement talks were progressing nicely.
Claiming it still held the movie rights to the famed Alan Moore graphic novel, 20th Fox filed a lawsuit last year seeking to block Warners from releasing the film. This, after director Zack Snyder had wrapped the $150 million project and Warners had set a March 6 release date.
Last month, U.S. District Judge Gary Allen Feess gave Fox a key victory, preliminarily ruling that the studio had a claim to an ownership stake and hinting that Watchmen could be shelved if the two sides didn't work things out before the Jan. 20 trial.
And that led to today's hopeful news...
Per court papers, Fox attorney Louis Karasik says the studios have accepted several of each other's key demands and talks were surprisingly "productive."
But while the two studios try to make peace, Watchmen producer Lloyd Levin broke out the gasoline and matches.
In an open letter posted on the website HitFix, Levin says Fox is trying to cash in after deeming the project "unfilmable."
"One reason the movie was made was because Warner Brothers spent the time, effort and money to engage with and develop the project," he wrote.
"If the project had been sequestered at Fox, if Fox had any say in the matter, Watchmen simply wouldn't exist today, and there would be no film for Fox to lay claim on. It seems beyond cynical for the studio to claim ownership at this point."
Fox quickly pooh-poohed Levin's letter.
"We appreciate Mr. Levin's passion for this project, but he has neglected basic facts and legal rulings," Fox said in a statement. "There is no question of who is right and who is wrong. That has been decided through the litigation that we had hoped to avoid, and we refer interested parties to the court's ruling to confirm these statements."
In other words, give us a piece of the action and Watchmen will be suiting up as scheduled this spring.
Taking the judge's recommendations in stride, legal eagles for Fox and Warner Bros. asked Feess to postpone a today's status conference until Monday afternoon so they could continue hashing out a compromise over the weekend.