The Watchmen

Warner Bros / DC Comics

All we can ask for is that, at the end of all this, we get to see Watchmen sometime this year.

Lawyers for Warner Bros., which made the highly anticipated film, and 20th Century Fox—which has a major problem with that—filed court documents Wednesday indicating the two sides are close to resolving their differences without going to trial.

According to a joint settlement notice filed in Los Angeles Superior Court, "the parties are continuing to address a few remaining settlement issues" but are confident that a trial (otherwise scheduled to begin Tuesday) won't be necessary to determine whether Warner Bros. has the right to release Watchmen despite the fact that Fox held the film-distribution rights for nearly 10 years before producer Larry Gordon brought it to the other studio.

The warring factions also requested that a hearing be held in chambers tomorrow to hammer out a few sticking points.

So far, the legal battle has been going Fox's way, with a judge ruling Dec. 24 that Fox "owns a copyright interest consisting of, at the very least, the right to distribute the Watchmen motion picture."

The film, starring Billy Crudup, Jackie Earle Haley, Patrick Wilson and Malin Akerman and directed by 300 helmer Zack Snyder, is due out March 6, currently with Warner Bros. slated to do the distribution honors. The studio is poised to lose tens of millions of dollars if Fox is awarded a high-enough percentage of its box-office gross.

Fox sued Warner Bros. in February to block Watchmen's impending release, arguing that deals Fox made with Gordon in 1991 and 1994 stipulated that any other studio interested in the project would have to get permission from Fox in order to make the movie.

Warner Bros. has since been working on shifting the financial burden onto Gordon's shoulders. Court documents obtained by the Los Angeles Times show that the studio is going after the prolific producer "for all damages Warner Bros. suffers as a result of Fox's claims."

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