The end is near (maybe) for ‘Watchmen’ legal battle

Jan. 10, 2009 | 1:55 p.m.

John Horn, who covers the film industry for The Times, has this update on the legal feud that some feared would sabotage the scheduled release of "Watchmen" — and if you want to see why that’s good news check out the trailer above…

Lawyers for 20th Century Fox and Warner Bros. told a judge Friday that they were trying to settle the copyright lawsuit over “Watchmen,” a signal that the nearly year-old court fight over the superhero movie may be nearing a conclusion.

The attorneys were to appear before U.S. District Judge Gary A. Feess to schedule a trial later this month over the film’s distribution rights when they told the judge that settlement talks were underway.

Warner Bros. is scheduled to release the $130-million film from “300” director Zack Snyder on March 6. But Fox won a Dec. 24 decision from Feess ruling that Fox, not Warner Bros., held a copyright interest that gave Fox distribution rights to the film, expected to be one of the spring’s biggest releases. Fox had obtained movie rights to the graphic novel by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons in 1986, and Feess found that Warner Bros. never fully obtained them from Fox.

Neither Warner Bros. nor Fox would comment on the settlement talks. But Warner Bros. does not have a lot of interest in the film left to share with Fox because it has split production costs and distribution territories with, respectively, Legendary Films and Paramount Pictures.

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