Nikki Finke, who writes like an air-raid siren on her Deadline Hollywood Daily, just posted a breathless dispatch saying that there might be big trouble a-brewin’ for "Watchmen" (which has now officially earned the status of "The Only Movie that Matters" to fanboys everywhere). "Watchmen," due in March, is a Warner Bros. film (what is it with this studio, can’t they just be boring for a minute?) but it has a long and tangled background as a property. Which leads us to fighting Finke’s frantic financial finding:
URGENT! Warner’s ‘Watchmen’ In Legal Peril EXCLUSIVE: A judge has denied a Warner Bros motion to dismiss 20th Century Fox’s legal battle over the rights to develop, produce and distribute a film based on the graphic novel Watchmen. This is huge Hollywood news because Warner Bros plans to release on March 2009 its highly anticipated big-screen version of the popular comic book written by Alan Moore and illustrated by Dave Gibbons. Fox was seeking to enjoin Warner Bros from going forward with the project, and the judge on Friday refused to dismiss the lawsuit filed by Fox on February 12th of this year.
You can find the whole post right here. Finke, a former Los Angeles Times writer who is by all accounts one of the best-sourced reporters in town, sums up at the end:
This is indeed a stunning development which could imperil Warner Bros’ entire 2009 movie slate. Sources point out to me that Warner Bros had a similar problem with the Dukes Of Hazzard movie and had to pay tens of millions of dollars to release the film. I’m in the process of obtaining more details.
She’s absolutely right about "The Dukes of Hazzard" but the fact that such a truly forgettable project managed to somehow survive its courtroom ordeal makes me not worry too much about Warner Bros. saving "Watchmen," especially since they do have so much at stake in the film. Really, the upshot here is that Warner Bros. may have to cough up a lot more money to get the movie done. That news, I suspect, will be met with loud cheers by the disenchanted fans of a certain boy wizard.
– Geoff Boucher
Photo from "Watchmen" courtesy of Warner Bros.