'Watchmen' Fracas Heats Up

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'Watchmen' Fracas Heats Up

Tue Aug 19, 2008 @ 03:17PM PST

By Eriq Gardner

Watchmen That claim by Fox against Warner Bros. over rights to "Watchmen" is heating up and hitting the mainstream press. Previously, we covered the complicated timeline alleged in a suit filed by Fox claiming it owns the exclusive right to distribute the first motion picture produced based on the property.

Last week, U.S. District Judge Gary Feess denied Warners' motion to dismiss, allowing the case to proceed. It's by no means the huge victory some are claiming, but the judge does say that Fox could hold some of the rights to the material, even if it did not hold all rights. Fox now says that it will seek an injunction to block release of "The Watchmen" scheduled to come out next March and believed to have cost $120 million to produce.

Whatever the merits of the case, Feess' decision will force Warners execs to decide whether to defend itself in time-consuming litigation or engage settlement discussions. A lot will be riding on the judge's decision on the injunction.

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The Hollywood Reporter, Esq. blog focuses on how the entertainment and media industries are impacted and influenced by the law. It is edited by Matthew Belloni with contributions from veteran legal reporter Eriq Gardner and others. Before joining The Hollywood Reporter, Belloni was a lawyer at an entertainment litigation firm in Los Angeles. He writes a column for THR devoted to entertainment law. Gardner is a New York-based writer and legal journalist. Send tips or comments to Matthew.Belloni@thr.com

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