What Do Federal Judges Know About Movie Marketing?

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What Do Federal Judges Know About Movie Marketing?

Thu Oct 02, 2008 @ 11:50PM PST

By Eriq Gardner

The super-studio struggle over the superhero film, "Watchmen," continues as federal judge Gary A. Fees considers a motion to split the case into liability and damages phases. A court date for the trial has already been set for January 6.

In the meantime, Judge Fees is giving the studios some good, free promotional value, declaring the scenes he's been shown are "hot" and saying that he liked the film's trailer "a lot."

Amazingly, Judge Fees has piped in some marketing advice to Warner Bros: "“There’s always a risk that if you get one of these very evocative trailers, you put pressure on the movie," he said at a hearing.

We assume he's warning the studio to not give "Watchmen" fans the expectation that they will be seeing an Oscar-winning film, but of course, he could mean that they shouldn't give consumers the expectation of ever seeing it. After all, in an earlier hearing, the judge declared that if Fox wins the case on its merits, “they’re going to get an injunction, in all likelihood.”

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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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