That’s if Watchmen is released this year, of course. Thanks to a petty squabble between Warner Bros (which made Watchmen) and Fox (which says it owns the rights to Watchmen), nothing looks certain any more. And now one of the movie’s producers, Lloyd Levin, has waded in on the issue by writing a letter calling everyone at Fox big old smellyheads. We’re paraphrasing.
So Watchmen still might not be released this year. That’s OK, we’re sure we’ll be just as disappointed by Terminator Salvation.
It’s hard to know why people are so excited at the prospect of seeing the Watchmen movie this spring. On reflection, we think we’ve boiled it down to three reasons:
1 – They’re gigantic Alan Moore fans.
2 – They can’t believe that the movie has actually been made at all.
3 – They’re stinking, lonely, friendless geeks and their only companion is their crusty ejacu-sock.
But forget the first and last reasons for the time being – much of the excitement about Watchmen comes from the fact that people have been trying to make it for 20 year. Terry Gilliam had a go at making Watchmen and failed. Darren Aronofsky had a go and failed. Paul Greengrass had a go and failed. Jude Law was going to be in it at one point. Simon Pegg was going to be in it at one point. Arnold Schwarzenegger was going to be in it at one point. Dig hard enough and you’ll probably discover that you’d been briefly considered for the role of Dollar Bill at some point in the mid-1990s.
Because of the immense amount of time that Watchmen took to get to the screen, it’s spent much of the last two decades being shuttlecocked between movie studios at an astonishing rate. Fox had it for a while, Universal had it for a while, Paramount had it for a while, Revolution had it for a while and finally Warner Bros ended up making it. And that’s where all the confusion lies.
Fox is currently suing Warner Bros with the intention of either cashing in on Watchmen‘s release or stopping it completely, claiming that it still owns the rights to the movie. On Christmas Eve a judge ruled in Fox’s favour, and now Watchmen producer Lloyd Levin has been reduced to writing a letter online telling Fox to back off and let him release his film. The LA Times reports:
Lloyd Levin said Fox repeatedly passed on making director Zack Snyder’s epic superhero movie and was now trying to take advantage of Warner Bros.’ willingness to develop and produce it. “Shouldn’t Warner Bros. be entitled to the spoils — if any — of the risk they took in supporting and making ‘Watchmen’? Should Fox have any claim on something they could have had but chose to neither support nor show any interest in?”
With any luck, the coming weeks will see another round of court hearings to decide for good who owns what when it comes to Watchmen. We’d imagine that the worst-case scenario would involve Watchmen‘s release being shelved indefinitely. But even that’s not the end of the world.
Look at it this way – if Watchmen doesn’t come out, the geeks will cry. If Watchmen does come out, it’ll probably be fairly awful and the geeks will still cry. Either way there’ll be some crying geeks. It’s a win-win.