Warner Bros.’ live-action feature based on the DC Comics graphic novel Watchmen will open on March 6 as planned. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the studio has settled a fierce legal dispute brought about by 20th Century Fox, which claimed certain rights to develop a film based on the Hugo Award-winning comic written by Alan Moore and illustrated by Dave Gibbons. Warner will give Fox an undisclosed amount of money and a percentage of the movie’s gross in exchange for dismissing the case.
When Fox filed suit in February, Warner Bros. faced the very real possibility that its $130 million superhero epic could be put on a shelf, never to see the light of movie theater projector. Fox was seeking to keep the movie from being released, but will obviously benefit more from its worldwide box office rollout now that it will have a piece of the action. The studio had roughly $1 million wrapped up in development of its own Watchmen film before the project went into turn around and ended up at Warner.
Fox based its complaint on a 1991 agreement with producer Lawrence Gordon, who apparently failed to pay the studio a buy-out price when he took the project to Warner. Warner will reportedly go after Gordon for reimbursement of settlement costs.