Judge Pushes Back Watchmen Trial

The trailers have already hit the web and the graphic displays have been draped in movie theaters across the country, but the fate of Warner Bros.’ Watchmen still lies in the hands of a jury in Los Angels. Daily Variety reports that the judge presiding over the case has moved the trial back two weeks to Jan. 20. The matter will go before the jury because Judge Gary Allen Feess wouldn’t issue a ruling. Twentieth Century Fox is trying to keep Warner from releasing the film because it claims to hold the movie rights to the award-winning graphic novel from Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons.

Fox acquired the film rights to Watchmen and screenplays by Charles McKeown and Sam Hamm between 1986 and 1990. The studio, which had $1 million wrapped up in development, then assigned certain rights to Largo International, providing that the studio held exclusive rights to distribute the first Watchmen film. Largo eventually folded and rights reverted to producer Lawrence Gordon, who, according to Fox, failed to pay the studio a buy-out price when he took the project to Warner Bros. Judge Feess reportedly declined to rule in the matter because he found the contracts between Fox and Gordon to be open to interpretation.

Directed by Zack Snyder (300, Dawn of the Dead – 2004), Watchmen is a unique take on the superhero genre that stars Jackie Earle Haley, Billy Crudup, Patrick Wilson, Carla Gugino and Malin Akerman. The trailer can be accessed at the official website, http://watchmenmovie.warnerbros.com.