Last week the judge presiding over the lawsuit between Fox and Warner Bros. regarding the Watchmen film has issued a ruling. The judge stated that Fox has a copyright stake in Zack Snyder’s action film, planned for release in March. “Fox owns a copyright interest consisting of, at the very least, the right to distribute the Watchmen motion picture,” U.S. District Court judge Gary Feess said.
The preliminary ruling is throwing off Warner Bros. plan to release the Legendary Pictures produced movie based on Alan Moore’s graphic novel serial about the band of superheroes in an alternate 1980s. Fox and Warner Bros. has been working on a January 20, 2009 trial date, but the ruling may force Warner Bros. to settle, most likely as a payment, in hopes that the film will make it to theaters.
Fox first developed the project, but passed, then Watchmen moved around before being picked up by Warner Bros. The trial was expected to land the two studios in a rare public showdown, which may be avoided if a settlement is agreed upon.