Who watches the Watchmen? Apparently 20th Century Fox does. Zach Snyder’s “Watchmen” has just gotten more interest — that is, if you didn’t think it was interesting already. Fox has launched a lawsuit against Warner Bros., seeking to stop the studio from releasing the still-unfinished big-screen movie version of the Alan Moore comic book series.
The Hollywood Reporter has the full skinny:
Fox claims that between 1986 and 1990, it acquired all movie rights to the 12-issue DC Comics series and screenplays by Charles McKeown and Sam Hamm. In 1991, Fox assigned some rights via a quitclaim to Largo International with the understanding that the studio held exclusive rights to distribute the first motion picture based on “Watchmen,” according to the lawsuit.
When Largo dismantled, the rights were transferred to producer Lawrence Gordon. Under a “turnaround agreement” between Fox and Gordon, the producer agreed to pay a buy-out price to Fox if he entered into any agreement with another studio or third party to develop or produce “Watchmen,” among other things.
The project apparently bounced around to Universal and Paramount before returning to Warners. Now, Fox claims that neither Gordon nor Warners has paid the buy-out price or advised the studio of any other conditions required under the agreement, including procedures necessary to acquire the rights to “Watchmen” from Fox.
I’m guessing Warner will pay Fox off if the price is right. If not, 2008 won’t be the year of the Watchmen…