Watchmen Update: Lawsuit is Ongoing, First 22 Minutes Seen

At this point, even if I hadn’t read Alan Moore’s comic book, I would already have known all there is to know about Zack Snyder’s upcoming “Watchmen”, including the ending. Not only because it’s such a hot commodity on the net and every site worth its hosting cost reports on every little tidbit about it, but because Snyder has been incredibly up front with the movie. I.e. he’s not hoarding all the little and big details the way these movie studios usually do with their big movies. Good for Snyder, but not so much if you want to keep a little bit of mystery when you head into the theaters. In any case, so what’s been up with “Watchmen” lately? Well for one, that damn FOX lawsuit is still ongoing, and looks like it’s going to keep going for a little while longer. Also, Snyder and company recently screened the first 22 minutes of “Watchmen” to a bunch of lucky bastards.

Variety has your Fox and Warner Bros. legal wrangling over the movie, which may or may not delay the film’s expected March 6, 2009 release date:

Judge Gary Allen Feess set the new trial date Monday, noting that he’s required to handle a criminal matter on Jan. 6. He also refused to make a pre-trial summary judgment — as requested by both sides — because, he said, the contracts between Fox and “Watchmen” producer Larry Gordon are so open to interpretation that a trial is required.

Warner Bros. has not backed off a release date of March 6 for “Watchmen,” directed by Zack Snyder and starring Patrick Wilson and Jackie Earle Haley.

Fox’s suit, filed in February, contends that it retains distribution rights to the graphic novel penned by Alan Moore and illustrated by Dave Gibbons. It asserts that Gordon’s option to acquire Fox’s remaining interest in “Watchmen” was never exercised, thereby leaving Fox with its rights under a 1994 turnaround agreement.

Warner Bros. has denied Fox’s assertions and contended Fox doesn’t hold the copyright.

Gah, Fox. As Robert De Niro’s character said to Sly Stallone in “Copland”: “You had your chance and you blew it!” Now stop it. JUST … STOP … IT.

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Meanwhile, in happier “Watchmen” news, CHUD, along with everyone else who was at Aint-it-cool-News.com’s recent Butt-a-Thon thingie over in Austin, saw the first 22 minutes of “Watchmen”. Here’s how CHUD describes it:

The pace of these scenes were deliberate but not slow; Snyder isn’t rushing the introductions of these characters. He’s playing it like a drama. Still, I wonder if this stuff will be this way in the finished film – 22 minutes just took us to page 13 of the first issue (although some of Rorschach’s voice over in the apartment search comes from his journal entries on page 14). Watching this footage helps you understand why the opening fight scene has been expanded – there’s no more real action for some time in the story, and Snyder needs a way to hook virginal viewers into this story, especially because the first half hour is going to be a lot of exposition and background material. Between the credits and Hollis telling his stories there’s a solid ten minutes of history; there’s more history slipped into the Dan/Rorschach conversation.

The film is packed with details. Every frame seems to have something that lends depth to the world or background to the characters; there were elements in the opening scene that I missed the first time around and only caught here. This is definitely a movie that will have a high replay value, both for the uninitiated and the hardcore fan.

They also have a blow-by-blow rundown of the scenes shown, so head over there to read it now if you are so inclined. Or if you’re like me, you’ll just wait to see the whole bloody thing in one sitting. That is, if it ever gets released. Fingers crossed!

Below: “That’s it, FOX, hold still…just like that…”>