Yesterday it was Tolkein vs New Line, today its 20th Century Fox vs. Warner Bros. I’m starting to think Hollywood sues each other just for the hell of it now. The reason for this lawsuit is the rights to upcoming Watchmen staring Patrick Wilson, Jackie Earle Haley, Matthew Goode and directed by 300’s Zack Snyder.
Fox seeks to enjoin Warners from going forward with Watchmen, saying in the lawsuit that it seeks to “restrain (Warner Bros. Pictures) from taking actions that violate Fox’s copyrights and which stand to forever impair Fox’s rights to control the distribution and development of this unique work.”
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 blame Fox. Its their own fault for having the rights for years and not doing anything with them, then after filming has taken place and post production is underway, they want a lawsuit. Keep track of your property!