On the heels of Nikki Finke's scoop that the 20th Century Fox vs Warner Bros 'Watchmen' battle would continue, comes a report from Variety that reveals the situation for the film may be more dire than what we reported yesterday.
To recap: on Friday U.S. District Court Judge Gary Allen Feess found that Fox's assertion (that it holds some claim on the film rights of the graphic novel) is valid and refused to throw the claim out of court. This paves the way for Fox to seek an injunction against Warner Bros preventing the release of the film, which is planned for March 2009.
We speculated that Fox was likely seeking a settlement and the ruling and subsequent court proceedings would give them leverage over Warner Bros, who is beyond the point of no return with the film.
However, Variety's report says that Fox may not be willing to settle and may aggressively persue that injunction.
Fox issued a statement that reads:
Warner Bros.’ production and anticipated release of ‘The Watchmen’ motion picture violates 20th Century Fox’s long-standing motion picture rights in ‘The Watchmen’ [sic] property.
We will be asking the court to enforce Fox’s copyright interests in ‘The Watchmen’ [sic] and enjoin the release of the Warner Bros. film and any related ‘Watchmen’ media that violate our copyright interests in that property.
In addition, Variety also cites an unnamed source "close to the litigation" who claims that Fox, who invested a reported $1 million in the project, will not be settling the case.
"When you have copyright infringement, there are some damages you never recover," said the source.
It's hard to believe that the 'Watchmen' movie and its spin-off movies (the 'Black Freighter' animated film and the 'Under The Hood' faux documentary, not to mention the currently released "motion comic") will be put on mothballs. Today that seems like a possible outcome.