On Wednesday, Newsarama reported on fans organizing online to demand a three-hour-plus run time for Zack Snyder’s adaptation of Watchmen.
However, there’s another Watchmen-related petition — this one following up on threats of a boycott of 20th Century Fox because of the studio’s lawsuit against Warner Bros. over who owns the film rights to the property.
Buoyed by a judge’s refusal last week to dismiss the complaint, Fox is playing hardball — for the moment, at least — with sources claiming the studio isn’t looking for compensation. Instead, it apparently wants to prevent the release of Watchmen because Warner Bros. never bought the rights from Fox, which claims to have acquired them sometime between 1986 and 1990.
Hollywood Insider’s Jeff Jensen dubs the rights kerfuffle as “perhaps the priciest whoopsie! in Hollywood history.”
But that’s all “nit-picky legalistic crap,” according to the “Boycott FOX for Watchmen Litigation” petition, which has racked up 979 names since it was started on Wednesday morning:
20th Century Fox is putting the Watchmen movie in jeopardy by suing Warner Bros. over copyright infringment. It’s over some nit-picky legalistic crap over who held the rights when it was purchased by WB. Obviously, since the movie is getting good hype now, Fox is just trying to cash in. Show Fox what you think by joining this petition.
Even before the petition began, a Fox had spokesman responded to questions about fan backlash: “Of course we are concerned about the fans; however, any disappointment from the core fans should not be directed toward Fox. What we are doing is seeking to enforce our distribution rights to Watchmen. Legal copyright ownership should not just be swept under the rug and ignored.”
It’s as if Fox saw that petition coming.
Yes, if you believe filmmaker (and sometimes-comics writer) Kevin Smith:
I saw Watchmen. It’s f***ing astounding. The Non-Disclosure Agreement I signed prevents me from saying much, but I can spout the following with complete joygasmic enthusiasm: Snyder and Co. have pulled it off.
Remember that feeling of watching Sin City on the big screen and being blown away by what a faithful translation of the source material it was, in terms of both content and visuals? Triple that, and you’ll come close to watching Watchmen. Even Alan Moore might be surprised at how close the movie is to the book. March can’t come soon enough.
As Jensen points out, “depending on how you felt about Sin City, Smith’s assessment may or may not strike you as impressive.”
Yet in light of the lawsuit, and Fox’s hard-line stance, will fans — and Alan Moore — ever find out whether Smith is right?
As we noted earlier this week, despite a Fox source claiming “there are some damages you never recover,” this is Hollywood: Everything is about money. How much is the question.
Some speculate Warner Bros. may have to shell out $25 million — only slightly more than the $17.5 million it had to pay in 2005 to clear up the rights to The Dukes of Hazzard. Surely, Watchmen is worth much more to the studio than Bo and Luke Duke, good ol’ boys or not.
Of course, considering Watchmen’s potential “an ancillary-media cash cow,” Jensen suggests Fox could get far more than $25 million if it were to become a profit participant.