Watchmen Will Be Watched

LOS ANGELES (AP) - The superhero film "Watchmen" will be
watched by audiences after all - and on time.
Warner Bros. and 20th Century Fox settled their nearly yearlong
dispute over the movie on Thursday, the studios announced in a
joint statement.
The movie will open in theaters as planned on March 6, the
statement said. The exact terms of the agreement were not disclosed
and will remain confidential.
The release date had been in doubt for months as each studio's
attorneys grappled for an upper hand. Fox contended that Warner
Bros. shot the film knowing that it didn't have all the adequate
rights; Warner Bros. countered that Fox had lost its rights in the
graphic novel and was owed nothing more than a right of first
At stake was a movie that has stoked the excitement of
"Watchmen" fans and that Warner Bros. claims cost it $150 million
to film and market.
Until recently, the studios appeared to be in a stalemate as
protracted as the Cold War backdrop of the film's source material.
But a Christmas Eve ruling by U.S. District Judge Gary Allen Feess
found that Fox did have at least a distribution stake in the film.
Within days of that ruling, Warner Bros. and Fox were in serious
settlement negotiations.
Attorneys were scheduled to update Feess on the settlement
Friday morning.
While the studios agreed on little throughout the case, the
statement released Thursday sought to end months of acrimony.
"Warner Bros. and Fox, like all 'Watchmen' fans, look forward
with great anticipation to this film's March 6 release in
theaters," the statement said.
As part of the agreement, both sides acknowledged the others
were acting in "good faith," although Warner Bros. conceded Fox
notified it of its rights before filming began.
Fox acquired movie rights to "Watchmen," a graphic novel by
Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons, in the 1980s.
The project has had a tortured course to the big screen, with
Warner Bros. having to resolve issues with other studios that had
considered making the film.
The various agreements led Feess to declare during one hearing
that the case was "very complex, convoluted."
The same could be said for "Watchmen," which features a
complex story line set in an alternate-history United States and
characters with names such as Rorschach and Ozymandias.
"Watchmen" has generated considerable buzz, in part because of
the threat that the film's release would be delayed or blocked. But
the attention is also because its director, Zack Snyder, helped
turn another graphic novel, "300," into a blockbuster.

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