By now we've heard so much on the ongoing legal battle between 20th Century Fox and Warner Bros. over the rights to "Watchmen" that any one of us could pass the bar as qualified entertainment lawyers. And while each side makes a solid case, fans have been left waiting for the final verdict (set to be delivered by U.S. District Judge Gary A. Feess on January 20) on whether the film will hit theaters on March 6 as Warner Bros. had planned, or if it will be delayed indefinitely (should Fox win the verdict).
For those of us who have been anxiously awaiting the film's debut in theaters and following the almost-daily reports regarding the case, the overall sentiment regarding all of this is best summed up by "Watchmen" star, Malin Akerman (Silk Spectre).
"You know, sh-- happens," Akerman told MTV News at the People's Choice Awards — the first time a castmember has spoken out since Fox won a preliminary injunction against Warners. "It is what it is. As long as the film gets released and people get to see the work that we've done, that we're so proud of, I think everyone will be happy. I'm not so sure the studios feel the same way."
If you need a relatively quick, layman's terms catch-up on the events surrounding "Watchmen" thus far, here you go: The rights to what comic book fans consider to be the greatest (and all-time bestselling) graphic novel ever published have been mired in legal troubles dating as far back as the late '80s, when the original series was first published by DC Comics. Initially, Fox had picked up the rights for producer Larry Gordon, but after the project stalled under Fox, Gordon began looking for a new studio. "Watchmen" landed first at Universal, and then Paramount (both of which have been pulled into the legal mess as well).
After numerous starts and stops, "Watchmen" finally arrived at Warner Bros. (the most obvious choice considering they also own DC Comics), and production began in 2007 with a reported budget of $150 million. Naturally, it was at this point that Fox stepped back into the picture, saying that Gordon never exercised his option to acquire its remaining interest in "Watchmen," thus leaving distribution rights with the studio.
... That brings us to the latest developments. After a Christmas Eve verdict by Judge Feess stating that Fox did indeed control the rights to "Watchmen" — and therefore leaving it up to lawyers for both sides to negotiate if the film should proceed with its planned March 6 release date — a report released yesterday stated that Fox and Warners are now leaving it up to Feess (and not a jury, as had been the original case) to decide whether or not the film should be delayed.
Which, in turn, brings us back to Akerman who, like the fans, has been left on the outside looking in, wondering when this film — which many have been waiting to see hit the multiplex for literally decades now — will finally be shown.
"I don't know exactly what happened. There was something that was overlooked, unfortunately, so now they just have to fix it. It wasn't an easy task to begin with, so it couldn't be that easy to release it either," Akerman said with a laugh.
"We will get over it, and it'll come and hopefully, it'll be everything that people have hoped for."
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