Watching the ‘Watchmen’ – A Quick Roundup Of This Week’s Legal Shenanigans

Despite the numerous announcements this week regarding “Kick-Ass,” “Sleeper,” and a bevy of other comic properties making the jump from monthlies to movies, clearly one of the biggest stories around the internet continues to be the legal trials and tribulations surrounding “Watchmen,” and the ongoing battle between 20th Century Fox and Warner Bros.

On Monday, news broke that a federal judge had allowed a long-standing suit filed by Fox over the rights to produce a film based on Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons’ “Watchmen” could proceed to trial. Mass hysteria swept the blogs and message boards, as rumors of a delayed premiere — or worse, no premiere at all — popped-up on just about every comic and movie website out there.

Since then, cooler heads — and those with better understandings of these types of legal situations — have prevailed, but that clearly didn’t stop fans from choosing sides in the upcoming courtroom drama.

As has been reported, the lawsuit will most likely not delay the release of “Watchmen,” and certainly won’t cancel the film altogether. After all, this isn’t unfamiliar territory for Warner Bros., having been down this road before with 2005’s “Dukes of Hazard” film. Sure, they’ll likely have to pay a hefty sum to Fox since, on the surface, the case seems cut and dry (in layman’s terms, Warner Bros. never actually acquired the rights from Fox to produce a “Watchmen” film), but as far as any sort of delay, it’s very unlikely.

Meanwhile, comic fans — never shy to hide their opinions on matters such as these — have started grass-roots organizations to show their displeasure over Fox’s recent actions. Some fans not only suggested a boycott of Fox’s upcoming films — namely “The Day the Earth Stood Still” and “X-Men Origins: Wolverine” — but also pirate copies of “Wolverine” to further try and hit Fox where they hurt. There was even an online petition started, which accuses Fox of trying to “cash in” on what’s sure to be at least one of the biggest films next year.

While this story seems to only be beginning to heat up and there’s bound to be more news as we get closer to the film’s highly anticipated premiere, one thing is clear — advance word on the film is that it more than respects Moore and Gibbons’ original vision. Gibbons recently gave it his own stamp of approval, and fan favorite writer/director Kevin Smith has gone on record saying, “It’s f***ing astounding,” and that Watchmen director Zack Snyder had “pulled it off.”

What are your thoughts on the week in ’Watchmen’ news? Are the legal woes taking away from the excitement, or do the ringing endorsements of Gibbons and Smith music to your ears? Sound off in the comments.