The legal wrangling over “Watchmen” continues.
Variety reports that both 20th Century Fox and Warner Bros. have decided to forego a jury trial in their dispute over distribution rights to the Zack Snyder directed film. A federal judge will now decide the case on Jan. 20.
US District Court Judge Gary Allen Feess brokered the agreement with both studios after ruling on Dec. 24 that Fox owns the distribution rights to “Watchmen.” At the time he advised both studios to reach a settlement or appeal the ruling.
Warner Bros. has not wavered from its plans to release the anticipated picture on March 6. Based on the acclaimed graphic novel by Alan Moore, the film stars Patrick Wilson, Jackie Earle Haley and Billy Crudup among others.
Fox filed suit last February claiming it retained distribution rights and that producer Lawrence Gordon’s option to acquire the remaining interest in “Watchmen” was never exercised, thereby leaving Fox with its rights under a 1994 turnaround agreement. Warner Bros., the third studio behind Universal Studios and Paramount Pictures to develop the project since Fox, steadfastly disagrees.
As for the fans that have anxiously awaited a big screen version of “Watchmen” since its debut, they can take solace that a resolution to the issue, and more importantly the film’s eventual release date, should occur later this month.