— if Fox has its way? A federal judge has denied Warner Bros.’ motion to dismiss 20th Century Fox’s current lawsuit against it, claiming that Fox still owns rights in the Watchmen project dating back to the 1990’s. And the release of “Watchmen” is presently scheduled for March ‘09.
This one could get very messy. (Side thought: did somebody at Warner neglect to sacrifice a goat to the Movie Gods this year? Or did the statute of limitations run out on that particular goat, maybe a few weeks after “The Dark Knight” premiered? They haven’t been having a very good month, what with one thing and another… ETA: Variety’s discussion of this situation suggests they haven’t had a very good six months.) But Nikki Finke suggests:
…The court is still contemplating Fox’s motion for an injunction. This is indeed a stunning development which could imperil Warner Bros’ entire 2009 movie slate. Sources point out to me that Warner Bros had a similar problem with the Dukes Of Hazzard movie before Judge Feess and had to pay tens of millions of dollars to release the film.
(wry look) And here’s an idle thought: You have to wonder if the angry prayers of hundreds of thousands of cranked-off Harry Potter fans have suddenly been half-answered. What does Warner do if it can’t release Watchmen in March ‘09? Well, how about plugging “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince” into the gap? March ‘09 wouldn’t be November ‘08, but it wouldn’t be July ‘09 either…