C'mon Hollywood #177

... don’t let the legal troubles delay WATCHMEN!
by Sturdy

Studios spend so much time fighting with agencies, stars and especially their fans, that it’s rare that two studios would ever fight each other, other than at the box-office. But that’ exactly what’s going on between between Fox and Warner Brothers over WATCHMEN. Normally, I’d just sit back and laugh at the proceedings, but the fallout from this confusing and seemingly unnecessary fight could be detrimental to movie fans everywhere.

It looks great, but don’t delay its release!

At the heart of the feud is Largo Entertainment producer Larry Gordon, who seems to have negotiated a couple of deals with the two studios to sell the rights to the Watchmen. Interestingly enough, this is not the first time rights to a particular book or franchise have been sold more than once. In fact, it happened with MISS PETTIGREW LIVES FOR A DAY when it was recently discovered that the book’s author, Winifred Watson, sold the rights a couple of times during and after World War II. The difference, of course, is that fans didn’t line up for the Pettigrew premiere like they surely will be for WATCHMEN. But typically, legal problems delay a film from ever being made (like with SPIDER-MAN), not from being released after it's already finished.

Snyder has a great way of making movies.

When you take a deeper look at the problem, the contract in question is the “turnaround notice” that Fox had agreed to with Gordon. This basically stipulates that if you can manage to get funding from someone else before we can, then here’s the parameters to buy the rights. When I learned about this practice, I had to ask myself how many writers out there have been screwed by this clause. Sure, a film like WATCHMEN, that has a proven director and a great following, can plow through a legal clause like that, but what about all those little films that studios hold onto and bury in the ground just so other studios don’t make them? It sounds like bad news to me and hopefully this experience will warn other rights holders out there to be very careful about who they sell their material to.

300 was great, but imagine what Snyder could do if he had a story.

I really want to jump out and start slamming Fox for being a typical, money-hungry corporation that only cares about the bottom line, but that wouldn’t be entirely fair to them. In their defense, they at one time had the rights to the WATCHMEN and according to them, those rights still belong to them. With the hype of the WATCHMEN reaching new levels and the film being all but a guaranteed success, it behooves Fox to try to protect themselves financially. But I do have questions for Fox. Like, where were you when WB was pouring $140 million into the project? Where were you when Gordon was jumping through hoops trying to get the film made? Why didn’t you make the movie yourself? Fox has a lot of explaining to do before we can let them off the hook completely.

But the point of all of this is for the studios to work this out and release the film on schedule. From the previews, Snyder has done amazing things with the characters and story and fans deserve to see that come to fruition. Plus, the longer the film gets delayed, the more the buzz will drop. When you pour $140 million into something, it’s probably a good idea to capture all the buzz you can, as quickly as you can. Don’t let this turn into another “what could have been” story.

Source: Joblo.com
Tags: Hollywood



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