The superstudio showdown that pit Fox against Warners over a long-forgotten Watchmen rights claim discovered behind a potted ficus by an after-hours cleaning woman (who's since been upped VP Business Affairs) is finally over!
Terms of the agreement were not disclosed, but the deal is said to involve a sizable cash payment to Fox and a percentage of the film's boxoffice grosses; Fox will not be a co-distributor on the film, nor will it co-own the "Watchmen" property, but it will share in revenue derived from it. The studios released a joint statement last night.
For those keeping score at home, that makes Fox and Fanboys the winners, and Warners and producers Larry Gordon, Lloyd Levin et al. the losers. For nostalgic purposes, we offer you a timeline of the ugliest studio battle in recent history:
July 08: · The public gets its first look at Zack Snyder's vision with a trailer cobbled together with what footage was yet available. Billy Corgan's banshee wail will forever be the soundtrack to 4 million spontaneous fanboy erections.
Aug 08: · What was thought to be some petty inter-studio bickering is quickly upgraded to "the Cuban Missile Crisis of fanboydom." Fox does the unthinkable, and suggests they'd rather have an injunction than a payout. Gasp.
Oct 08: · Snyder continues to keep his head down and focus of getting his movie completed, which means making sometimes unpopular decisions. Eg. Cutting the Giant Psychic Squid ending, and airbrushing off Dr. Manhattan's blue wang.
Dec 08: · Judge Feess issues his ruling. Fox, already delighted with the performance of Marley & Me, declares it "The Best Fox Christmas Ever," allowing all employees one phone call to a loved one on Christmas Day.
· Glimmers of blue-wang light: THR points out that under "copyright law, a rightsholder still has to show, among other things, that it will be 'irreparably harmed' absent an injunction." Watchmen's opening day could be safe!
Jan 09: · Watchmen producer Lloyd Levin produces a stirring appeal to the heart in the form of an open letter, in which he recalls how Fox had considered the project "one of the most unintelligible pieces of shit they had read in years." Fox countered that the same could easily have been said of Marley & Me, which of course was a proud, profitable property.