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'Watchmen' trial set for Jan. 20

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Watchmen_l

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Remember that scene in Footloose, set to Bonnie Tyler’s ‘I Need A Hero,” where Kevin Bacon and some other guy each jump in tractors and start driving toward each other very slowly and from really far away in what just may be the most ridiculously great game of vehicular chicken ever staged for the silver screen? No? NO?! Oh, you sad, culturally impoverished soul! Please rectify that right now by clicking here.

Pretty awesome, huh?

Anyway, the current high-stakes legal war between Fox and Warner Bros. over rights to Watchmen kinda reminds me of that scene. Yesterday, the judge in this slooooow-burning, why-hasn’t-this-been-resolved-by-now? showdown decided to delay the trial from Jan. 6 to Jan. 20. More provocatively, the judge declined to grant the requests of both sides to issue a summary judgment — meaning that this increasingly high-stakes game of Hollywood chicken will result in the messy, juicy collision of a trial…or it won’t, because between now and Jan. 20, Warner Bros. and Fox will forge a settlement, which is most likely what the judge has been trying to not-so passive-aggressively facilitate all along.

Then again, what do we know? We barely understand how traffic court works.

To be clear, we here at EW don’t mean to sound so cavalier about

copyrights and intellectual property, despite our glib willingness to

chuck around YouTubed movie clips. (That’s legal, right?) Fox believes

that it possessed the right to distribute a movie based on the Watchmen

material, and that Warner Bros. didn’t properly acquire that right

before setting up director Zack Snyder with $100 million to make his

own Watchmen adaptation, which is still slated for release on March 6, 2009 release.

But the same reason we choose to be so snarky about this biz — and

why we steadfastly refuse to be sympathetic to anyone in this matter

except fans who are dying to see Snyder’s flick, despite the furious

desire of certain studio chiefs who desperately want the media to not

just explicate their positions but fight their fights for them — is

the same reason the judge has repeatedly refused to settle this tricky,

murky conflict himself: It’s really hard to know who’s in the right

here. If someone with a super-powered law brain like Mr. Watchmen

Judge can’t/won’t decide this matter without a trial, why should we,

with our smaller, sillier, comic book-addled brains, try to do the

same?

So until the day of clarity arrives, we will sit in the peanut

gallery. But we hope that justice prevails, that the wronged parties

(if any) get what they deserve — and that Watchmen is released, as scheduled, on Mach 6, 2009.

More Watchmen:


Kevin Smith says ‘Watchmen’ is astounding (insert ‘but’ here)


‘Watchmen’ to get its day in court


The ‘Watchmen’ war: Fanboys furious with Fox


‘Watchmen’ lawsuit roils Hollywood

To be clear, we here at EW don’t mean to sound so cavalier aboutcopyrights and intellectual property, despite our glib willingness tochuck around YouTubed movie clips. (That’s legal, right?) Fox believesthat it possessed the right to distribute a movie based on the Watchmenmaterial, and that Warner Bros. didn’t properly acquire that rightbefore setting up director Zack Snyder with $100 million to make hisown Watchmen adaptation, which is still slated for release on March 6, 2009 release.

But the same reason we choose to be so snarky about this biz — andwhy we steadfastly refuse to be sympathetic to anyone in this matterexcept fans who are dying to see Snyder’s flick, despite the furiousdesire of certain studio chiefs who desperately want the media to notjust explicate their positions but fight their fights for them — isthe same reason the judge has repeatedly refused to settle this tricky,murky conflict himself: It’s really hard to know who’s in the righthere. If someone with a super-powered law brain like Mr. WatchmenJudge can’t/won’t decide this matter without a trial, why should we,with our smaller, sillier, comic book-addled brains, try to do thesame?

So until the day of clarity arrives, we will sit in the peanutgallery. But we hope that justice prevails, that the wronged parties(if any) get what they deserve — and that Watchmen is released, as scheduled, on Mach 6, 2009.

More Watchmen:
Kevin Smith says ‘Watchmen’ is astounding (insert ‘but’ here)
‘Watchmen’ to get its day in court
The ‘Watchmen’ war: Fanboys furious with Fox
‘Watchmen’ lawsuit roils Hollywood

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