Fox claims that between 1986 and 1990, it acquired all movie rights to the 12-issue DC Comics series and screenplays by Charles McKeown and Sam Hamm. In 1991, Fox assigned some rights via a quitclaim to Largo International with the understanding that the studio held exclusive rights to distribute the first motion picture based on “Watchmen,” according to the lawsuit.
When Largo dismantled, the rights were transferred to producer Lawrence Gordon. Under a “turnaround agreement” between Fox and Gordon, the producer agreed to pay a buy-out price to Fox if he entered into any agreement with another studio or third party to develop or produce “Watchmen,” among other things.
The project apparently bounced around to Universal and Paramount before returning to Warners. Now, Fox claims that neither Gordon nor Warners has paid the buy-out price or advised the studio of any other conditions required under the agreement, including procedures necessary to acquire the rights to “Watchmen” from Fox.
If you canfollow all that you should get a job as an agent for sure. ICv2 has some good analysis”
Typically these sorts of rights disputes between studios are settled before any suits are filed and usually before a film goes into production (remember how rights disputes held up the production of decent Spider-Man movie for years), but perhaps Fox feels that it has Warners over a barrel with the fate of a potentially lucrative superhero film at stake.