White flag! Warring studios Fox and Warners have released a statement:

“Warner Bros. and Twentieth Century Fox have resolved their dispute regarding the rights to the upcoming motion picture Watchmen in a confidential settlement. Warner Bros acknowledges that Fox acted in good faith in bringing its claims, which were asserted prior to the start of principal photography. Fox acknowledges that Warner Bros. acted in good faith in defending against those claims. Warner Bros. and Fox, like all Watchmen fans, look forward with great anticipation to this film’s March 6 release in theatres.”

Nikki Finke has juicy details:

The deal is finally done, and Warner Bros’ Watchmen won’t be held hostage. I’m hearing that in the settlement, Fox will not be an active distributor of the pic but will receive up to 8 1/2% gross participation in the pic and a piece of everything going forward including a sequel or spinoff, and a cash payment upfront including recoupment of its development costs and attorney fees, and god-only-knows what else. Because neither Fox nor Warner Bros would comment on the terms of the deal.

Sequels and spinoffs? Would that be the prequel domestic sitcom “Julie and Manhattan” about a wacky couple that must share the same atoms? Anyway, the parties will be meeting in the judge’s office tomorrow to tell him that everyone has kissed, made up, and forked over a lot of cash.

Jeff Trexler has more, including some speculation on what would happen if Warners decides to go after producer Larry Gordon.

UPDATE: Variety has even more purported details of the ‘secret’ settlement:

Fox, on the other hand, will emerge with an upfront cash payment that sources pegged between $5 million and $10 million, covering reimbursement of $1.4 million the studio invested in development fees, and also millions of dollars in legal fees incurred during the case. More importantly, Fox will get a gross participation in “Watchmen” that scales between 5% and 8.5%, depending on the film’s worldwide revenues. Fox also participates as a gross player in any sequels and spinoffs, sources said.


  1. Very disappointing. A lengthy legal battle accompanied by all the prerequisite nerd outrage probably would have been far more entertaining to me than the actual movie.

  2. Look at this as a bit of good news: If Warners needs to give Fox a cut of any crazy sequel they may have been concocting, maybe this will discourage Warners from making one at all.

  3. Prequels and sequels all depend on box office of the first film, but considering there’s not much else to look forward to in March, I’d say a huge box office is all but guaranteed.

    And at the risk of committing heresy against the sacred original source material, it’s not as though there isn’t enough subject matter to mine for such projects. You have the Minutemen, the Comedian, Rorschach, Dr. Manhattan — all of which could be explored further.

    The only question would be if you could make a second WATCHMEN film that was as good as the first, but anyone who has seen THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK, SPIDER-MAN 2, THE GODFATHER PART II or THE DARK KNIGHT knows it’s certainly possible.

  4. Yeaaaahhhhhh, I am excited for Watchmen movie not being delayed. I just read the GN. It was good. I just hope it translates into a good movie.

  5. So much for some fans’ hopes that the kerfluffle would result in a release of the 60s BATMAN. A settlement of that longstanding dispute might’ve proved more significant than the release of the Watchmen flick.

  6. There is already at least one Watchmen spinoff video/movie being produced in the form of the “Tales of the Black Freighter” DVD.

  7. “Hopefully the movie will be good, because that would be a ton of money used up for a flop.”

    See, Wilson, I had the exact opposite reaction. Then again, I enjoy train wrecks. (Hey, speaking of Fox…)

  8. Gene, I’m waiting to hear a Fox exec scream about the Batman TV show:


    Cause if its not part of the deal, they certainly did not.