3RD UPDATE: Lawyers for both Fox and Warner Bros asked federal judge Gary Feess today to delay an upcoming hearing in the Watchmen case because “settlement talks have been productive” and need to continue over the weekend. The special conference had been requested by WB attorneys in order to move up the January 20th date at which Judge Feess hands down his ruling that could change the release date of Watchmen off March 6th. The judge granted the postponement but is sticking, for now, to his January 20th date. According to court documents, Fox and Warner Bros have conducted the settlement talks since last weekend and made concessions. This is surprising since WB lawyers announced they would continue to fight immediately after Feess announced his intention to rule in favor of Fox for copyight infringement and distribution rights.
2ND UPDATE: I can confirm that backchannel talks are finally underway between Fox and Warner Bros. Insiders tell me that this is the first time both sides are trying to hash out a settlement. Of course, Fox has been complaining all along that its approaches to WB have been rebuffed since long before the movie was even made. But I also heard that WB wouldn’t even engage after federal judge Gary Feess recently announced his intention to rule in Fox’s favor on the copyright infringement and distribution angle. Now, sources tell me, “Warner Bros is finally freaked out.”
UPDATE: Fox has officially responded to Watchmen producer Lloyd Levin’s open letter about the case against Warner Bros:
“We appreciate Mr. Levin’s passion for this project, but he has neglected basic facts and legal rulings. First, Fox notified Warner Bros of our rights in this project months before production on the film began — they chose to ignore our rights on this occasion and several times after that and proceeded at their own risk; 2) only after having our rights in the film deliberately ignored by Warner Bros. did we take the action of filing litigation in order to have those rights recognized; and 3) on Judge Feess’ Christmas Eve order, he specifically ruled that WB had been timely notified and that Fox, in fact, had the rights we asserted. There is no question of who is right and who is wrong. That has been decided through the litigation that we had hoped to avoid, and we refer interested parties to the court’s ruling to confirm these statements.”
This Watchmen mano a mano just keeps getting better and better. Every day, we’re one step closer to a Tom Rothman vs Alan Horn cage match. Now federal judge Gary Feess is supposed to tell Fox and Warner Bros attorneys whether or not he’ll move up that January 20th hearing regarding an injunction to prevent Watchmen‘s release on March 6th. Remember, the judge told us he’s already decided that Fox has distribution rights to the pic because of copyright infringement. This week, Warner Bros asked for a quicker January 12th hearing because “time is critical”. Like, duh. Oh, and get this: Larry Gordon has finally piped up by firing off a whiny letter to the court. I’m not sure which is more hilarious — Larry breaking public silence and feigning righteous indignation, or Larry blaming Fox and his former lawyers Bloom Dekom for the past confusion and current mess, or Larry thinking anybody in their right mind would believe anything he says at this late date. Put a fork in Gordon: he’s done in Hollywood.
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