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Watchmen

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Release Date: March 6, 2009 (North America)

Genres: Comic Book, Drama, Science Fiction          MPAA Rating: R

Production Phase: Released

Studio: Warner Bros.   Production Company: Legendary Pictures

Who's In It: Billy Crudup (Jon Osterman / Dr. Manhattan), Jackie Earle Haley (Walter Kovacs/Rorschach), Patrick Wilson (Dan Dreiberg/Nite Owl II), Malin Akerman (Laurie Juspeczyk/Silk Spectre II), Matthew Goode (Adrian Veidt/Ozymandias)

Who's Making It: Zack Snyder (Director), David Hayter (Screenwriter), Alex Tse (Screenwriter), Deborah Snyder (Producer), Lawrence Gordon (Producer)

Premise: In an alternate 1985 Richard Nixon is serving his fifth term as the American President, the most powerful being in the world is a blue-skinned man named Dr. Manhattan and the world stands poised on... More »

Official Website: www.watchmenmovie.com

What We Think: The most critically acclaimed comic book ever, fans have dreamed of a Watchmen movie while also living in fear of it. Can the graphic novel's deep, multi-layered storyline be successfully adapted to film? Will mainstream... More »

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Sunday, September 21, 2008

Last month's shocking revelation that 20th Century Fox had gone ahead and filed a lawsuit seeking to block the March 2009 release of Watchmen by Warner Bros. set off a tsunami wave of speculation amongst fans of the property as well as those that follow show business news. After Judge Feess ruled that Fox had a case and set the trial commencement date to start in January '09 there has been very little to report about the case.

That changed last Friday when The New York Times published an article summizing what's happened to date with the Watchmen lawsuit. In the course of the story the paper noted that it had asked both 20th Century Fox and Warner Bros. representatives to comment on the matter but both studios declined the opportunity. So did Lawrence Gordon, the producer who is at the heart of the lawsuit over allegations by Fox that he did not have the legal right to shop Watchmen around Hollywood because the movie studio had not released its interest in the property. However, the Times did get the opinions of several individuals who work on both sides of the fence on the condition that their identities remain anonymous. What these insiders had to say may indicate what direction the lawsuit may take.

One individual told the Times that the turnaround paperwork from Fox's 1994 agreement to the Watchmen property didn't wind up in the documents that Universal Pictures' legal department had when that studio expressed their interest in making the movie in 2006. If that is indeed the case it's entirely feasible that when the Watchmen movie was shopped to Warner Bros. their legal department also didn't uncover any evidence of Fox having a legal loophole because, for all intents and purposes, none was believed to exist.

Furthermore the paper also states that Fox's legal department sent Warner Bros. a letter shortly after the July 2007 San Diego Comic Convention informing them that they had the rights to the property, just as the cast for Watchmen was being revealed.

And while Gordon is not listed as a defendant in Fox's lawsuit, the Times was informed by Warner Bros. that "Mr. Gordon is ultimately responsible for the validity of his claimed rights to the project. If Warner does not prevail in court, or chooses to settle, the producer could be pressed to cover any losses."

- The New York Times. Comment on this Scoop (0)
Monday, August 18, 2008

Judge Gary Allen Feess has ruled that 20th Century Fox may have a claim of ownership for the Watchmen movie and has dismissed Warner Bros. request to have Fox's lawsuit thrown out of court. This opens the door for Fox to pursue its claims that it still owns the movie rights for the property. And in what may be the most surprising twist in this story, according to Variety, Fox's legal department doesn't want to have a share in the revenue that will be generated by the movie - instead the rival studio seeks to block Warner Bros. from ever releasing the movie at all.

Feess ruled that Fox's paperwork seems to support the company's claims that it retained the distribution rights to Watchmen as stipulated in a 1991 contract. Furthermore, Feess looked at the paperwork when the project went into turnaround back in 1994. Under the rules of the '94 contract, producer Larry Gordon had the option to purchase Fox's interest in Watchmen but appears to not have done so, which would mean that the rights are still owned by Fox after all these years.

Shortly after the decision, 20th century Fox released a statement about the results. "Warner Bros.’ production and anticipated release of The Watchmen motion picture violates 20th Century Fox’s long-standing motion picture rights in The Watchmen property," read the release (which incorrectly reported the title of the project as "The Watchmen" instead of simply Watchmen.) "We will be asking the court to enforce Fox’s copyright interests in The Watchmen and enjoin the release of the Warner Bros. film and any related Watchmen media that violate our copyright interests in that property."

Warners also released its own statement. "It is our company’s policy not to comment on pending litigation and thus will not comment on the specifics of this case. That said, the court’s ruling simply means that the parties will engage in discovery and proceed with the litigation. The judge did not opine at all on the merits other than to conclude that Fox satisfied the pleading requirements. We respectfully disagree with Fox’s position and do not believe they have any rights in and to this project."

Fox filed the lawsuit in February. Curiously, the studio did not choose to pursue the claim when the project was in development at Paramount several years back.

- Variety. Comment on this Scoop (0)
Friday, August 15, 2008

For the rest of the world (which includes ourselves too) we still have seven months to go until we can see what Zack Snyder has up his sleeve with his Watchmen movie. Not so for a gentleman called Kevin Smith, the director of the upcoming Zack and Miri Make a Porno as well as Clerks, Chasing Amy and Dogma. Somehow, someway, Smith got a chance to see a version of Snyder's Watchmen and then blogged about it on his MySpace page. So what was Silent Bob's verdict?

"I saw Watchmen. It’s f---ing astounding. The Non-Disclosure Agreement I signed prevents me from saying much, but I can spout the following with complete joygasmic enthusiasm: Snyder and Co. have pulled it off. Remember that feeling of watching Sin City on the big screen and being blown away by what a faithful translation of the source material it was, in terms of both content and visuals? Triple that, and you’ll come close to watching Watchmen."

- MySpace. Comment on this Scoop (0)
Saturday, July 26, 2008

While interviewing Zack Snyder at SDCC08, the Watchmen director told CHUD the premise of at least one of the forthcoming downloadable games where players can assume the roles of Rorschach and Nite Owl in their crimefighting days during the 1970s: it involves the Comedian assassinating Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward during a lecture that they are giving in New York City.

Since Watchmen takes place in an alternate history where Richard Nixon remains president in 1985, it seems safe to assume that the Watergate scandal never got reported and this could be the reason why. Snyder also said that he decided to write the story when it seemed as if the game's creative direction was being stifled. "The first thing I said is that it can't have anything to do with the book," Snyder told the site. "There can't be any sequences from it, but there can be ideas."

The downloadable Watchmen games will be released for PCs, PS3 and Xbox 360 consoles shortly before the release of the film.

- CHUD. Comment on this Scoop (0)
Thursday, July 24, 2008

Now that you've seen the Watchmen trailer and have been dazzled by it, are you looking for someone to explain what it is that you saw? Those not as familiar with the source material as others now have a primer on what was seen in the trailer by way of an article that provides a detailed visual breakdown of the trailer's imagery.

- Rotten Tomatoes. Comment on this Scoop (0)
Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Two Watchmen video games are being developed and will be released next year. The first one to arrive will be available for download via PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 and PC consoles and is being developed by a Danish company called Deadline Games. The second, of which no details were available, is slated to come out closer to the DVD release of the film.

MTV got the chance to see the first game in action at a closed doors preview session at E3. Set in the 1970s, players will be able to select either from Rorscharch or Nite Owl. Single-player and two player co-op will be supported. Len Wein, the editor of the original Watchmen comic book series, is writing the storyline for the episodic game.

"The developers have tried to give Nite Owl and Rorschach distinctive fighting styles and mannerisms," wrote MTV reporter Stephen Totilo. One example: Rorschach skulked around part of a level with his hands stuffed in his trench-coat pockets. Nite Owl moved more like a hero. The story will be told between combat scenes, though in what manner is still being kept secret." Other characters from the Watchmen universe may also appear in the game as NPCs.

- Variety, MTV. Comment on this Scoop (0)
Friday, July 11, 2008

The Watchmen trailer has finally arrived. If you didn't catch a midnight screening of The Dark Knight then go visit the Apple site where you can download and watch the trailer in a variety of sizes. And if you are wondering what the song is playing over the trailer it's a remix of the Smashing Pumpkins song "The Beginning is the End of the Beginning". And if you really like your geeky superhero trivia, you also need to know that the Pumpkins song first appeared on the soundtrack for another Warner Bros. superhero movie a decade ago: Batman and Robin.

- Apple. Comment on this Scoop (0)
Tuesday, July 8, 2008

For all of you that have been waiting to see what Dr. Manhattan will look like, here's some good news: the trailer for Watchmen will be attached to all prints of The Dark Knight.

- Coming Soon. Comment on this Scoop (0)
Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Aint It Cool News has your exclusive first look at a wonderful photo showing the Minutemen assembled in 1940. These eight costumed heroes served as the inspiration for subsequent crimefighters in the Watchmen version of modern history. Pictured in the black-and-white photo are The Silhouette, Mothman, Dollar Bill, the first Nite Owl, Captain Metropolis, the Comedian, the first Silk Spectre and Hooded Justice.

For such an incidental item the Minutemen photo looks spectacular, with the characters' costumes wonderfully detailed.

- Ain't It Cool News. Comment on this Scoop (0)
Monday, May 26, 2008

After much speculation whether any material from the "Tales of the Black Freighter" comic book story within the pages of the Watchmen comic itself would survive the transition to the silver screen, Warner Bros. has confirmed that the story will also be translated to film. However, it won't be appearing in the movie; instead, "Black Freighter" will be released as an animated direct-to-DVD feature five days after the theatrical release of the Watchmen film. Also included on the DVD will be the mock documentary "Under the Hood" which Watchmen fans will know is the autobiographical book written by the first man to wear the Nite Owl costume, Hollis Mason.

In an interview with The New York Times, director Zack Snyder said that his original idea was to adapt "Black Freighter" as a live-action story-within-the-film and done with extensive use of greenscreen as he did with 300. However, after Snyder budgeted out the concept the live action "Black Freighter" concept approached the hefty price tag of nearly $20. Warner Bros. insisted that if the "Black Freighter" material was to be adapted it would have to be done for a much smaller cost.

"I thought the ‘Black Freighter’ story would never see the light of day,” Snyder told the paper. “The main picture is nearing three hours long and I know I have a fight on my hands just with that."

He anticipates that after the first DVD release of Watchmen Warner Bros. will want to assemble all of the material into a collector's edition DVD package which would include the "Black Freighter" and "Under the Hood" content as well as a dozen 22- to 26-minute long webisodes dubbed "The Watchmen Motion Comic". The studio plans on releasing these webisodes, which will feature actors from the movie narrating a slide show of panels from the original comic book, closer to the film's March 2008 release.

- The New York Times. Comment on this Scoop (0)
Tuesday, April 15, 2008

DC Direct will release a line of Watchmen action figures in January 2009. The company has at least four figures in the development pipeline with each hero's look modeled after the way that they look in the movie. The prototypes will be on display to the public this coming weekend at the New York Comic Con.

- Entertainment Weekly Comment on this Scoop (0)
Thursday, March 6, 2008

In a new entry on the film's production blog, Zack Snyder notes that it is precisely one year until the release of Watchmen in theaters. "Being a fan that follows production blogs, I know that the time a film is in post can often seem like an eternity with interesting bits of information few and far between. So to help pass the time, here is your first look at some of the Watchmen characters."

That's right, now we all get to see what the movie versions of The Comedian, Nite Owl, Ozymandias, Rorscharch and Silk Spectre II look like in five atmospheric shots showing the characters in their costumes.

- Watchmen production blog. Comment on this Scoop (0)
Thursday, February 28, 2008

300 star Gerard Butler has confirmed to Empire magazine that he will be providing the voice to the main character in the "Tales of the Black Freighter" animated feature. "I’m going to do the voice of the captain," Butler said to the mag. "They’re going to do it in the style of a Japanese anime and I’m totally stoked."

Unfortunately there was no word given on where we'll get to see Butler's pirate tale, if it will be included in the film or as bonus material on a forthcoming DVD release.

- Empire. Comment on this Scoop (0)
Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Today marks the final day of filming for the Watchmen movie and Zack Snyder has made a new announcement on the film's official blog. "I promise to refrain from getting too sentimental, but I want to take a moment to say thanks to the Watchmen cast & crew. You have all been phenomenal. It has been quite an experience and I could not have done it without the hard work and determination of each and every one of you," Snyder writes -- and there's a new still to see on the site.

- Watchmen production blog. Comment on this Scoop (0)
Friday, February 15, 2008

"I think back to January 2007 when I first met Zack and he walked me through his drawings for the title sequence. I remember my initial reaction was, How can we shoot all of it? Why do we have to shoot all that? And if we do, how do we shoot all of it?" Those are the words of Watchmen executive producer Herb Gains from the latest posting on the production blog.

"I now sit in my Vancouver hotel room one year later, and guess what? We did shoot all of it -- every frame of it, and not just the title sequence drawings but all of Zack's drawings are now committed to film. The combination of modern-day technology and the level of artistic ability of so many people has made the Watchmen experience second to none."

A photo of Gains sitting with director Zack Snyder on the set can also be viewed on the site.

- Watchmen production blog. Comment on this Scoop (0)


 

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Jakester

Has anyone checked out the Watchmen Saturday Morning Cartoon opening posted on youtube?

Morpheus

Posting my review in the Lounge as we speak ...

Jimzip

So... excited... Jimzip :D

The Swollen Goiter of God

I'm guessing it was made by folks involved with the movie, but won't be in the movie.

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