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Watchmen Settlement Nears

According to the L.A. Times, “those familiar with the deal making” currently underway between Fox and Warner Bros. have stated that the studios are “close” to reaching a settlement regarding the Watchmen lawsuit.

Recently, a federal judge ruled that Fox has distribution rights to the film, which is scheduled to be released by Warners on March 6.

Talks between the two parties got hot and heavy over the weekend, as the studios met behind closed doors Monday in Los Angeles federal court to discuss a settlement.

Nobody at Fox nor Warners would comment on these talks, which lasted 30 minutes in the chambers of Judge Gary Feess. Warners has also not pressed its earlier request to move up the Jan. 20 injunction hearing, which also seems to suggest that a settlement may be upon us.

Another good sign for a settlement being near was a report from New York Times blogger Michael Cieply who spotted Fox chairman Tom Rothman and Warner chief Alan Horn “smiling and back-patting” each other at Sunday’s Golden Globe Awards.

Also, the weekend saw a small but meaningful rollout of a Watchmen TV campaign, with spots airing on multiple networks, including on Fox’s season premiere of 24. Hurm.

The court fight over Watchmen is costing Warner Bros. and 20th Century Fox hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal fees, but the biggest loser of the ordeal may just end up being the film’s producer, Larry Gordon, his lawyers and their insurers, who could be on the hook for millions.

Court documents show that Warner Bros., which is likely to lose valuable rights to Watchmen after a Feess favorable ruling for Fox, is pursuing Gordon “for all damages Warner Bros. suffers as a result of Fox’s claims.”

It is not known if Gordon has initiated an insurance claim against the law firm that brokered his Watchmen deal with Warner Bros., but Gordon stated in a letter that the same lawyers may have made “a unilateral mistake” as part of an earlier deal involving the movie rights.

1.13.08 Source: L.A. Times, HollywoodReporter.com, The Carpetbagger

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