After all the fuss about who owns what and getting lawyers out of bed in the morning, WB and Fox have settled their conflict over the ownership of rights to Watchmen.
WB had to admit that Fox did everything they should have before the film went into production, and in kind Fox has recognized that WB wasn’t just being big pricks about the whole thing since they were certain they did everything they should have. Unfortunately someone forgot to cross a T and the rights were never fully transfered back to WB who owned the whole thing to begin with.
Despite Fox looking like the badguy for attempting to delay the film, they did what was right and Warner Brothers has come to an agreement. The details of this agreement have started to come out, and this is what we know so far: ScreenRant offers up:
So far, we know that the lawsuit will reward Fox with the following:
* Gross participation between 5% and 8.5%, depending on Watchmen’s overall performance at the box office.
* Future gross participation rights to any future Watchmen-related properties, including prequels, sequels and spinoffs (god forbid).
* An upfront payment in the $5-$10 million range, which will cover Fox’s costs while previously trying to develop a Watchmen movie, as well as the cost of the legal fees in the studio’s suit against Warner Bros.
* Other conciliatory favors from Warner Bros. that haven’t been officially announced as of yet, but are rumored to include moving Terminator Salvation from its original release date of May 22nd, 2009, in order to open up the box office for Fox-owned movies like Night at the Museum 2.
* Attempting to get certain Fox movies that in some way conflict with Warner Bros. contracts greenlit, including the comedy movie Date Night, which Fox wants Steve Carrell and Tina Fey to star in.
The first line got me itchy. “Depending on Watchmen’s overall performance”?? So they stand to make a profit off it IF it is a big hit. I can deal with that. They are not taking the risk with this film, the Brothers Warner dug deep in their pockets for the gig, so if it was to flop why should they have to pay out?
Clearly Fox took the due dilligence that WB failed to follow up on to get their piece of the pie. WB obviously didnt check close enough to make sure the rights were really theirs. Apparently “but we were told it was” just doesn’t fly in a court of law.
Other little consessions seem to be in the way of favours like shifting some of WB’s expected hits to allow Fox’s productions a little more of a presence on certain weekends. I don’t underestimate the draw of a family friendly film, but I am sure Fox was worried about Terminator opening on the same week as their Night at the Museum 2.
And of course a big heap of money that should have changed hands to begin with (to secure the rights proper) is padded with a layer of “we are sorry” In reality, that payout is piddly in the grand scale of things. If the movie is a hit, Fox will likely rake a heftier payout on profits than this up front dish.
I think considering Fox didn’t do much but get its toes stepped on, they are making out like bandits here.
At least it is over. And the fans get the film on schedule as promised.
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