Law of Hollywood Land

Entertainment Legal Bouts and Justice

What is Behind Fox’s Attack on Warner Bros Over WATCHMEN?

As you have heard, some legal battles have been raised due to the highly expected film adaptation of comic books, WATCHMEN.

So what really happens?

Well, basically, a judge has granted 20th Century Fox permission to take Warner Bros. to court for not obtaining permission to make WATCHMEN in the first place. Fox has appeared to have the copyright protection to make a film of WATCHMEN for the past 22 years, without luck, in reality, to make it themselves. Warner seems to think that everything is on the up and up, so the battle goes to trial.

Properties that are derived from studies, but in the end was not done are generally collected by other studies. But the original studio still hangs on in case the film has becomes a giant property. In this case, Fox tried to make WATCHMEN before, and now WB is doing it and receiving much attention in the process, so pissed Fox is and does not want to become a joke.

Apparently, Fox does have reasonable ground for their lawsuit for the issues of “turnaround” and “changed elements”, and has already been explained in an article in the New York Times this week.

On its face, turnaround is a contractual mechanism that allows a studio to release its interest in a dormant film project, while recovering costs, plus interest, from any rival that eventually adopts the project. But turnaround is a stacked deck.

The turnaround clauses in a typical contract are also insurance for studio executives who do not want to be humiliated by a competitor who makes a hit out of their castoffs.

That trick turns on a term of art: “changed elements.” A producer of a movie acquired in turnaround who comes up with a new director, or star, or story line, or even a reduction in budget, must give the original studio another shot at making the movie because of changed elements, even if a new backer has entered the picture.

Thus, “Michael Clayton” was put in turnaround by Castle Rock Entertainment (which, like Warner, belongs to Time Warner). When George Clooney became attached to star in it, however, Castle Rock stood on its right to be involved as a producer of what turned out to be an Oscar-nominated film.

But what this all comes down to is money. Fox may appear to want to stop WATCHMEN in its tracks, but the real purpose is for them to get a piece of what will bound to be some massive monetary intake.

WATCHMEN storms theaters March 6, 2009.

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August 27, 2008 - Posted by | Copyright, Copyright Infringement, Lawsuit | , , , , , ,

1 Comment »

  1. What is the current situation of the case? Legal proceedings take time. Once “Watchmen” is made, I am definitely going to watch it 🙂

    Comment by mketu | December 15, 2008 | Reply


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