Yes, the "Watchmen" case was settled between Fox and Warner Bros. last night, but for particular anal nerds like us, the Variety and many other report shines a much brighter light on the details than the early Hollywood Reporter piece from last night. We're completists for better or worse and what's more Warner Bros. sounds like they got pretty ass-raped in the deal (excuse our language, but you'll see and plus, it figured, their backs were against the wall).
As we (and you) assumed, the March 6, release date of the film will stick (it wasn't confirmed in last night's report). Fox's logo will be nowhere on the film or its marketing campaign. The New York Times says the 8.5 percent box office that Fox is now entitled to could ultimately amount to a "total in the tens of millions of dollars." Not only that, the studio will also be reimbursed all "costs in developing the movie as well as legal fees that total in the millions of dollars. " Didn't someone already report that Fox had spent at least $15 million in development costs? That number is probably unknown to the general public right now, but surely it will come out.
Anne Thompson says, ultimately, everyone's a winner as Fox gets its cash, Warners gets to keep its release date and fans are able to see the film as originally scheduled, but when it comes to money side of things WB certainly sounds like the loser. She also notes that producer Larry Gordon might have to give up his percentage of the gross to make up for what WB loses (if he doesn't get sued outright for more).
Nikki Finke notes that the 8.5% Fox takes from the box-office also entitles them to a piece of any spin-offs or sequels (you laugh, but studios see this baby as a cash-cow, comic-books be damned, hello Minutemen movie?).
Finke also notes that WB has to already split the money pie as it is. "Legendary Pictures already owns a chunk of 'Watchmen.' So cutting Fox in now as another partner really plays havoc with Warner Bros' economics on the movie. Studios hate when that happens." Finke also has the official statement from both studios, but it's pretty boring and says nothing. Lastly, the DE writer says that WB did want to initially fight the case and appeal as they had suggested in earlier statements, but WB boss Barry Meyer apparently squashed that tactic quickly.
Variety's sources say that Fox will receive an "upfront cash payment pegged between $5 million and $10 million."
All and all this adds up to a lot of loses for Warner Bros., but good thing they just came off the massive success of "The Dark Knight" otherwise they'd really be screwed. But WB is now banking on "Watchmen" to be a $100-million-plus grosser to be sure (yeah, they were anyway, but the stakes are much higher now).
Other details that came to light via Variety. "Warner Bros. acknowledged that Fox acted in good faith in bringing its claims, which were asserted prior to the start of principal photography."
The potential deals that were being made before the settlement are interesting to note too.
"Though it was denied by both studios, sources said that in recent weeks that WB and Fox discussed several intriguing horse-trading scenarios after WB choked on Fox’s initial ask of 10% gross and distribution in some overseas territories. One scenario had WB moving "Terminator Salvation" away from its Memorial Day weekend opening on May 22, because it collides directly with Fox’s launch of "Night at the Museum 2: Battle of the Smithsonian."Like we've said all along. Larry Gordon could be fucked.
"The next chapter in the saga might come when WB seeks some redress from producer Larry Gordon, who has been at the center of the maelstrom and who has a gross participation comparable to the one that WB will be giving to Fox, according to sources."We wonder what Alan Moore thinks of all this? We can't wait til he eventually sees the movie and eviscerates it, warranted or not, cause it's sure to be a hilarious and uber-scathing screed.
Update: THR has the final (or their final) official, case-over story. Lawyers for both sides officially said the case was "resolved." Fox's attorney said that a stipulation for dismissal would be filed later in the day. The Judge apparently made a crack at Warner's expense (noting that as above, they got the raw end of the deal obviously and said, "It may be over between the two of you, but who knows what else will show up one day?" Studios take note.