Judge To Decide Watchmen's Fate On January 20th

20th Century Fox and Warner Bros have decided to forgo a jury trial and let US District Court Judge Gary Allen Feess decide the fate of Watchmen on January 20th 2009. And considering the fact that Fees has already ruled that Fox owns the distribution rights to the film, I don't see the result being one that will satisfy fans. Basically, the judge will decide if an injunction should be issued to block the release of the film. Warner Bros has issued a statement saying that they "will continue to pursue all of our legal options to defeat Fox's meritless claims and remain confident that we will ultimately prevail."

THR's legal expert Matthew Belloni says that "an injunction certainly isn't a given here." Belloni writes: "Under copyright law, a rightsholder still has to show, among other things, that it will be "irreparably harmed" absent an injunction, and it's hard to see how Fox, which basically sat on its rights as the "Watchmen" project bounced from studio to studio, can't wait until a trial to get whatever money it's entited to from any infringement." However, if the judge does issue an injunction to block the release of the film than it's pretty much game over. Fox will be able to demand whatever they want, and Warner Bros will have to pay if they want the film to see the light of day.