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Studios ‘close’ to settlement in Watchmen lawsuit

Watchmen

Watchmen

Warner Bros. and 20th Century Fox reportedly are “close” to reaching an agreement in the bitter lawsuit over the $130-million Watchmen movie.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, negotiations between the two sides “got serious” over the weekend after U.S. District Judge Gary A. Feess postponed a status hearing so the studios could pursue settlement talks.

Attorneys met yesterday for 30 minutes behind closed doors in Los Angeles federal court to discuss details. Neither studio would comment, but the trade paper notes that Warner Bros. hasn’t pressed its earlier request to move up the injunction hearing, “suggesting a settlement is near.”

Fox filed the lawsuit in February, claiming it owned the movie rights to Watchmen, based on the 1986 DC Comics miniseries by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons. In December Feess ruled that Fox owns a copyright interest in the movie because of a tangled development history that dates back to the late 1980s. Last week the studios agreed to allow the judge to decide whether Fox can block release of the movie.

Over the weekend, tea-leaf readers gleaned positive signs from settlement talks in the small rollout of a Watchmen TV campaign, and in the body language of studio executives during the Golden Globes ceremony.

If an agreement is reached, Watchmen will open in theaters on March 6.

Related: The Los Angeles Times looks at what the lawsuit could mean for producer Larry Gordon, who’s at the center of the bitter feud.

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