Fox get Watchmen for Christmas

Could the film be delayed? Or even canned?

Meeeeerry Christmas, Watchmen fans... The New York Times is reporting that a US District Court judge has concluded that 20th Century Fox "should prevail on crucial issues" in their lawsuit with Warner Bros. over who owns the rights to the much-anticipated Watchmen movie.

A trial to settle the dispute was planned for January, but now looks unlikely, with the judge recommending "the parties may wish to turn their efforts... to negotiating a resolution of this dispute."

This story will gather pace pretty quickly, but at the moment, here's how we see it...

1. It looks like Warners has pretty much lost its right to distribute any movie based on the Watchmen graphic novel. They might appeal but in the light of the judge's words, the case would now be pretty much unwinnable.

2. Fox and Warners need to strike a deal to split the movie's costs and takings. The problem here is that Warners is already divvying up with finance partner Legendary Pictures, so they'll be in no mood to be charitable.

3. The end result will probably be a joint distribution deal, but. because of both side's wide-apart positions, there's still a chance that Fox will delay - or even cancel - the movie's release.

Whatever happens, we can pretty much forget about that March release date.

Keep an eye on totalfilm.com for more on this one as it develops...

Questions: How worried are you about Watchmen's release? Do you think it might be cast into Distribution Hell?