With millions of dollars in marketing costs on the line, Warner Bros has lost their patience for the ongoing Watchmen trial. With the actual trial set to take place on January 20th, the studio has filed a request asking to make it early. How much earlier? How about this Monday?
Warner Bros Wants Early Watchmen Trial
One can understand Warner Bros' decision to hurry this up. Each day allows for the studio to plan out the film's final production diaries and marketing strategies. All of which cost money. There is also no point spending money over the next two weeks to market a film that you might not end up distributing.
In short, Warner Bros. has to feel like its hands are tied on Watchmen planning/marketing at least until January 20th. The upcoming trial will decide whether Fox can stop the film's release or whether one party owes the other damages, which would proceed into another trial.
Warner Bros presented its case this week: The studio cites a precedent-setting decision involving eBay that says a plaintiff in a copyright-infringement case must, among other things, prove that it will be irreparably harmed without an injunction and that money damages will not be an adequate remedy.
In their current situation, Warner Bros. points out that Fox had "abandoned" the Watchmen property, which led the studio to move forward with the project and spend over $150 million to create the film while also peaking interest in it. Or, in the words of Warners, a "carefully choreographed" plan. Since this plan is all about timing, Warner Bros claims that barring the film's release will cause millions of dollars in damages not only to them but to exhibitors planning for the film's release.
Fox's response is simple. No, this does not relate to the Ebay case. So Fox has all rights to stop the film's release.
If the injunction is granted, Warners would be barred from releasing the film, though it likely would appeal immediately. Feess has encouraged the parties to settle the dispute.