Putting the studios' conflicting requests aside, a Los Angeles federal judge has set a January 6, 2009 trial date for 20th Century Fox's lawsuit over Warner Bros. Pictures' screen rights of "Watchmen". The decision on the trial date has been dropped by U.S. District Court Judge Gary Allen Feess on Tuesday, September 2 during a meeting between attorneys.
Since the trial date has been laid down, the rest of this year will be used for discovery and deposition proceedings. Various reports noted that Feess has also pointed that Fox should refrain attempts to get preliminary injunction as the case was too complex to be resolved in a short matter of time. Nevertheless, the studio could still ask the judge to permanently prevent Warners from releasing the movie after the discovery phase.
Earlier, it has been reported that both Fox and Warners have submitted a conflicting request for the trial date. While Fox asked for the trial to be done as early as June 2009, Warners requested for April 2009. Both of the date they planned would have delayed the theatrical release of "Watchmen" nonetheless. Yet, Warners have not moved the film's March 6, 2009 schedule to new date.
Set in an alternate 1985 America, "Watchmen" follows the struggle of a group of costumed superheroes when they strive to watch over humanity while faced with a plot to discredit all past and present superheroes. Starring Jackie Earle Haley, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Matt Frewer, Patrick Wilson, Carla Gugino, Malin Akerman and many others, it is directed by Zack Snyder from the script by David Hayter and Alex Tse.