‘Watchmen’ deal in works

WB, Fox in talks to settle dispute

Warner Bros.’ plan to release “Watchmen” in March may proceed after all as the studio and 20th Century Fox are in the thick of talks to settle the bitter dispute over the rights to the superhero pic.

Attorneys for both studios disclosed Friday that they had achieved progress toward an accord and agreed to delay a federal court hearing until today in order to continue settlement talks. Reps for Fox and Warner had no comment about terms of a possible settlement, which would probably see Fox receive a stake in “Watchmen.”

Friday’s hearing had been scheduled before U.S. District Court Judge Gary Feess in Los Angeles so the jurist could rule on Warner’s request for an expedited hearing on the key issue — whether to grant Fox’s demand to block Warner’s plans to release “Watchmen” on March 6.

Feess ruled on Dec. 24 that Fox owned distribution rights to “Watchmen” due to a provision in its 1994 turnaround agreement with producer Larry Gordon.

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