fermion writes "According to the NYT, a judge has decided that Fox owns the copyright to Watchmen, not Warner. Is this an example of copyright law becoming so complex that companies can abuse the court system to prevent competition, or just extreme incompetence by Warner? In the current business environment, either explanation is believable. Yet it is unbelievable that seasoned producers would spend hundreds of millions of dollars to create a movie that they can't even release. It seems the judge didn't want to bring this to a jury, and maybe daring Warner to appeal, or Fox to settle."
The article says that Fox acquired movie rights to the Watchmen
story in the late 1980s, but budget disputes and personnel changes have muddied the waters; Wikipedia has a bit more on the "development hell" which has plagued the film project