Bosses at Twentieth Century Fox have launched a legal battle to block the release of new comic book movie WATCHMEN.
The film, based on the comic books written by Alan Moore, is due to hit cinemas in March 2009.
But the release has now been thrown into jeopardy after chiefs at Fox filed legal papers in Los Angeles claiming they bought the rights to the series in the 1980s - and seeking an injunction against rival studio Warner Bros in a bid to halt the picture.
A spokesman for Fox says the company will be "asking the court to enforce our copyright interests" and urging the judge to stop the release of the movie and "any related Watchmen media that violate our copyright interests in that property".
A representative for Warner Bros adds, "We respectfully disagree with Fox's position and do not believe they have any rights."
The film stars Patrick Wilson and Jeffrey Dean Morgan and is directed by Zack Snyder, who helmed 2007 movie 300.
The '12 Years A Slave' director will receive the accolade at the London Film Festival in October.
Critics from all over the world were asked to name the best movie of the past 16 years.