Eagerly-awaited comic book film Watchmen will hit cinema screens in March after Warner Bros and 20th Century Fox settled their rights dispute.

The film's release had been up in the air after Fox launched a legal action against Warner Bros, claiming it owned the distribution rights to the Alan Moore adaptation.

But after the studios reached a financial settlement - which sees Fox receiving the equivalent of an actor's pay based on the film's performance - Watchmen will be released on March 6th.

According to Variety, Fox will receive an initial cash payment of between $5 million (£3.4 million) and $10 million (£6.7 million) - which covers $1.4 million (£939,640) of previously-incurred development fees as well as legal costs - and a gross participation fee of between five and 8.5 per cent, based on the film's box office performance.

A joint statement said: "Warner Bros and 20th Century Fox have resolved their dispute regarding the rights to the upcoming motion picture Watchmen in a confidential settlement.

"Warner Bros acknowledges that Fox acted in good faith in bringing its claims, which were asserted prior to the start of principal photography."

It added: "Fox acknowledges that Warner Brothers acted in good faith in defending against those claims. Warner Bros and Fox, like all Watchmen fans, look forward with great anticipation to this film’s March 6th release in theatres."

Based on Moore's book, published by DC Comics as a monthly limited series in 1986 and 1987, Watchmen tells of a group of 'superheroes' - without superpowers - whose role in society is called into question in a mid-80s US nearing nuclear war.

16/01/2009 09:17:17