Watchmen

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Posted by bender 03/14/2009 @ 17:13

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News headlines
'Watchmen' Blu-ray to include full PS3 game - Afterdawn.com
Warner Bros. has announced that the special 2-disc Director's Cut edition Watchmen Blu-ray disc will include a full playstation 3 video game, Watchmen: The End is Nigh. The movie is expected to hit stores on July 21st, but there was no word on MSRP for...
Watchmen: The End is Nigh Part 2 will be released on the PC - Destructoid
The most anticipated second episode of a brawler to have the words “Watchmen: The End is Nigh” in its title is coming to PC. In a conversation with Joystiq, a Warner Bros. representative confirmed the title would hit the platform, a mere day after WB...
Mike Patton Collaborating with Watchmen Creator on Multimedia Project - Exclaim!
That's right: the guy who brought you the Watchmen series has teamed up with Patton, as well as former Godflesh and current Jesu front-man Justin Broadrick, to create a multimedia package tentatively dubbed Unearthing. It revolves around Moore's latest...
'Watchmen' Opened Big, Then Flopped - California Chronicle
It's official: "Watchmen" is a bomb, a comic-book movie drenched in historic flop-sweat. What, you thought it was a hit? Sure, you and everyone else who follows those opening-weekend box-office figures seem to recall a $55 million opening weekend....
Warner Bros. And Facebook Team Up For 'Watchmen' Blu-Ray Feature - MTV.com
From Rorschach to the Comedian, there's been no shortage of allies for the “Watchmen” — but the masked vigilante squad is about to meet their newest partner in the war against crime. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Warner Bros. has hooked up with...
Judgment Day for Terminator Salvation as the Memorial Day weekend ... - Film Threat
Why didn't we expect Warner Bros. to (apparently) panic over the collapse of Watchmen and demand a PG-13, action-filled theatrical cut? The trailers promised atmosphere and action, and that's what the picture delivered on in spades....
Neil Huxley Joins Frantic as Art Director/Mograph Supervisor - Dexigner
Huxley's experience working in feature film titles design and motion graphics sequences - he recently completed the opening title sequence for Zack Snyder's "Watchmen" and was lead art director for motion graphics on Neveldine/Taylor's upcoming movie...
Graphic novels pack a literary punch - Lawrence Journal World
Now that “Watchmen” has come to theaters it's time at least to get up to speed. “Watchmen,” by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons, is the only graphic novel to appear on Time Magazine's “100 Best Novels from 1923 to the Present.” Other indicators, too, point...
Watchmen Photog Divulges Secrets of Shooting Superheroes - Wired News
By Annaliza Savage Photographer Clay Enos' rich portraits of costumed crime-fighters play an important part in Zack Snyder's recent big-screen adaptation of Watchmen . Enos' faux documentary photos appear throughout the film, providing gorgeous visuals...
Bristol: Gibbons & Higgins Talk Watchmen - Comic Book Resources
by Adam Christopher, Guest Writer Despite the worldwide phenomenon that “Watchmen” has transformed into over the last year, the two-thirds of the original creative team behind the masterpiece, Dave Gibbons and John Higgins, present at this month's...

Watchmen

The middle two pages of Watchmen #5, titled "Fearful Symmetry". The whole of the issue's layout was intended to be symmetrical, culminating in this center spread, where the pages reflect one another. Art by Dave Gibbons.

Watchmen is a twelve-issue comic book limited series created by writer Alan Moore, artist Dave Gibbons, and colorist John Higgins. The series was published by DC Comics during 1986 and 1987, and has been subsequently reprinted in collected form. Watchmen originated from a story proposal Moore submitted to DC featuring superhero characters that the company had acquired from Charlton Comics. As Moore's proposed story would have left many of the characters unusable for future stories, managing editor Dick Giordano convinced the writer to create original characters instead.

Moore used the story as a means to reflect contemporary anxieties and to deconstruct the superhero concept. Watchmen takes place in an alternate history United States where superheroes emerged in the 1940s and 1960s, helping the United States to win the Vietnam War. The country is edging closer to a nuclear war with the Soviet Union, freelance costumed vigilantes have been outlawed and most costumed superheroes are in retirement or working for the government. The story focuses on the personal development and struggles of the protagonists as an investigation into the murder of a government sponsored superhero pulls them out of retirement and eventually leads them to confront a plot by one of their own to stave off nuclear war by killing millions of people.

Creatively, the focus of Watchmen is on its structure. Gibbons used a nine-panel grid layout throughout the series and added recurring symbols such as a blood-stained smiley face. All but the last issue feature supplemental fictional documents that add to the series' backstory, and the narrative is intertwined with that of another story, a fictional pirate comic titled Tales of the Black Freighter, which one of the characters reads. Watchmen has received critical acclaim both in the comics and mainstream press, and is regarded by critics as a seminal text of the comic book medium. After a number of attempts to adapt the series into a feature film, director Zack Snyder's Watchmen was released in March 2009.

Moore began writing the series very early on, hoping to avoid publication delays such as those faced by the DC miniseries Camelot 3000. When writing the script for the first issue, Moore said he realized "I only had enough plot for six issues. We were contracted for 12!" His solution was to alternate issues that dealt with the overall plot of the series with origin issues for the characters. Moore wrote very detailed scripts for Gibbons to work from. Gibbons recalled that "he script for the first issue of Watchmen was, I think, 101 pages of typescript—single-spaced—with no gaps between the individual panel descriptions or, indeed, even between the pages." Upon receiving the scripts, the artist had to number each page "in case I drop them on the floor, because it would take me two days to put them back in the right order", and used a highlighter pen to single out lettering and shot descriptions; he remarked, "It takes quite a bit of organizing before you can actually put pen to paper." Despite Moore's detailed scripts, his panel descriptions would often end with the note "If that doesn’t work for you, do what works best"; Gibbons nevertheless worked to Moore's instructions. Gibbons had a great deal of autonomy in developing the visual look of Watchmen, and frequently inserted background details that Moore admitted he did not notice until later. Moore occasionally contacted fellow comics writer Neil Gaiman for answers to research questions and for quotes to include in issues.

Despite his intentions, Moore admitted in November 1986 that there were likely to be delays, stating that he was, with issue #5 on the stands, still writing issue nine. Gibbons mentioned that a major factor in the delays was the "piecemeal way" in which he received Moore's scripts. Gibbons said the team's pace slowed around the fourth issue; from that point onwards the two undertook their work "just several pages at a time. I'll get three pages of script from Alan and draw it and then toward the end, call him up and say, 'Feed me!' And he'll send another two or three pages or maybe one page or sometimes six pages." As the creators began to hit deadlines, Moore would hire a taxi driver to drive 50 miles and deliver scripts to Gibbons. On later issues the artist had his wife and son draw panel grids on pages to help save time. Moore even shortened one of Ozymandias' narrations, because Gibbons was unable to compress the dialogue on to one page where Ozymandias prevents a sneak attack by Rorschach.

Near the end of the project, Moore realized that the story bore some similarity to "The Architects of Fear," an episode of the Outer Limits television series. The writer and Wein argued over changing the ending; Moore won, but acknowledged the episode by referencing it in the series' last issue.

Watchmen is set in an alternate reality which closely mirrors the contemporary world of the 1980s. The primary point of divergence is the presence of superheroes. Their existence in this iteration of America is shown to have dramatically affected and altered the outcomes of real-world events such as the Vietnam War and the presidency of Richard Nixon. In keeping with the realism of the series, although the costumed crime fighters of Watchmen are commonly called "superheroes", the only character who possesses obvious superhuman powers is Doctor Manhattan. The existence of Doctor Manhattan has given the U.S. a strategic advantage over the Soviet Union, which has increased tensions between the two nations. Additionally, superheroes have become unpopular among the public, which has led to the passage of legislation in 1977 to outlaw them. While many of the heroes retired, Doctor Manhattan and The Comedian operate as government-sanctioned agents, and Rorschach continues to operate outside the law.

In October 1985, New York City police are investigating the murder of Edward Blake. With the police having no leads, costumed vigilante Rorschach decides to probe further. Discovering Blake to be the face behind The Comedian, a costumed hero employed by the United States government, Rorschach believes he has discovered a plot to eliminate costumed adventurers and sets about warning four of his retired comrades: Dan Dreiberg (formerly the second Nite Owl), the superpowered and emotionally detached Doctor Manhattan and his lover Laurie Juspeczyk (the second Silk Spectre), and Adrian Veidt (once the hero Ozymandias, and now a successful businessman, also known as the smartest man alive).

After Blake's funeral, Doctor Manhattan is accused on national television of being the cause of cancer in friends and former colleagues. When the U.S. government takes the accusations seriously, Manhattan exiles himself to Mars. In doing so, he throws humanity into political turmoil, with the Soviet Union invading Afghanistan to capitalize on the perceived American weakness. Rorschach's paranoid beliefs appear vindicated when Adrian Veidt narrowly survives an assassination attempt, and Rorschach himself is framed for murder and imprisoned.

Jaded in her relationship, and no longer kept on retainer by the government, Juspeczyk stays with Dreiberg; they don their costumes and resume vigilante work as they grow closer together. With Dreiberg starting to believe some aspects of Rorschach's conspiracy theory, the pair take it upon themselves to free him from prison. Doctor Manhattan, after analyzing his own personal history, places the fate of his involvement with human affairs in Juspeczyk's hands. He teleports her to Mars to make the case for emotional investment. During the course of the argument, Juspeczyk is forced to come to terms with the fact that Blake, who once attempted to rape her mother, was her biological father. This discovery re-engages Doctor Manhattan's interest in humanity.

On Earth, Nite Owl and Rorschach continue to uncover the conspiracy surrounding the death of The Comedian and the accusations that drove Doctor Manhattan into exile. They discover evidence that Adrian Veidt may be behind the plan. Rorschach records his suspicions about Veidt in his journal, and mails it to a small New York publication. The pair then confront Veidt at his Antarctic retreat. Veidt explains his underlying plan is to save humanity from impending nuclear war between the United States and Soviet Union by faking an alien invasion in New York City, which will kill half the city's population. He hopes this will unite the nations against a perceived common enemy. He also reveals that he had killed The Comedian, arranged for Dr. Manhattan's past associates to contract cancer, and staged the attempt on his own life in order to place himself above suspicion, all in an attempt to prevent his plan from being exposed. Finding his logic callous and abhorrent, Dreiberg and Rorschach attempt to stop him but discover that Veidt has already enacted his plan.

When Doctor Manhattan and Juspeczyk arrive back on Earth, they are confronted by mass destruction and wide scale death in New York City. Doctor Manhattan notices his abilities are limited by tachyons emanating from the Antarctic, and the pair teleport there. They discover Veidt's involvement and confront him. Veidt shows everyone news broadcasts confirming the cessation of global hostilities, leading almost all present to agree that concealing the truth from the public is in the best interests of the world. Rorschach refuses to compromise and leaves, intent on revealing the truth. As he is making his way back, he is confronted by Manhattan. Rorschach tells Manhattan that Manhattan will have to kill him to stop him from exposing Veidt and his actions, and Manhattan responds by vaporizing the vigilante. Manhattan then wanders through the base and finds Veidt, who asks Manhattan if he did the right thing in the end. In response, Manhattan states that "Nothing ever ends" before leaving the Earth for a different galaxy. Dreiberg and Juspeczyk go into hiding under new identities and continue their romance. Back in New York, an editor complains about having to pull a two page column due to the new political climate. He asks his assistant to find some filler material, and the series ends with the young man reaching towards a pile of discarded submissions, near the top of which is Rorschach's journal.

The Comedian / Edward Blake: Already deceased when the story begins, his murder is what sets the plot in motion. The character appears throughout the story in flashbacks and aspects of his personality are revealed by other characters. The Comedian was based on the Charlton Comics character Peacemaker, with elements of the Marvel Comics spy character Nick Fury added. Moore and Gibbons saw The Comedian as "a kind of Gordon Liddy character, only a much bigger, tougher guy". Richard Reynolds described The Comedian as "ruthless, cynical, and nihilistic, and yet capable of deeper insights than the others into the role of the costumed hero". Along with Dr. Manhattan, he is the only government-sanctioned superhero after the Keene Act banning superheroes is passed. Although he attempted to rape the first Silk Spectre in the 1940s, issue nine reveals that years later he fathered her daughter Laurie as part of a consensual sexual relationship.

Doctor Manhattan / Jonathan Osterman: A superpowered being who is contracted by the United States government. Scientist Jon Osterman gained superpowers when he was caught in an "Intrinsic Field Subtractor" in 1959. Doctor Manhattan was based upon Charlton's Captain Atom, who in Moore's original proposal was surrounded by the shadow of nuclear threat. However, the writer found he could do more with Manhattan as a "kind of a quantum super-hero" than he could have with Captain Atom. In opposition to other superheroes that lacked scientific exploration of their origins, Moore sought to delve into nuclear physics and quantum physics in constructing the character of Dr. Manhattan. The writer believed that a character living in a quantum universe would not perceive time with a linear perspective, which would influence the character's perception of human affairs. Moore also wanted to avoid creating an emotionless character like Spock from Star Trek, so he sought for Dr. Manhattan to retain "human habits" and to grow away from them and humanity in general. Gibbons had created the blue character Rogue Trooper, and explained he reused the blue skin motif for Doctor Manhattan as it resembles skin tonally, but has a different hue. Moore incorporated the color into the story, and Gibbons noted the rest of the comic's color scheme made Manhattan unique. Moore recalled that he was unsure if DC would allow the creators to depict the character as fully nude, which partially influenced how they portrayed the character. Gibbons wanted to be tasteful in depicting Manhattan's nudity, selecting carefully when full frontal shots would occur and giving him "understated" genitals — like a classical sculpture — so the reader would not initially notice it.

Rorschach / Walter Kovacs: A vigilante who wears a white mask that contains a symmetrical but constantly shifting ink blot pattern, he continues to fight crime in spite of his outlaw status. Moore said he was trying to "come up with this quintessential Steve Ditko character - someone who's got a funny name, whose surname begins with a 'K,' who's got an oddly designed mask". Moore based Rorschach on Ditko's creation Mr. A; Ditko's Charlton character The Question also served as a template for creating Rorschach. Comics historian Bradford W. Wright described the character's world view "a set of black-and-white values that take many shapes but never mix into shades of gray, similar to the ink blot tests of his namesake". Rorschach sees existence as random and, according to Wright, this viewpoint leaves the character "free to 'scrawl own design' on a 'morally blank world'". Moore said he did not foresee the death of Rorschach until the fourth issue when he realized that his refusal to compromise would result in him not surviving the story.

Silk Spectre / Laurie Juspeczyk: The daughter of the first Silk Spectre (with whom she has a strained relationship) and The Comedian. She had been the lover of Doctor Manhattan for years. While Silk Spectre was based partially on the Charlton character Nightshade, Moore was not impressed by the character and drew more from heroines such as Black Canary and Phantom Lady.

Gibbons said he deliberately constructed the visual look of Watchmen so that each page would be identifiable as part of that particular series and "not some other comic book". He made a concerted effort to draw the characters in a manner different than that commonly seen in comics. The artist tried to draw the series with "a particular weight of line, using a hard, stiff pen that didn't have much modulation in terms of thick and thin" which he hoped "would differentiate it from the usual lush, fluid kind of comic book line". In a 2009 interview, Moore recalled that he took advantage of Gibbons' training as a former surveyor for "including incredible amounts of detail in every tiny panel, so we could choreograph every little thing". Gibbons described the series as "a comic about comics". Gibbons felt that "Alan is more concerned with the social implications of and I've gotten involved in the technical implications." The story's alternate world setting allowed Gibbons to change details of the American landscape, such as adding electric cars, slightly different buildings, and spark hydrants instead of fire hydrants, which Moore said, "perhaps gives the American readership a chance in some ways to see their own culture as an outsider world". Gibbons noted that the setting was liberating for him because he did not have to rely primarily on reference books.

Colorist John Higgins used a template that was "moodier" and favored secondary colors. Moore stated that he had also "always loved John's coloring, but always associated him with being an airbrush colorist", which Moore was not fond of; Higgins subsequently decided to color Watchmen in European-style flat color. Moore noted that the artist paid particular attention to lighting and subtle color changes; in issue six, Higgins began with "warm and cheerful" colors and throughout the issue gradually made it darker to give the story a dark and bleak feeling.

Structurally, certain aspects of Watchmen deviated from the norm in comic books at the time, particularly the panel layout and the coloring. Instead of panels of various sizes, the creators divided each page into a nine-panel grid. Gibbons favored the nine-panel grid system due to its "authority". Moore accepted the use of the nine-panel grid format, which "gave him a level of control over the storytelling he hadn't had previously", according to Gibbons. "There was this element of the pacing and visual impact that he could now predict and use to dramatic effect." Bhob Stewart of The Comics Journal mentioned to Gibbons in 1987, that the page layouts recalled those of EC Comics, in addition to the art itself, which Stewart felt particularly echoed that of John Severin. Gibbons agreed that the echoing of the EC-style layouts "was a very deliberate thing", although his inspiration was rather Harvey Kurtzman, but it was altered enough to give the series a unique look. The artist also cited Steve Ditko's work on early issues of The Amazing Spider-Man as an influence, as well as Doctor Strange, where "even at his most psychedelic would still keep a pretty straight page layout".

The cover of each issue serves as the first panel to the story. Gibbons said, "The cover of the Watchmen is in the real world and looks quite real, but it's starting to turn into a comic book, a portal to another dimension." The covers were designed as close-ups that focused on a single detail with no human elements present. The creators on occasion experimented with the layout of the issue contents. Gibbons drew issue five, titled "Fearful Symmetry", so the first page mirrors the last (in terms of frame disposition), with the following pages mirroring each other before the center-spread is (broadly) symmetrical in layout.

Watchmen features a story within a story in the form of Tales of the Black Freighter, a fictional comic book from which scenes appear in issues three, five, eight, nine, ten, and eleven. The fictional comic's story, "Marooned", is read by a black youth in New York City. Moore and Gibbons conceived a pirate comic because they reasoned that since the characters of Watchmen experience superheroes in real life, "they probably wouldn't be at all interested in superhero comics." Gibbons suggested a pirate theme, and Moore agreed in part because he is "a big Brecht fan": the Black Freighter alludes to the song "Seeräuberjenny" ("Pirate Jenny") from Brecht's Threepenny Opera. Moore theorized that since superheroes existed, and existed as "objects of fear, loathing, and scorn, the main superheroes quickly fell out of popularity in comic books, as we suggest. Mainly, genres like horror, science fiction, and piracy, particularly piracy, became prominent--with EC riding the crest of the wave." Moore felt that "the imagery of the whole pirate genre is so rich and dark that it provided a perfect counterpoint to the contemporary world of Watchmen". The writer expanded upon the premise so that its presentation in the story would add subtext and allegory. The supplemental article detailing the fictional history of Tales of the Black Freighter at the end of issue five credits real-life artist Joe Orlando as a major contributor to the series. Moore chose Orlando because he felt that if pirate stories were popular in the Watchmen universe that DC editor Julius Schwartz might have tried to lure the artist over to the company to draw a pirate comic book. Orlando contributed a drawing designed as if it were a page from the fake title to the supplemental piece.

A blood-stained smiley face is a recurring image in the story, appearing in many forms. In The System of Comics, Thierry Groensteen described the symbol as a recurring motif that produces "rhyme and remarkable configurations" by appearing in key segments of Watchmen, notably the first and last pages of the series. Groensteen cites it as one form of the circle shape that appears throughout the story, as a "recurrent geometric motif" and due to its symbolic connotations. Gibbons created a smiley face badge as an element of The Comedian's costume in order to "lighten" the overall design, later adding a splash of blood to the badge to imply his murder. Gibbons said the creators came to regard the blood-stained smiley face as "a symbol for the whole series", noting its resemblance to the clock ticking up to midnight. Moore drew inspiration from psychological tests of behaviorism, explaining that the tests had presented the face as "a symbol of complete innocence". With the addition of a blood splash over the eye, the face's meaning was altered to become simultaneously radical and simple enough for the first issue's cover to avoid human detail. Although most evocations of the central image were created on purpose, others were coincidental. Moore mentioned in particular that "the little plugs on the spark hydrants, if you turn them upside down, you discover a little smiley face".

Other symbols, images and allusion that appeared throughout the series often emerged unexpectedly. Moore mentioned that "he whole thing with Watchmen has just been loads of these little bits of synchronicity popping up all over the place". Gibbons noted an unintended theme was contrasting the mundane and the romantic, citing the separate sex scenes between Nite Owl and Silk Spectre on his couch and then high in the sky on Nite Owl's airship. In a book of the craters and boulders of Mars, Gibbons discovered a photograph of the Galle crater, which resembles a happy face, which they worked into an issue. Moore said, "We found a lot of these things started to generate themselves as if by magic", in particular citing an occasion where they decided to name a lock company the "Gordian Knot Lock Company".

The initial premise for the series was to examine what superheroes would be like "in a credible, real world". As the story became more complex, Moore said Watchmen became about "power and about the idea of the superman manifest within society." The title of the series refers to the phrase "Who watches the watchmen?", although Moore said in a 1986 interview with Amazing Heroes he did not know where the phrase originated. After reading the interview, author Harlan Ellison informed Moore that the phrase is a translation of the question "Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?", posed by the Roman satirist Juvenal; Moore commented in 1987, "In the context of Watchmen, that fits. 'They're watching out for us, who's watching out for them?'" The writer stated in the introduction to the Graphitti hardcover of Watchmen that while writing the series he was able to purge himself of his nostalgia for superheroes, and instead he found an interest in real human beings.

Citing Watchmen as the point where the comic book medium "came of age", Iain Thomson wrote in his essay "Deconstructing the Hero" that the story accomplished this by "developing its heroes precisely in order to deconstruct the very idea of the hero and so encouraging us to reflect upon its significance from the many different angles of the shards left lying on the ground". Thomson stated that the heroes in Watchmen almost all share a nihilistic outlook, and that Moore presents this outlook "as the simple, unvarnished truth" to "deconstruct the would-be hero's ultimate motivation, namely, to provide a secular salvation and so attain a mortal immortality". He wrote that the story "develops its heroes precisely in order to ask us if we would not in fact be better off without heroes". Thomson added that the story's deconstruction of the hero concept "suggests that perhaps the time for heroes has passed", which he feels distinguishes "this postmodern work" from the deconstructions of the hero in the existentialism movement. Richard Reynolds states that without any supervillains in the story, the superheroes of Watchmen are forced to confront "more intangible social and moral concerns", adding that this removes the superhero concept from the normal narrative expectations of the genre. Reynolds concludes that the series' ironic self awareness of the genre "all mark out Watchmen either as the last key superhero text, or the first in a new maturity of the genre".

When Moore and Gibbons turned in the first issue of Watchmen to DC, their peers were stunned. Gibbons recalled, "What really clinched it was Howard Chaykin, who doesn't give praise lightly, and who came up and said, 'Dave what you've done on Watchmen is fuckin' A.'" Speaking in 1986, Moore stated that "DC backed us all the way ... and have been really supportive about even the most graphic excesses." To promote the series, DC Comics released a limited-edition badge ("button") display card set, featuring characters and images from the series. Ten thousand sets of the four badges, including a replica of the blood-stained smiley face badge worn by the Comedian in the story, were released and sold. Mayfair Games introduced a Watchmen module for its DC Heroes Role-playing Game series that was released before the series concluded. The module, which was endorsed by Moore, adds details to the series' backstory by portraying events that occurred in 1966.

Watchmen was published in single-issue form over the course of 1986 and 1987. The miniseries was a commercial success, and its sales helped DC Comics briefly overtake its competitor Marvel Comics in the comic book direct market. The series' publishing schedule ran into delays because it was scheduled with three issues completed instead of the six Len Wein believed were necessary. Further delays were caused when later issues each took more than a month to complete. Bhob Stewart of the The Comics Journal noted in Spring 1987 that issue #12, which DC solicited for April 1987, "looks like it won't debut until July or August".

After the series concluded, the individual issues were collected and sold in trade paperback form. Along with Frank Miller's 1986 Batman: The Dark Knight Returns miniseries, Watchmen was marketed as a graphic novel, a term which allowed DC and other publishers to sell similar comic book collections in a way that associated them with novels, but disassociate them from comics. As a result of the publicity given to the books like the Watchmen trade in 1987, bookstore and public libraries began to devote special shelves to them. Subsequently, new comics series were commissioned on the basis of reprinting them in a collected form for these markets. In 1987, Graphitti Design produced a special limited edition, slipcased hardcover volume that contained 48 pages of bonus material, including the original proposal and concept art. In 2005, DC released Absolute Watchmen, an oversized slipcased hardcover edition of the series in DC's Absolute Edition format. Assembled under the supervision of Dave Gibbons, Absolute Watchmen included the Graphitti materials, as well as restored and recolored art by John Higgins. In 2008, Warner Bros. Entertainment released Watchmen: Motion Comics, a series of narrated animations of the original comic book. The first chapter was released for purchase in the summer of 2008 on digital video stores, such as iTunes Store. That December, DC published a new printing of Watchmen issue #1 at the original 1986 cover price of $1.50.

Watchmen received critical praise, both inside and outside of the comics industry. Time, which noted that the series was "by common assent the best of breed" of the new wave of comics published at the time, praised Watchmen as "a superlative feat of imagination, combining sci-fi, political satire, knowing evocations of comics past and bold reworkings of current graphic formats into a dysutopian mystery story." In 1988, Watchmen received a Hugo Award in the Other Forms category. Since its release, Watchmen has garnered acclaim as a seminal work of the comic book medium. In Art of the Comic Book: An Aesthetic History, Robert Harvey wrote that with Watchmen, Moore and Gibbons "had demonstrated as never before the capacity of the medium to tell a sophisticated story that could be engineered only in comics". In his review of the Absolute Edition of the collection, Dave Itzkoff of The New York Times wrote that the dark legacy of Watchmen, "one that Moore almost certainly never intended, whose DNA is encoded in the increasingly black inks and bleak storylines that have become the essential elements of the contemporary superhero comic book," is "a domain he has largely ceded to writers and artists who share his fascination with brutality but not his interest in its consequences, his eagerness to tear down old boundaries but not his drive to find new ones." In 1999, The Comics Journal ranked Watchmen at number 91 on its list of the Top 100 English-Language Comics of the 20th Century. Watchmen was the only graphic novel to appear on Time's 2005 list of "the 100 best English-language novels from 1923 to the present". Time critic Lev Grossman described the story as "a heart-pounding, heartbreaking read and a watershed in the evolution of a young medium." In 2008, Entertainment Weekly placed it at number 13 on its list of the best 50 novels printed in the last 25 years, describing it as "The greatest superhero story ever told and proof that comics are capable of smart, emotionally resonant narratives worthy of the label literature." In 2009 Lydia Millet of The Wall Street Journal contested that Watchmen was worthy of such acclaim, and wrote that while the series' "vividly drawn panels, moody colors and lush imagery make its popularity well-deserved, if disproportionate", that "it's simply bizarre to assert that, as an illustrated literary narrative, it rivals in artistic merit, say, masterpieces like Chris Ware's 'Acme Novelty Library' or almost any part of the witty and brilliant work of Edward Gorey".

Moore says he left DC in 1989 due to the language in his contracts for Watchmen and his V for Vendetta series with artist David Lloyd. Moore felt the reversion clauses were ultimately meaningless, because DC did not intend to let the publications go out of print. He told The New York Times in 2006, "I said, 'Fair enough,' 'You have managed to successfully swindle me, and so I will never work for you again.'" In 2000, Moore publicly distanced himself from DC's plans for a fifteenth anniversary Watchmen hardcover release as well as a proposed line of action figures from DC Direct. While DC wanted to mend its relationship with the writer, Moore felt the company was not treating him fairly in regards to his America's Best Comics imprint (launched under the Wildstorm comic imprint, which was bought by DC in 1998; Moore was promised no direct interference by DC as part of the arrangement). Moore added, "As far as I'm concerned, the 15th anniversary of Watchmen is purely a 15th Anniversary of when DC managed to take the Watchmen property from me and Dave ." Soon afterwards, DC Direct cancelled the Watchmen action figure line, although the company had shown prototypes at the 2000 Comic-Con International.

There have been numerous attempts to make a film version Watchmen since 1986, when producers Lawrence Gordon and Joel Silver acquired film rights to the series for 20th Century Fox. Fox asked Alan Moore to write a screenplay based on his story, but he declined, so the studio enlisted screenwriter Sam Hamm. Hamm took the liberty of re-writing Watchmen's complicated ending into a "more manageable" conclusion involving an assassination and a time paradox. Fox put the project into turnaround in 1991, and the project was moved to Warner Bros., where Terry Gilliam was attached to direct and Charles McKeown to rewrite it. They used the character Rorschach's diary as a voice-over and restored scenes from the comic book that Hamm had removed. Gilliam and Silver were only able to raise $25 million for the film (a quarter of the necessary budget) because their previous films had gone overbudget. Gilliam abandoned the project because he decided that Watchmen would have been unfilmable. "Reducing to a two or two-and-a-half hour film seemed to me to take away the essence of what Watchmen is about," he said. After Warner Bros. dropped the project, Gordon invited Gilliam back to helm the film independently. The director again declined, believing that the comic book would be better directed as a five-hour miniseries.

In October 2001, Gordon partnered with Lloyd Levin and Universal Studios, hiring David Hayter to write and direct. Hayter and the producers left Universal due to creative differences, and Gordon and Levin expressed interest in setting up Watchmen at Revolution Studios. The project did not hold together at Revolution Studios and subsequently fell apart. In July 2004, it was announced Paramount Pictures would produce Watchmen, and they attached Darren Aronofsky to direct Hayter's script. Producers Gordon and Levin remained attached, collaborating with Aronofsky's producing partner, Eric Watson. Paul Greengrass replaced Aronofsky when he left to focus on The Fountain. Ultimately, Paramount placed Watchmen in turnaround.

In October 2005, Gordon and Levin met with Warner Bros. to develop the film there again. Impressed with Zack Snyder's work on 300, Warner Bros. approached him to direct an adaptation of Watchmen. Screenwriter Alex Tse drew from his favorite elements of Hayter's script, but also returned it to the original Cold War setting of the Watchmen comic. Similar to his approach to 300, Snyder used the comic book as a storyboard. He has extended the fight scenes, and added a subplot about energy resources to make the film more topical. Although he intended to stay faithful to the look of the characters in the comic, Snyder intended Nite Owl to look scarier, and made Ozymandias' armor into a parody of the rubber muscle suits from 1997's Batman & Robin. After the trailer to the film premiered in July 2008, DC Comics president Paul Levitz said due to the subsequent demand for copies of Watchmen, the company has printed more than 900,000 copies of the trade collection, with the total annual print run expected to be over one million copies. While 20th Century Fox filed a lawsuit to block the film's release, the studios eventually settled, and Fox received an upfront payment and a percentage of the worldwide gross from the film and all sequels and spin-offs in return. The film was released to theaters in March 2009.

The Tales of the Black Freighter segments will be adapted as a direct-to-video animated feature to be released that same month. Gerard Butler, who starred in 300, voices the Captain in the film. The film itself is scheduled to be released on DVD four months after Tales of the Black Freighter, and Warner Bros. is speculated to be considering releasing an extended version, with the animated film edited back into the main picture. Len Wein, the comic's editor, wrote a video game prequel entitled Watchmen: The End is Nigh.

Dave Gibbons became an adviser on Snyder's film, but Moore has refused to have his name attached to any film adaptations of his work. Moore has stated he has no interest in seeing Snyder's adaptation; he told Entertainment Weekly in 2008, "There are things that we did with Watchmen that could only work in a comic, and were indeed designed to show off things that other media can't". While Moore believes that David Hayter's screenplay was "as close as I could imagine anyone getting to Watchmen," he asserted he did not intend to see the film if it were made.

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Watchmen (film)

Teaser poster drawn by Watchmen illustrator Dave Gibbons for the 2007 Comic-Con International

Watchmen is a 2009 superhero film directed by Zack Snyder. Based on the 1986-1987 comic book limited series Watchmen by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons, the film adaptation stars Malin Akerman, Billy Crudup, Matt Frewer, Matthew Goode, Carla Gugino, Jackie Earle Haley, Stephen McHattie, Laura Mennell, Jeffrey Dean Morgan and Patrick Wilson. Set in an alternate-history 1985, Watchmen follows a group of former vigilantes as tensions heighten between the United States and the Soviet Union while an investigation of an apparent conspiracy against them uncovers something even more grandiose and sinister. The film began shooting in Vancouver in September 2007 and was released in both conventional and IMAX theaters on March 6, 2009. As with his previous film 300, Snyder closely modeled his storyboards on the comic, but he chose not to shoot all of Watchmen using chroma key and opted for more sets.

Following the series' publication, the film adaptation was mired in development hell. Producer Lawrence Gordon began developing the project at 20th Century Fox and Warner Bros. with producer Joel Silver and director Terry Gilliam, the latter eventually deeming the complex novel unfilmable. During the 2000s, Gordon and Lloyd Levin collaborated with Universal Studios and Paramount Pictures to produce a script by David Hayter. Darren Aronofsky and Paul Greengrass were also attached to the project before it was canceled over budget disputes. The project returned to Warner Bros., where Snyder was hired to direct – Paramount remained as international distributor. Fox sued Warner Bros. for copyright violation arising from Gordon's failure to pay a buy-out in 1991, which enabled him to develop the film at the other studios. Fox and Warner Bros. settled this before the film's release with Fox receiving a portion of the gross.

A DVD based on elements of the Watchmen universe is planned for release; it will include an animated adaptation of the comic Tales of the Black Freighter within the story, starring Gerard Butler, and the documentary Under the Hood, detailing the older generation of superheroes from the film's back-story. An extended edition of the film, with Tales of the Black Freighter interspersed through the main storyline in a manner reminiscent of the comic, is also forthcoming.

The film begins in 1985 in the apartment of Edward Blake. Blake fights an intruder, but is defeated. Prior to being thrown through a plate glass window and falling to his death, he remarks, grinning, "It's all a joke." Following this sequence is a montage of historical scenes painting an alternate history from World War II through the 1980s involving masked heroes. The montage includes historical events such as the assassination of John F. Kennedy and the Vietnam War. Due to the American victory in the Vietnam War, Richard Nixon is shown to be elected to his third term as President. By 1985, masked vigilantes have been outlawed and rising Cold War tensions with the Soviet Union threaten a devastating nuclear war.

With the police having no leads, the vigilante Rorschach decides to probe further. Discovering that Blake was the U.S. employed costumed hero, The Comedian, Rorschach believes he has discovered a plot to eliminate costumed heroes. He then sets about warning three of his retired comrades, Dan Dreiberg (formerly the second Nite Owl), the super powered and emotionally detached Doctor Manhattan and his lover Laurie Jupiter (the second Silk Spectre). Manhattan is working with a fourth former Watchman, Adrian Veidt (once the hero Ozymandias, and now a successful businessman), to develop "Sub Quantum Unifying Intrinsic Devices" (S.Q.U.I.D.s) - energy reactors - to provide free energy to the world. Dan visits Veidt at his offices to ask him about the possible conspiracy but makes no progress.

Appearing on a talk show to answer questions from the audience, Dr. Manhattan learns from a journalist that several of his former associates, including his former lover, Janey Slater, have died from or are dying of cancer. Believing that Manhattan's godlike powers were the cause, other journalists press on with the story. Manhattan, who has increasingly grown more detached from humanity since the accident that gave him his powers, exiles himself to Mars. Unfortunately, as his presence allowed the U.S. to win the Vietnam War, and keep Soviet aggression in check, Manhattan's exile gives the Russians the confidence to invade Afghanistan. With Soviet tanks rolling towards the Khyber Pass, President Nixon puts the US military on a war alert.

Having broken up with Manhattan, Laurie finds herself increasingly attached to Dan. After an unsuccessful attempt at having sex, they decide to come out of retirement after agreeing to become "costumed adventurers" again. They rescue a group of people from a burning building and passionately make love in Archie (short for Archimedes), Dan's Owlship. Meanwhile, Veidt survives an assassination attempt, and Rorschach is sent to prison after being framed for the murder of The Comedian's former enemy, Moloch the Mystic. Because he is responsible for the detention of many of the inmates, Rorschach has a large bounty placed on his head. A riot breaks out and both Nite Owl II and Silk Spectre II arrive to spring Rorschach from the prison. The former two defuse the riot while Rorschach kills an old enemy, the dwarf gang boss "Big Figure".

Dr. Manhattan returns to Earth and takes Laurie with him to Mars, telling her he no longer cares for the human race. Able to see his past and future, Manhattan informs Laurie that there will be a catastrophic event on Earth and denies her request to intervene. Manhattan uses his powers to bring up Laurie’s memories, during which they are surprised to learn that The Comedian, who had once tried to rape Laurie's mother Sally, was also her father. This discovery re-sparks Manhattan’s interest in humanity, and he returns to Earth with Laurie.

At the same time, Rorschach and Nite Owl II go to Veidt's office and hack into his computer, discovering that Veidt himself may be the mastermind behind The Comedian's death, Dr. Manhattan's exile and the framing of Rorschach. Rorschach leaves behind his journal denouncing Veidt's conspiracy, posting it to a newspaper office. Nite Owl II and Rorschach travel to Antarctica to confront Veidt in his retreat. Veidt, dressed as Ozymandias, informs them in the midst of a bruising physical battle that he was using Dr. Manhattan to carry out a plan to unify humanity by destroying the world's main cities. Veidt chides them for thinking him "a comic-book villain" by revealing his plan too early and informs the two that the plan had already been carried out 35 minutes earlier. All across the world, Dr. Manhattan's SQUIDs explode and obliterate their host cities, leaving 15 million dead. The Americans recognize the energy signatures as those of Dr. Manhattan and President Nixon announces an alliance with the Soviet Union to combat the new "common enemy".

Upon returning to Earth, Dr. Manhattan and Laurie teleport to the ruins of New York City. Realizing that Veidt was responsible, they confront him in his residence. After Veidt shows the heroes that his plan succeeded in ending global hostilities, Dr. Manhattan decides to exile himself to another galaxy rather than oppose Veidt. Rorschach, however, refuses to compromise and is vaporized by Manhattan when he declares that only death will stop him from exposing Veidt. Nite Owl, devastated and infuriated after witnessing Rorschach's death, attacks Veidt in a fit of rage, but Veidt does not resist or show signs of pain, which calms Nite Owl down. After talking to Veidt, he reluctantly agrees with Laurie to keep silent about the plan or else the threat of nuclear war will return.

The film ends with the world together in a united front against all dangers, thus ending the Cold War, and the devastated cities being rebuilt. The final scene shows a newspaper editor, annoyed at having nothing worthwhile to print, telling a young employee to find a good article from "The Crank File", a collection of crank letters, among which is Rorschach's journal.

Malin Åkerman as Laurie "Jupiter" Juspezyk / Silk Spectre II: Åkerman described her character as the psychology and the emotion of the film due to being the only woman among the men. The actress worked out and trained to fight for her portrayal of the crimefighter. Åkerman's latex costume and wig, which often stuck into the latex, did not permit a lot of protection when performing stunts, and she often bruised herself during filming. Åkerman pronounced Juspeczyk as "Juice-peck-it".

Patrick Wilson as Daniel Dreiberg / Nite Owl II: A retired superhero with technological experience. John Cusack, a fan of the comic book, expressed interest in the role. Snyder cast Wilson after watching 2006's Little Children, which also co-starred Haley. Wilson put on 25lbs to play the overweight Dreiberg. He compared Dreiberg to a soldier who returns from war who is unable to fit in with society again. Wilson said the fight style he was instructed to give Nite Owl was "heavy handed and power coordinated".

Jackie Earle Haley as Walter Kovacs / Rorschach: A masked vigilante who continues his vigilante activities after they are outlawed. Unlike the other five principal actors, Haley had read the comic and was keen to pursue the role when he heard he had become a favorite candidate among fans. He and fourteen friends put together his audition, where he performed scenes from the comic. Haley "almost went nuts" trying to reconcile his understanding of complex human behavior with Rorschach's moral absolutism, stating the character made him wonder if people generally just make excuses for their bad actions. Rorschach wears a mask with ink blots: motion capture markers were put on the contours of Haley's blank mask, for animators to create his ever-changing expressions. Haley found the mask "incredibly motivating for the character" because of its confining design, which heated up quickly. Small holes were made in the mask for him to see. Haley has a black belt in Kenpō, but described Rorshach's attack patterns as sloppier and more aggressive due to the character's boxing background.

Billy Crudup as Dr. Jon Osterman / Doctor Manhattan: A superhero with genuine powers who works for the U.S. government. The role was once pursued by actor Keanu Reeves, but the actor abandoned his pursuit when the studio held up the project over budget concerns. As well as playing Osterman in flashback as a human, for his post-accident scenes as Dr. Manhattan, Crudup is replaced in the film with a motion-capture CG version of himself. During filming, Crudup acted opposite his co-stars, wearing a white suit covered in blue LEDs, so he would give off an otherworldly glow in real life, just as the computer-generated Manhattan does in the movie. Dr. Manhattan is supposed to be a God-like being who after his accident tries to create the perfect human form complete with an ultra-ripped physique and extreme musculature. For this purpose, his body was modeled on that of fitness model and actor Greg Plitt. The crew then 3D-digitized Crudup's head and "frankensteined it onto Greg Plitt's body". Crudup had to keep thinking of the character in the comic, because he felt ridiculous in the LED suit. Crudup deemed it fortunate he did not have to wear prosthetics or fit into a rubber costume like the other actors though, and would remind them of this when they made jokes about his appearance. Snyder chose not to electronically alter Crudup's voice for Manhattan, explaining the character "would try and put everyone as much at ease as he could, instead of having a robotic voice that I think would feel off-putting".

Matthew Goode as Adrian Veidt / Ozymandias: A retired superhero who has since made his identity public. The role of Ozymandias was originally connected to actors Jude Law, Lee Pace, and Tom Cruise (who Snyder felt would have been better as Manhattan), but they left the project behind due to the studio's delay in handling the budget. Snyder said Goode was "big and tall and lean", which aided in bringing "this beautiful ageless, Aryan superman" feel to the character. Goode interpreted Veidt's backstory to portray him with a German accent in private and an American one in public; Goode explained Veidt gave up his family's wealth and travelled the world, becoming a self-made man because he was ashamed of his parents' Nazi past, which in turn highlighted the themes of the American Dream and the character's duality. Because of the German-born depiction of Veidt, Goode pronounced his surname as "Vight". Goode had been "very worried about my casting", feeling he was "not the physical type for . Yet Zack was adamant and reassuring and made me feel at ease". Snyder said Goode "fit the bill.... We were having a hard time casting , because we needed someone handsome, beautiful and sophisticated, and that's a tough combo".

Carla Gugino as Sally Jupiter / Silk Spectre: A retired superheroine, mother of Laurie Juspeczyk and the first Silk Spectre. Gugino's character ages from 25 years old in the 1940s to 67 years old in the 1980s, and the 37-year-old actress wore prosthetics to reflect the aging process. Gugino described her character's superhero outfit as an influence of Bettie Page-meets-Alberto Vargas. The actress donned the trademark hairdo of the character, though it was shaped to be more plausible for the film. She also posed for the Alberto Vargas-style pin-ups of her character and a painting meant to be done by Norman Rockwell, which she enjoyed because she was fascinated by Vargas.

Matt Frewer as Edgar Jacobi / Moloch the Mystic: An elderly rehabilitated criminal, known when he was younger as an underworld kingpin and magician.

Stephen McHattie as Hollis Mason / Nite Owl: The first vigilante to take up the mantle of the Nite Owl.

Danny Woodburn as Big Figure: A dwarf crime boss whom Rorschach and Nite Owl put in prison fifteen years prior.

Niall Matter as Byron Lewis / Mothman: He is not a main focus of the storyline, but appears in flashbacks, at one point reduced in his later years to fragile sanity.

Dan Payne as Bill Brady / Dollar Bill: A first-generation crimefighter who caught his cape in a revolving door during a bank robbery and was shot to death. Payne is a fan of the comic and shot his scenes over four days, both for his cameo in the theatrical cut and the fictionalized DVD documentary.

Apollonia Vanova as Ursula Zandt / Silhouette: A former member of The Minutemen who was forced into retirement after her status as a lesbian became public knowledge. She and her partner were later murdered by a former arch villain.

Glenn Ennis as Rolf Müller / Hooded Justice: The first masked vigilante to appear in the 1930's. Was involved in a sham relationship with the first Silk Spectre to hide his homosexuality. Later thought to be killed by the Comedian.

Darryl Scheelar as Nelson Gardner / Captain Metropolis: An ex-Marine and one of the founding members of the Minutemen.

Doug Chapman as Roy Chess: A hired assassin who tries to kill Ozymandias. Doug Chapman was also the Canadian stunt coordinator for the movie, and performed as a stunt double and stunt performer.

Production for Watchmen began casting in July 2007 for look-alikes of the era's famous names for the film, including Richard Nixon, Leonid Brezhnev, Henry Kissinger, H. R. Haldeman, Ted Koppel, John McLaughlin, Annie Leibovitz, John Lennon and Yoko Ono, Fidel Castro, Albert Einstein, Norman Rockwell, John F. Kennedy and Jackie Kennedy, Andy Warhol, Truman Capote, Mao Zedong, Larry King, David Bowie, Mick Jagger, and the Village People. Snyder said he wanted younger actors due to the many flashback scenes, and it was easier to age actors with make-up rather than cast two actors in the same role. Snyder's son cameos as a young Rorschach, while the director himself appears as an American soldier in Vietnam. Actor Thomas Jane said in June 2007 that Snyder had expressed interest in casting him in the film.

In August 1986, producer Lawrence Gordon acquired the film rights to Watchmen for 20th Century Fox, with producer Joel Silver working on the film. Fox asked author Alan Moore to write a screenplay based on his story, but when Moore declined the studio enlisted screenwriter Sam Hamm. On September 9, 1988, Hamm turned in his first draft, but said that condensing a 338-page, nine-panel-a-page comic book into a 128-page script was arduous. He took the liberty of re-writing Watchmen's complicated ending into a "more manageable" conclusion involving an assassination and a time paradox. Fox put the film into turnaround in 1991, and Gordon set up the project at a new company, Largo International, with Fox distributing the film. Although Largo closed three years later, Fox was promised that they would be involved if the project was revived.

Gordon and Silver moved the project to Warner Bros., where Terry Gilliam was attached to direct. Unsatisfied with how Hamm's script fleshed out the characters, Gilliam brought in Charles McKeown to rewrite it. The second draft, which was credited to Gilliam, Warren Skaaren, and Hamm rather than McKeown, used the character Rorschach's diary as a voice-over, and restored scenes from the comic book that Hamm had removed. According to Watchmen artist Dave Gibbons, Silver wanted to cast Arnold Schwarzenegger as Doctor Manhattan. Filming was to take place at Pinewood Studios. Because both Gilliam and Silver's previous films, The Adventures of Baron Munchausen and Die Hard 2 respectively, went over budget, they were only able to raise $25 million for the film – a quarter of the necessary budget. As a result, Gilliam abandoned the project, and ultimately decided that Watchmen was unfilmable. Gilliam explained, "Reducing to a two or two-and-a-half hour film seemed to me to take away the essence of what Watchmen is about." When Warner Bros. dropped the project, Gordon invited Gilliam back to helm the film independently. The director again declined, believing that the comic book would be better directed as a five-hour miniseries.

In October 2001, Gordon and Universal Studios signed screenwriter David Hayter to write and direct Watchmen in a "seven-figure deal". Hayter hoped to begin filming in early 2002, but did not turn in his first draft until July 2002. In May 2003, Hayter said he had Alan Moore's blessing on the film, despite Moore's disagreement with the project since its first incarnation. In July 2003, Watchmen producer Lloyd Levin announced the completion of Hayter's script, which he called "a great adaptation that absolutely celebrates the book". Ultimately, Hayter and the producers left Universal due to creative differences, and in October 2003, Gordon and Levin expressed interest in setting up Watchmen at Revolution Studios. The pair intended to shoot the film in Prague, but the project fell apart at Revolution Studios.

In July 2004, it was announced Paramount Pictures would produce Watchmen, and they hired Darren Aronofsky to direct Hayter's script. Gordon and Levin remained attached, collaborating with Aronofsky's producing partner, Eric Watson. Eventually, Aronofsky left to focus on The Fountain, and Paramount replaced him with Paul Greengrass, with a target release date of summer 2006. At this time, Simon Pegg was involved in negotiations to portray Rorschach, while Daniel Craig, Jude Law, and Sigourney Weaver were also interested in the film. Greengrass wanted Joaquin Phoenix for Doctor Manhattan. To publicize the film, Paramount launched a now-defunct Watchmen teaser website that had a message board as well as computer wallpaper available to download. Graphic artist Tristan Schane drew designs of Dr. Manhattan for the film, which depicted him with visible intestines. Gilliam read Greengrass's revision of Hayter's script and liked it, but told the director he did not think the studio would greenlight such a dark film. In March 2005, with rumors that high-profile projects, including Watchmen, were in danger of being cut, Paramount's CEO Donald De Line began urging a reduction in Watchmen's budget so the film could get the greenlight. When Brad Grey took over as Paramount’s CEO, Levin feared potential budget cuts, so he made plans to move the project outside the UK in an effort to save money. Before he could, Paramount placed Watchmen in turnaround, again.

In October 2005, Gordon and Levin began talks with Warner Bros., originally the second studio to be attached to Watchmen, and confirmed in December 2005 that Warner Bros. had picked up the film, but that Greengrass was no longer attached to direct. In addition, the film was marked as an "open writing assignment", which meant David Hayter's script would be put aside. Despite this change, Hayter expressed his hope that his script would be used by Warner Bros. and that he would be attached to direct his "dream project".

After Warner Bros. officially became involved, the studio claimed that because Paramount had not fully reimbursed Universal for its development costs, Paramount had no legal claim over the film rights. Therefore, it would not be entitled to co-finance the film with Warner Bros. After negotiations between the studios, they agreed that Paramount would own 25% of the film and would distribute it outside North America. Impressed with Zack Snyder's work on the film 300, an adaptation of Frank Miller's comic book of the same name, Warner Bros. approached him to direct an adaptation of Watchmen. After spending a couple of weeks deciding whether he wanted to direct the film or not, Warner Bros. officially announced Snyder’s hiring on June 23, 2006, with Alex Tse attached to write the script. Drawing from "the best elements" from two of Hayter’s drafts, Tse’s script returned to the original Cold War setting of the Watchmen comic. Warner Bros. was open to keeping the 1980s setting, although less so to the R-rating that Snyder wanted; Snyder also decided to add a title montage sequence to introduce the audience to the alternate history of the United States that the film presented. Snyder kept the ending from one of Hayter's drafts, which simplified details of the conspiracy within the story, because he felt it would allow more screen time to explore characters' backstories.

Snyder said that he wanted the film to hold the same level of detail that was contained within the comic, with all of the easter eggs that were hidden within each frame of the comic’s panels. As such, Snyder used the comic book as his storyboard, travelling with a copy and making notes on its pages. Next to the novel, Snyder cited Taxi Driver and Seven as visual influences. To make the film more topical, Snyder emphasized the existing subplot concerning energy resources, but he decided replacing Richard Nixon with Ronald Reagan would alienate American viewers. Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman met with Snyder twice during the later stages of pre-production to further revise the script, although Snyder explained the script was merely a document for the studio, and it was his storyboards that were his true guide while making the movie. James Kakalios, author of The Physics of Superheroes, was also hired as a scientific consultant.

Snyder hoped to have principal photography take place from June–September 2007, but filming was delayed until September 17, 2007. Snyder wanted a $150 million budget, but Warner Bros. preferred the budget remain under $100 million; the film ultimately finished with a budget of approximately $120 million. The production took place in Vancouver, where a New York City back lot was built. Sound stages were used for apartments and offices, while sequences on Mars and Antarctica were shot against green screens. Sony Pictures Imageworks and Intelligent Creatures came on board to work on the visual effects for the film.

Comic book artists Adam Hughes and John Cassaday were hired to work on character and costume designs for the film. Costume tests were being done by March 2007. 300 associate producer Wesley Coller portrayed Rorschach in a costume test, which Snyder inserted into a trailer that accompanied the release of 300. Although he intended to stay faithful to the look of the characters in the comic, Snyder wanted Nite Owl to look scarier and Ozymandias to possess authentic Egyptian attire and artifacts. Ultimately, Nite Owl and Silk Spectre changed most from the comic, as Snyder felt "audiences might not appreciate the naiveté of the original costumes. So, there has been some effort to give them a modern look — and not modern in the sense of 2007, but modern in terms of the superhero aesthetic". Costume designer Michael Wilkinson added that the costumes had to look realistic and protective, and that the Nite Owl costume should reflect Dan's interest in aerodynamics. The chain mail in his costume resemble a bird's feathers. Snyder also wanted the costumes to "comment directly on many of today’s modern masked vigilantes": The Ozymandias costume, with its molded muscles and nipples, parodies the costumes in Batman Forever (1995) and Batman & Robin (1997). Throughout filming, Snyder also kept adding in dialogue to mention more of the characters' backstories so the film would be as faithful as possible.

Production designer Alex McDowell intended Nixon's war room to pay tribute to the war room in the film Dr. Strangelove. He also wanted Dr. Manhattan's apartment, which is inside his laboratory, to look like the work of Maison Jansen, explaining that "the powers that be, who know nothing about design, but needed to feel like he was the most important guy in America". The apartment also echoes the film The Man Who Fell To Earth, with a book prop named Masterpieces in Paint and Poetry and a tennis courtroom with similar wallpaper. Set designers selected four Kansas City sculptors' works for use on the set of Dr. Manhattan's apartment, after discovering their works on the Internet. Filming ended on February 19, 2008.

Composer Tyler Bates began scoring Watchmen in November 2007. He planned to visit the shoot for a week during each month, and view assembly cuts of scenes to begin rough composing. Snyder and Bates listened to the soundtracks of 1980s films such as Manhunter, Blade Runner, and To Live and Die in L.A. for inspiration. Bates switched between a Yamaha CS-80 or an MOTM for moments that he felt should have more ambience or synthesizers. Snyder wanted a scene where Nite Owl and Silk Spectre rescue people from a burning building to have a more traditional superhero feel, so Bates implemented a four to the floor guitar rhythm. A 64-strong choir and the 87-piece ensemble from the Hollywood Studio Symphony were hired for the more orchestral themes.

The film uses some of the songs mentioned in the comic, including Bob Dylan's "The Times They Are a-Changin'", which is played over the opening montage; Jimi Hendrix's cover of Dylan's "All Along the Watchtower"; Simon & Garfunkel's "The Sounds of Silence"; the German version of Nena's "99 Luftballons"; a musak version of Tears For Fears' "Everybody Wants To Rule The World"; and Nat King Cole's "Unforgettable". Many of the period songs were up-mixed to 5.1 surround for the film using the Penteo process. Bates said the challenge was composing music that would transition effectively into these famous songs. Snyder and Bates received Dylan's permission to use the stems from "The Times They Are a-Changin'" so the three-minute song could play over the six minute opening. The movie's graphic sexual encounter between Nite Owl II and Silk Spectre II aboard the Owl Ship is set to the tune of Leonard Cohen's Hallelujah. Originally Zack Snyder used a recording of the song by Allison Crowe for this controversial scene, but decided Crowe's version was "too romantic" and "too sexy" for a scene that is intended to come across as ironic and "ridiculous". Snyder ended up placing a Cohen live version in this scene. My Chemical Romance, whose members are fans of the comic, covered Dylan's "Desolation Row" for the first half of the closing credits.

Two albums, Watchmen: Music From the Motion Picture and Watchmen: Original Motion Picture Score were released on February 24, 2009 by Warner Sunset and Reprise Records. Additionally, a 12" vinyl picture disc was released on January 27, 2009. The A-side features My Chemical Romance's cover version of "Desolation Row", and the B-side features "Prison Fight" composed by Tyler Bates for the film's score. Both songs will also be featured on the Music From the Motion Picture and Original Motion Picture Soundtrack albums, respectively. A box set consisting of seven 7" picture disks will be released on March 24, 2009. This set will also include My Chemical Romance performing "Desolation Row", as well as thirteen tracks from the Tyler Bates score.

In November 2006, Zack Snyder said that he hoped to speak to Moore before filming, though the writer had sworn off involvement with film or television productions after his disagreement over the V for Vendetta film adaptation. Moore signed a deal to go uncredited on the film, and for his share of the income be given to Gibbons, as he had done on V for Vendetta. Before filming began, Snyder said, " totally respect his wishes to not be involved in the movie." Moore expressed discontent over the choice of the director, saying that he "had a lot of problems" with the comic book 300 and that, while he had not seen it, he had heard that Snyder's film adaptation was racist, homophobic, and "sublimely stupid".

In an early interview with Entertainment Weekly's Ken Tucker, Watchmen artist Dave Gibbons said that he thought the time had passed to make a Watchmen movie. Gibbons felt that the window to make a Watchmen movie was during the success of the 1989 Batman film. When that time passed, Gibbons also told Neon magazine that he was " glad because it wouldn't have been up to the book". Gibbons felt it would probably be better adapted as a television series like The Prisoner. When given the opportunity, Gibbons enjoyed the script by Alex Tse. Gibbons gave Snyder some script advice, which the director accepted. He drew licensing art for the film, consulted on merchandise and the webcomics, publicizing the film with Snyder, and wrote a tie-in book about the creation of the comic, entitled Watching the Watchmen. Moore did not mind Gibbons' involvement and felt it did not have any impact on their friendship. Snyder asked Gibbons to draw up a storyboard for the film's altered ending, which the comics' colorist John Higgins also returned to work on. Gibbons believed watching the film on DVD would emulate flipping through the book, with viewers pausing or rewinding the film to catch details.

Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment published an episodic video game to be released alongside the film called Watchmen: The End Is Nigh. Warner Bros. took this low-key approach to avoid rushing the game on such a tight schedule, as most games adapted from films are panned by critics and gamers. The game is set in the 1970s, and is written by Len Wein, the comic's editor; Dave Gibbons is also an advisor. On March 4, 2009 Glu Mobile released Watchmen: The Mobile Game, a beat 'em up mobile game featuring Nite Owl and The Comedian fighting enemies in their respective settings of New York City and Vietnam. On March 6, 2009, a game for the Apple iPhone and iPod Touch platform was released, titled Watchmen: Justice is Coming. Though highly anticipated, this mobile title suffered from serious game play and network issues which have yet to be resolved.

As a promotion for the film, Warner Bros. Entertainment released Watchmen: Motion Comics, a series of narrated animations of the original comic book. The first chapter was released for purchase in the summer of 2008 on digital video stores, such as iTunes Store and Amazon Video on Demand. DC Direct released action figures based on the film in January 2009. Director Zack Snyder also set up a YouTube contest petitioning Watchmen fans to create faux commercials of products made by the fictional Veidt Enterprises. The producers also released two short video pieces online, which were intended to be viral videos designed as fictional backstory pieces, with one being a 1970 newscast marking the 10th anniversary of the public appearance of Dr. Manhattan. The other was a short propaganda film promoting the Keene Act of 1977, which made it illegal to be a superhero without government support. An official viral marketing web site, The New Frontiersman, is named after the tabloid magazine featured in the graphic novel, and contains teasers styled as declassified documents. DC Comics reissued Watchmen #1 for the original cover price of $1.50 on December 10, 2008; no other issues are to be reprinted.

Snyder's first cut of the film was three hours long. In keeping the film tight, Snyder dubbed himself "the gatekeeper" of the comic's easter eggs, "while conspire to say, 'No. Length, length, length. Playability.' I've lost perspective on that now, because to me, the honest truth is I geek out on little stuff now as much as anybody. Like, people will go, 'We've got to cut. You don't need that shot of Hollis Mason's garage sign.' And I'm like, 'What are you talking about? Of course you do. Are you crazy? How will people enjoy the movie without shit like that in it?' So it's hard for me." Snyder cut the film down to 165 minutes, then 157 when he realized there was a way to further trim the film: the murder of Hollis Mason, the first Nite Owl, which "was easy without destroying the movie".

Tales of the Black Freighter, a fictional comic within the Watchmen limited series, will be adapted as a direct-to-video animated feature from Warner Premiere and Warner Bros. Animation, and will be released on March 24, 2009. It was originally included in the script, but was cut due to the $20 million it would have cost to film it in the stylized manner, reminiscent of 300, that Snyder wanted. Snyder considered including the animated film in the final cut, but the film was already approaching a three hour running time. Gerard Butler, who starred in 300, voices the Captain in the animated feature, having been promised a role in the live-action film that never materialized. Jared Harris voices his deceased friend Ridley, whom the Captain hallucinates is talking to him. Snyder had Butler and Harris record their parts together.

The Tales of the Black Freighter DVD will also include Under the Hood, a documentary detailing the characters' backstories, which takes its title from that of Hollis Mason's memoirs in the comic book. Under the Hood is rated PG because of the friendly public image of the characters. The actors were allowed to improvise during filming interviews in character. The film itself is scheduled to be released on DVD four months after Tales of the Black Freighter, and Warner Bros. will release a director's cut and the extended version in July 2009, with the animated film edited back into the main picture. Snyder said if the film does well enough, the director's cut will be simultaneously theatrically released in New York and Los Angeles. In addition, the Watchmen: Motion Comics, which appeared in digital video stores, will also be released on DVD on March 3 and include an exclusive scene from the movie.

On February 14, 2008, 20th Century Fox brought a lawsuit against Warner Bros. that alleged copyright infringement on the Watchmen film property. The studio believed it held the rights to produce the film, or at least distribute it, no matter how many studios Watchmen passed through, and sought to block its release. Warner Bros. said that Fox repeatedly failed to exercise its rights over various incarnations of the production. Through producer Lawrence Gordon, Fox had bought the rights to the comic book in 1986. Fox alleges that when it put the project into turnaround in 1994, a separate 1991 deal that transferred some of the rights to Gordon still gave them the option of distribution, sequel rights, and a share of the profits should it be made by any other studio. Fox's interpretation of the 1994 turnaround deal also meant that Gordon would not fully control the rights until the studio's development costs—estimated by Fox at $1 million—had been reimbursed. Despite originally passing on the project, Fox also alleged that its agreement with Gordon contained a "changed elements" clause, meaning that if Gordon changed any of the key creative personnel on the film, Fox would have first option on participation, claiming that Gordon did not inform them of Snyder's joining the production in 2005.

Fox alleged that it contacted Warner Bros. before production began in 2005, and told the studio that it had violated Fox's 1991 and 1994 deals with Gordon. Warner Bros. claimed that it was originally unaware of either deal, and that in 2005 Fox had declined to produce the Hayter screenplay that formed the basis of the production. Warner Bros. also claimed that the 1994 deal did not cover distribution rights and had conferred upon Gordon all the rights he needed to take the film to Warner Bros. The studio's motion to dismiss the case in August 2008 was rejected by the judge.

On December 24, 2008, Judge Gary A. Feess granted 20th Century Fox's claim to a copyright interest in the film. An attorney for 20th Century Fox said that the studio would seek an order to delay the release of Watchmen. Producer Lloyd Levin revealed in an open letter that in 2005 both Fox and Warner Bros. were offered the chance to make Watchmen. Fox passed on the project while Warner Bros. made a deal to acquire the movie rights and move forward with development. An internal Fox email documented that executives at Fox felt the script was "one of the most unintelligible pieces of shit they had read in years". On January 15, 2009, the trade press reported that Fox and Warner Bros. had reached a settlement. Fox would receive a share of the box office, but no future ownership of the film. The settlement awarded Fox up to $10 million in development costs and legal fees, plus worldwide gross participation scaling from 5 to 8.5 percent.

Watchmen was released at midnight on March 6, 2009, and earned an estimated $4.6 million for the early showing, which is approximately twice as much as 300, Snyder's previous comic book adaptation. The film earned $24,515,772 in 3,611 theaters its first day, followed by $18,383,964 and $12,314,598 for Saturday and Sunday, bringing its opening weekend to $55,214,334. Watchmen's opening weekend is the highest of any Alan Moore adaptation to date, surpassing V for Vendetta (2006) at $25,642,340, The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (2003) at $23,075,892, and From Hell (2001) at $11,014,818; its opening is also greater than the entire box office take of From Hell, which ended its theatrical run with $31,602,566. Although the film only finished with $55 million for its opening, while Snyder's previous adaptation 300 earned $70 million in its opening weekend, Warner Bros.' head of distribution, Dan Fellman, believes that you cannot compare the two films because the extended running time of Watchmen—the film comes in at 2 hours and 45 minutes, while 300 is just under 2 hours—provides the 2009 film with much fewer showings a night than 300. Although Watchmen receives fewer showings a night in each theater, it was released in 508 more theaters than 300 received (3,103). Next to the general theaters, Watchmen pulled in $5.4 million at 124 IMAX screens, which is the second largest opening behind The Dark Knight (2008).

Thanks to its opening weekend, Watchmen currently sits third in all time openings for the month of March, as well as the third highest grossing weekend for the spring season, which is defined by the first Friday in March through to the first Thursday in the month of May. It is the sixth largest opening for an R-rated film in North American history, and is currently the highest grossing R-rated film of 2009. Watchmen currently sits as the thirteenth highest grossing film based on a DC Comics comic book, and the eighth highest grossing film of 2009.

Next to its domestic opening, Watchmen earned $26.6 million in 45 territories overseas; of these, Britain and France had the highest box office with an estimated $4.6 million and $2.5 million, respectively. Watchmen also took in approximately $2.3 million in Russia, $2.3 million in Australia, $1.6 million in Italy, and $1.4 million in Korea. As of March 13, 2009, the film has earned $65,325,234 in North American and $26,632,667 in foreign box office, bringing its worldwide total to $91,957,901.

Based on 243 reviews collected by Rotten Tomatoes, Watchmen currently has a 65% approval rating from critics, with an average score of 6.2/10. Among Rotten Tomatoes' Cream of the Crop, which consists of popular and notable critics from the top newspapers, websites, television and radio programs, the film holds an overall approval rating of 43%. By comparison, Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream critics, the film has received an average score of 56, based on 39 reviews. CinemaScore polls reported that the average grade cinemagoers gave the film was "B" on an A+ to F scale, and that the primary audience was older men.

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Saturday Morning Watchmen

Screenshot of the Watchmen gathered together.

Saturday Morning Watchmen stylized itself after the intros to 1980s saturday morning cartoons. The video begins with Ozymandias calling the watchman to stop the "Reds" form polluting a lake. The video then introduces the various Watchmen as comrades and lovable crimefighters. The characters dance, eat pizza, and teach lessons like saying no to drugs and getting to bed on time. A rock theme song plays, and the team unites in front of a logo at the clip's end.

The short film claims to be a 1980s television version of Watchmen, and features Rorschach, Ozymandias, Silk Spectre II, The Comedian, Doctor Manhattan, Nite Owl, Bubastis, and the giant squid from the comics. Concepts like Ozymandias' television room and Nite Owl's hovercraft also appear in the video. However, many of the comics concepts appear reversed, a slight at the sanitation of 80s programming. Nite Owl, a troubled and timid man in the comics, is portrayed as a carefree leader, and Rorschach appears as a "nutty" character who is "friends to the animals". In addition, it depicts the Comedian as being attracted to Silk Spectre II, who is his daughter in the graphic novel. The video also changes the comic's opening scene, having Ozymandias save The Comedian from falling out of a window rather than pushing him.

The video features numerous elements of 80s saturday morning cartoons, including an opening rock theme song and a sanitation of dark themes and characters. It also mocks the commercial nature that led cartoons to contain cheap animation and play off the popularity of established work.

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The Watchmen (novel)

The Watchmen is a novel by John Altman published in 2004.

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The Watchmen

The Watchmen were a Canadian rock band. They were one of the most commercially successful Canadian alternative rock groups of the mid to late 1990s.

The group was formed in 1988 in Winnipeg, Manitoba by vocalist Daniel Greaves, guitarist Joey Serlin, bassist Pete Loewen and Greaves' first cousin, drummer Sammy Kohn. Serlin was a comic fan and named the group after the DC comic.

The band was discovered by producer Chris Wardman while playing at Toronto's Horseshoe Tavern. Wardman offered to produce the band, and they released their debut album, McLaren Furnace Room, in 1992. (The album was named for one of the band's rehearsal spaces, the furnace room of the McLaren Hotel in Winnipeg.) The album was released by Wardman's Sumo Productions and distributed by MCA records. The single "Cracked" garnered the band significant airplay on rock stations, but was quickly eclipsed by the anti-spousal abuse anthem "Run and Hide", which became the band's breakthrough hit.

In 1993, Loewen left the band amicably to spend more time with his family. At the urging of Watchmen manager Jake Gold, Newfoundlander Ken Tizzard auditioned and replaced Loewen as the group's new bassist. Members of the Watchmen have commented that Tizzard's recruitment sparked a change in band dynamics and songwriting: before Tizzard joined the group, most the songs were written by Serlin alone; afterwards, the majority of songs were group compositions, with Serlin and Greaves sharing lyric-writing duties.

In October 1993, the band won the annual Discovery To Disc contest held by Toronto's CFNY-FM radio station (better known as 102.1 The Edge). The contest, which aimed to support new Canadian alternative rock artists, awarded the group $100,000 to go towards recording expenses.

The band's second album, In The Trees, was released on MCA records in July 1994. The record was a major success, confirming the band's place in Canadian rock with the hit singles "Boneyard Tree", "All Uncovered" and "Lusitana". The album was certified Platinum in Canada after selling over 100,000 copies.

Their 1996 album Brand New Day was not as well-received by critics or audiences -- "Zoom", "Incarnate" and "Shut Up" were moderately successful singles, but none achieved the kind of success that the band's earlier singles had. Nevertheless, the band launched an extensive tour of Canada and Europe which lasted into 1997.

Following the Silent Radar tour, Sammy Kohn amicably left the band to work in the music business. The band had been experimenting with electronic and industrial textures prior to Kohn's departure, and performed tracks with electronic features live during Kohn's final tour with the band. After Kohn's exit, the Watchmen moved sharply towards electronica, using programmed electronic drums on new recordings rather than recruiting a new live drummer.

The Watchmen's 2001 album Slomotion saw the remaining members experimenting with more industrial textures and making use of a drum machine to replace Kohn. The band also packaged the album with a second greatest hits disc. The album was, however, poorly received, with only the single "Absolutely Anytime" gaining any radio airplay. Drummer Ryan Ahoff joined as an auxiliary member for the subsequent tour, and the band performed with a mixture of live drums and programmed drum tracks on its newer, more electronic material.

In November 2003 the band decided to go their separate ways. However, they decided that before they did so, they would perform one last short tour across Canada as a "Thank You" to their fans. The tour was called "The Watchman's Last Road Trip" and included 9 concerts in 6 Canadian cities and 1 American city. Ahoff again joined the band for the tour which also saw a guest appearance by original bassist Pete Loewen during the encore of their last show in their hometown of Winnipeg on December 20, 2003.

The band subsequently disbanded. Greaves went on to form Doctor with Rob Higgins, Tizzard joined Thornley, and Serlin appeared on Ryan Malcolm's debut album before forming his own new band, Redline. Greaves and Tizzard occasionally perform together as the electronic duo Audio Playground High + Wide.

The "classic" lineup of Greaves, Serlin, Kohn and Tizzard have announced a small reunion tour. Kohn convinced the other members to take part in the reunion tour after showing them a myspace page where fans still talked about their favourite songs, and performances. The Watchmen played at Maverick's in Ottawa on September 19, 2008 and Horseshoe Tavern in Toronto on September 26 & 27, 2008. They played a short 45 minute set as part of Powerball in Winnipeg at the MTS Centre on October 30, 2008. They have a show scheduled in Calgary on October 31, 2008 at The Gateway. A show in Barrie, ON was cancelled until further notice after renovations to the venue were not completed on time.

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Source : Wikipedia