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File: WATCHMEN

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WatchmenWatchmen is a 2009 American superhero film directed by Zack Snyder and starring Malin Akerman, Billy Crudup, Matthew Goode, Jackie Earle Haley, Jeffrey Dean Morgan and Patrick Wilson. It is an adaptation of the comic book of the same name by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons. The film is set in an alternate history 1985 at the height of the Cold War between the United States and the Soviet Union, as a group of mostly retired vigilantes investigates an apparent conspiracy against them and uncovers something even more grandiose and sinister.

Following publication of the Watchmen comic, a live-action film adaptation was mired in development hell. Producer Lawrence Gordon began developing the project at 20th Century Fox and Warner Bros. (parent company of Watchmen publisher DC Comics) 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. Principal photography began in Vancouver, September, 2007. As with his previous film 300, Snyder closely modeled his storyboards on the comic, but chose not to shoot all of Watchmen using chroma key and opted for more sets.

The film was released in both conventional and IMAX theaters on March 6, 2009, grossing $55 million on the opening weekend, and grossed over $185 million at the worldwide box office. It divided film critics; some gave it overwhelmingly positive reviews for the dark and unique take on the superhero genre, while others derided it for the same reason, as well as the R-rating, the running time, and the much-publicized accuracy to the graphic novel. A DVD based on elements of the Watchmen universe was released, including 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. A director's cut with 24 minutes of additional footage was released in July 2009; the "Ultimate Cut", incorporating the Tales of the Black Freighter content into the narrative as it was in the original graphic novel, was released on November 3, 2009.

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