Yikes -- Warner Bros. obviously landed on Santa's naughty list this year. The New York Times reports that the judge has ruled in favor of Fox Studios. Sayeth the Honorable Judge Feess "Fox owns a copyright interest consisting of, at the very least, the right to distribute the Watchmen motion picture."

This comes as quite a surprise since last we heard, the judge didn't have enough information to make a ruling, and was moving the trial to January 20th. Judge Feess indicated he would make a more detailed ruling soon.

Warner Bros. has declined to comment, and as of now, has not backed off the film's planned release date of March 6. I can hear you all crying (and I hope it's in your very best Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer voice) "There goes Watchmen, and there goes Christmas!" But it's highly doubtful Watchmen will lose its release date. There's no need to panic. Feess advised Fox and Warner Bros to look towards a settlement or appeal. "The parties may wish to turn their efforts from preparing for trial to negotiating a resolution of this dispute or positioning the case for review." So, expect a major payoff from Warner Bros. (and maybe those rumored Batman television show rights) to Fox in order that we'll still be at that March 6th show. And you thought a lump of coal was bad.