The Full Wiki

Watchmen (film): Map


Wikipedia article:

Map showing all locations mentioned on Wikipedia article:

Watchmen is a 2009 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. Set in an alternate-history 1985, tensions heighten between the United Statesmarker and the Soviet Unionmarker as a group of former 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 Vancouvermarker, September, 2007. As with his previous film 300, Snyder closely modeled his storyboards on the comic, but chose to not 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 like in the original graphic novel, was released on November 3, 2009.


The story takes place in an alternate timeline in which masked, costumed vigilantes fight crime in America, originally in response to a rise in masked and costumed gangs and criminals. In the 1930s and '40s, the vigilantes formed a group called the Minutemen to "finish what the law couldn't." The original lineup mostly suffered early and violent deaths in action, or became suicides, or were arrested for breaking the law themselves, or in one case was committed to an asylum. Decades later, a second generation of "superheroes" attempts to form a similar team called the Watchmen. Various historical events are shown to have been altered by the existence of superheroes, such as the assassination of John F. Kennedymarker and the Vietnam War. The American victory in Vietnam, due to the intervention of the godlike being Doctor Manhattan, leads to Richard Nixon's third term as President following the repeal of term limits in the United States. By the 1980s, however, the Watchmen have been outlawed by Congress after an outpouring of anti-vigilante sentiment in the country, and tensions between the United Statesmarker and the Soviet Unionmarker have escalated the Cold War with threats of nuclear attack.

By 1985, only two adventurers remain active: the Comedian and Doctor Manhattan, both of whom act with government sanction, and the masked vigilante Rorschach, who refuses to retire and remains active illegally. Investigating the murder of government agent Edward Blake, Rorschach discovers that Blake was the Comedian, concluding that someone is trying to eliminate the original Watchmen. He goes off to warn his former comrades—the emotionally detached Dr. Jon Osterman (Doctor Manhattan) and his lover Laurie Jupiter (Silk Spectre), Daniel Dreiberg (Nite Owl), and Adrian Veidt (Ozymandias)—but he makes little progress.

After Blake's funeral, Dr. Manhattan is accused of causing the cancers afflicting his former girlfriend and colleagues from before the accident that turned him into the being he is now. Manhattan exiles himself to Mars, giving the Soviet Union the confidence to invade Afghanistan in his absence. Later, Rorschach's conspiracy theory appears to be justified when Adrian, who had long since made his identity as Ozymandias public before retiring, narrowly avoids an assassination attempt, and Rorschach finds himself framed for murder.

Meanwhile Jupiter, after breaking up with Manhattan, falls in love with Dreiberg, and the two former superheroes come out of retirement as they grow closer. After breaking Rorschach out of prison alongside Nite Owl, Silk Spectre is confronted by Manhattan. He takes her to Mars and, after she asks him to save the world, explains he is no longer interested in humanity. Probing her memories, he discovers the Comedian was her father. His interest in humanity renewed, Manhattan returns to Earth with Silk Spectre.

Investigating the conspiracy, Rorschach and Nite Owl discover that Adrian is behind everything. Rorschach records his suspicions in his journal, which he drops off at a newspaper office. Rorschach and Nite Owl confront Adrian, dressed in his Ozymandias costume, at his Antarctic retreat. Ozymandias confirms he is the mastermind behind The Comedian's murder, Manhattan's exile, and the framing of Rorschach; he also staged his own assassination attempt to place himself above suspicion. He explains that his plan is to unify the United States and Soviet Union and prevent nuclear war by destroying the world's main cities with exploding energy reactors he had Doctor Manhattan create for him under the pretense of providing free energy for the world. Rorschach and Nite Owl physically attempt to stop him, but Ozymandias easily beats the both of them. Ozymandias then reveals that his plan has already been set into motion. The energy signatures are recognized as Doctor Manhattan's, and the two opposing sides of the Cold War unite to combat their "common enemy."

Jupiter and Manhattan arrive at the ruins of New York City and realize Ozymandias's plan. They confront him in Antarctica and Adrian attempts to kill Manhattan with an intrinsic field subtractor, sacrificing his pet Bubastis. Dr. Manhattan reappears, but after seeing a news report in which President Nixon states that the US and Soviets have allied, Dr. Manhattan, in a state of helpless disbelief, realizes that killing Ozymandias and revealing the conspiracy would only break this peace and lead to war again. Rorschach is unwilling to remain silent and, upon exiting Ozymandias' retreat, is confronted by Manhattan. Knowing that he is the only one among them who wants to reveal Ozymandias' plot, he implicitly looks at Manhattan so that the latter kills him. After much reluctance and coaxing by Rorschach himself, Manhattan finally kills him in front of Nite Owl who turns to beat Ozymandias for forcing the situation while denouncing his scheme. Manhattan shares a final kiss with Jupiter and departs for another galaxy. Afterward, reluctantly accepting that bringing Ozymandias to justice would be hopeless and counter-productive, Nite Owl and Silk Spectre depart in disgust.

With the end of the Cold War and the uniting of humanity, Jupiter and Dreiberg return to a New York City being rebuilt, and begin a new life together. The film closes with a newspaper editor in New York complaining of nothing worthwhile to print because of the worldwide peace. He tells a young employee that he may print whatever he likes from a collection of crank mailings, among which lies Rorschach's journal, implying that Ozymandias' plot may be unveiled to the world.

Cast and characters

Malin Åkerman as Laurie Juspeczyk / Silk Spectre II: Jessica Alba and Milla Jovovich were originally considered for the role, but Snyder felt that they were too well known to be playing such a serious part. 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 crime fighter. Åkerman's latex costume and wig, which often stuck into the latex, provided little protection when performing stunts, and she often bruised herself during filming. In the film the surname Juspeczyk appears briefly on screen when Laurie wears Nite Owl's visor. The character prefers the name Juspeczyk, as Jupiter is just a surname that her mother went by during World War II so that people would not know of her Polish background.

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 Rorschach's attack patterns as sloppier and more aggressive due to the character's boxing background. Rorshach appears several times in the movie without his mask, before he is apprehended.

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 25 lbs. to play the overweight Dreiberg. He compared Dreiberg to a soldier who returns from war unable to fit into society. Wilson said the fight style he was instructed to give Nite Owl was "heavy-handed and power coordinated".

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. The special effects technicians considered that Doctor Manhattan is supposed to be a god-like being who after his accident tries to create the perfect human form with a well-formed 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 (whom Snyder felt would have been better as Manhattan), but they left the project behind because of 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 back-story 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 traveled 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 [Ozymandias]. 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 [the role], because we needed someone handsome, beautiful and sophisticated, and that's a tough combo".

Jeffrey Dean Morgan as Edward Blake / The Comedian: A superhero who is commissioned by the U.S. government. Prior to Morgan's casting, producers Lawrence Gordon and Lloyd Levin met with Ron Perlman to discuss portraying The Comedian. When reading the comic for the part, Morgan stopped when he saw his character was killed off three pages in. When telling his agent he did not want the part, he was told to continue reading it and find out how important his character was. Morgan found the role a challenge, explaining, "For some reason, in reading the novel, you don't hate this guy even though he does things that are unmentionable. [...] My job is to kind of make that translate, so as a viewer you end up not making excuses to like him, but you don't hate him like you should for doing the things that he does." Morgan asked Snyder if the Comedian could swear more in the script. Of his casting, Snyder said, "It's hard to find a man's man in Hollywood. It just is. And Jeffrey came in and was grumpy and cool and grizzled, and I was, like, 'OK, Jeffrey is perfect!'"

Carla Gugino as Sally Jupiter / Silk Spectre: A retired superheroine, mother of Laurie Juspeczyk, former member of the Minutemen, 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 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 crime fighter 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 1930s. Was involved in a sham relationship with the first Silk Spectre to hide his homosexuality. Later thought to be killed by the Comedian in the mid 1950s as revenge for stopping him from raping Silk Spectre.

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.

Patrick Sabongui as Knot Top Gang Leader

Alessandro Juliani as Rockefeller Military Base Technician

Production for Watchmen began casting in July 2007 for look-alikes of the era's famous names for the film — something Snyder declared would give the film a "satirical quality" and "create this ’80s vibe" — 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, Elvis Presley, Mao Zedong, Larry King, David Bowie, Mick Jagger, and the Village People. Snyder said he wanted younger actors because of 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 was invited by Snyder, but declined to work in the film due to being too busy.


In 1986, producers Lawrence Gordon and Joel Silver acquired film rights to Watchmen for 20th Century Fox. Fox asked author 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 [the story] 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.

Archie (Nite Owl's airship) on display at the 2008 Comic-Con
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. 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.

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.



Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment published a USA-only 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 consumers. 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 Inc.marker 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. After the trailer to the film premiered in July 2008, DC Comics president Paul Levitz said that the company had had to print more than 900,000 copies of Watchmen trade collection to meet the additional demand for the book that the advertising campaign had generated, with the total annual print run expected to be over one million copies. DC Comics reissued Watchmen #1 for the original cover price of $1.50 on December 10, 2008; no other issues are to be reprinted.

DVD releases

Tales of the Black Freighter, a fictional comic within the Watchmen limited series, was adapted as a direct-to-video animated feature from Warner Premiere and Warner Bros. Animation, and released on March 24, 2009. It was originally included in the Watchmen script, but was changed from live-action footage to animation because of the $20 million it would have cost to film it in the 300-esque stylized manner Snyder wanted; this animated version, originally intended to be included in the final cut, was then cut because 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. International rights to Black Freighter are held by Paramount.

The Tales of the Black Freighter DVD also includes 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. Bolex cameras were even used to film "archive" footage of the Minutemen. 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 on July 21, 2009, and the extended version with the animated film edited back into the main picture in November 3, 2009. 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, was released in digital video stores and DVD on March 3. It included an exclusive scene from the movie but as of press time (prior to the disc's release) the scene had yet to be added.

The film was released on DVD and Blu-ray on July 21, 2009. The Blu-ray contains Maximum Movie Mode, which plays the movie along with a video presentation by director Zack Snyder, and includes behind-the-scenes footage, comic comparisons, trivia, and more. In November, 2009, an "Ultimate Collector's Edition" was released. The five-disc set includes the director's cut of the film with Tales of the Black Freighter woven in, new commentaries by Zack Snyder and Dave Gibbons, the complete Watchmen Motion Comics, and over 3 hours of bonus content including Under the Hood, which was previously released on the Tales of the Black Freighter DVD.

First week sales of the DVD stood at 1,232,725 copies, generating $24,597,425 in sales revenue. As of November 1, 2009 the DVD has sold a total of 2,510,321 copies and $46,766,383 in revenue.


Box office

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, and later finished its opening weekend grossing $55,214,334. Watchmen's opening weekend is the highest of any Alan Moore adaptation to date, and the income was 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 the opening weekend success of the two films cannot be compared due to 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 fewer showings a night than 300. Next to the general theaters, Watchmen pulled in $5.4 million at 124 IMAX screens, which is the fourth largest opening behind Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, Star Trek and The Dark Knight.

Following its first week at the box office, Watchmen saw a significant drop in attendance. By the end of its second weekend, the film brought in $17,817,301, finishing second on that weekend's box office. The 67.7% overall decrease is one of the highest for a major comic book film. Losing two-thirds of its audience from its opening weekend, the film finished second for the weekend of March 13-15, 2009. The film continued to drop about 60% in almost every subsequent weekend, leaving the top ten in its fifth weekend, and the top twenty in its seventh. Watchmen crossed the $100 million mark on March 26, its twenty-first day at the box office, and finished its domestic theatrical run on May 28, having grossed $107,509,799 in 84 days. The film had already grossed one-fifth of its ultimate gross on its opening day, and more than half of that total by the end of its opening weekend.

Watchmen currently sits fourth in all time openings for the month of March, as well as the sixth largest opening for an R-rated film in North American history. It is currently the fifth highest grossing R-rated film of 2009, behind The Hangover, Inglourious Basterds, District 9, and Paranormal Activity. On the North American box office, Watchmen currently sits as the thirteenth highest grossing film based on a DC Comics comic book, and the twenty-third 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 July 21, 2009, the film has collected $75,321,703 in foreign box office, bringing its worldwide total to $183,831,502.


The original theatrical release of the film received mixed to positive reviews. Based on 271 reviews collected by Rotten Tomatoes, Watchmen currently has a 64% 'fresh' approval rating from critics, with an average score of 6.2/10. Among Rotten Tomatoes' Top Critics, which consists of notable critics from the top newspapers, websites, television and radio programs, the film holds a 'rotten' overall approval rating of 42%, with an average score of 5.2/10. 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.

Patrick Kolan of IGN Australia gave the film an enormous amount of praise, awarding it a perfect 10/10 and saying "It's the Watchmen film you always wanted to see, but never expected to get". Also praising the film along with another perfect score (4/4) was Kyle Smith of the New York Post, comparing it to some of Stanley Kubrick's films. "Director Zack Snyder's cerebral, scintillating follow-up to 300 seems, to even a weary filmgoer's eye, as fresh and magnificent in sound and vision as 2001". Roger Ebert gave it four out of four stars. "It’s a compelling visceral film — sound, images and characters combined into a decidedly odd visual experience that evokes the feel of a graphic novel." Richard Corliss of Time concluded "this ambitious picture is a thing of bits and pieces", yet "the bits are glorious, the pieces magnificent." Total Film awarded it 4/5 stars, stating: "It's hard to imagine anyone watching the Watchmen as faithfully as Zack Snyder's heartfelt, stylised adap. Uncompromising, uncommercial, and unique." When comparing the film to the original source material, Ian Nathan of Empire felt that while "it isn't the graphic novel... Zack Snyder clearly gives a toss, creating a smart, stylish, decent adaptation". Nick Dent of Time Out Sydney gave the film 4/6 in his review of February 25, praising the film's inventiveness but concluding, "While Watchmen is still as rich, daring, and intelligent an action film as there's ever been, it also proves Moore absolutely right [that Watchmen is inherently unfilmable]. As a comic book, Watchmen is an extraordinary thing. As a movie, it's just another movie, awash with sound and fury."

The negative reviews generally cite the film's much-advertised reverence to the source material, as statically replicating – rather than creatively interpreting – Alan Moore's graphic novel. "Watchmen is a bore...It sinks under the weight of its reverence for the original," wrote Philip Kennicott of The Washington Post. Devin Gordon wrote for Newsweek, "That's the trouble with loyalty. Too little, and you alienate your core fans. Too much, and you lose everyone – and everything – else." Owen Gleiberman's Entertainment Weekly review reads, "Snyder treats each image with the same stuffy hermetic reverence. He doesn't move the camera or let the scenes breathe. He crams the film with bits and pieces, trapping his actors like bugs wriggling in the frame." "[Snyder] never pause[s] to develop a vision of his own. The result is oddly hollow and disjointed; the actors moving stiffly from one overdetermined tableau to another," said Noah Berlatsky of the Chicago Reader. David Edelstein of New York agrees: "They’ve made the most reverent adaptation of a graphic novel ever. But this kind of reverence kills what it seeks to preserve. The movie is embalmed." A reviewer in The Wall Street Journal wrote, "Watching 'Watchmen' is the spiritual equivalent of being whacked on the skull for 163 minutes. The reverence is inert, the violence noxious, the mythology murky, the tone grandiose, the texture glutinous." Donald Clarke of The Irish Times was similarly dismissive: "Snyder, director of the unsubtle 300, has squinted hard at the source material and turned it into a colossal animated storyboard, augmented by indifferent performances and moronically obvious music cues." The trade magazines Variety and The Hollywood Reporter were even less taken with the film. Variety's Justin Chang commented that, "The movie is ultimately undone by its own reverence; there's simply no room for these characters and stories to breathe of their own accord, and even the most fastidiously replicated scenes can feel glib and truncated," and Kirk Honeycutt of The Hollywood Reporter writing, "The real disappointment is that the film does not transport an audience to another world, as 300 did. Nor does the third-rate Chandler-esque narration by Rorschach help...Looks like we have the first real flop of 2009."

Analyzing the divided response, Geoff Boucher of the Los Angeles Times felt that, like Eyes Wide Shut, The Passion of the Christ or Fight Club, Watchmen would continue to be a talking point among those who liked or disliked the film. Boucher felt in spite of his own mixed feelings about the finished film, he was "oddly proud" that the director had made a faithful adaptation that was "nothing less than the boldest popcorn movie ever made. Snyder somehow managed to get a major studio to make a movie with no stars, no 'name' superheroes and a hard R-rating, thanks to all those broken bones, that oddly off-putting Owl Ship sex scene and, of course, the unforgettable glowing blue penis."


The film uses a mix of popular songs from a variety of 1960s artists such as Jimi Hendrix, Bob Dylan, Simon and Garfunkel, and Janis Joplin, many of which were songs referenced in the original graphic novel. Wagner's famous "Ride of the Valkyries" also appears in a Vietnam flashback sequence, referencing a similar sequence from Francis Ford Coppola's Apocalypse Now using the exact same music. An arrangement of Phillip Glass's score for the film Koyaanisqatsi was also used during the Dr. Manhattan origin sequence, and also used for some of the trailers prior to the film's release.It also includes a remake of Bob Dylan's classic "Desolation Row" by alternative rock group My Chemical Romance.

Aside from the soundtrack, an original score was composed by Tyler Bates, who previously worked with Snyder on 300. Separate soundtrack and original score albums were released around the time of the film's opening.


  1. Lynette Rice, "Movies," Entertainment Weekly 1030 (January 16, 2009): 10.
  2. [

Further reading

External links

Embed code:

Got something to say? Make a comment.
Your name
Your email address