Watchmen: Open Letter to the Fans from Screenwriter David Hayter

David Hayter is the screen writer for Watchmen, and he is concerned about the reaction and reception of the film. He wrote this Open Letter to the fans and movie patrons alike to give some insight, or explanation on the film.

I am sharing it here as a favour to get the word out. Read what you will into it.

Hardcore Nerdity received this:

So it has been five months since I saw my first rough cut of WATCHMEN, and eight days since the premiere of the film I’ve been working on since late in the year 2000.

The reviews are out — Some outstanding, others rankly dismissive, which can be frustrating for the people involved, (though I can only speak for myself,) because I firmly believe that WATCHMEN, the novel, must be read through more than once to even have the faintest grip on it. And I believe the film is the same.

I’ve seen it twice now, and despite having run the movie in my head thousands of times, my two viewings still don’t’ allow me to view the film with the proper distance or objectivity. Is it Apocalypse Now? Is it Blade Runner? Is it Kubrick, or Starship Troopers? I don’t know yet.

All I know is that I had a pretty amazing experience the two times I’ve seen it. And both viewings produced remarkably different experiences. The point is, I have listened for years, to complaints from true comic book fans, that “not enough movies take the source material seriously.” “Too many movies puss out,” or “They change great stories, just to be commercial.” Well, I f***ing dare you to say any one of those things about this movie.

This is a movie made by fans, for fans. Hundreds of people put in years of their lives to make this movie happen, and every one of them was insanely committed to retaining the integrity of this amazing, epic tale. This is a rare success story, bordering on the impossible, and every studio in town is watching to see if it will work. Hell, most of them own a piece of the movie.

So look, this is a note to the fanboys and fangirls. The true believers. Dedicated for life.

If the film made you think. Or argue with your friends. If it inspired a debate about the nature of man, or vigilante justice, or the horror of Nixon abolishing term limits. If you laughed at Bowie hanging with Adrian at Studio 54, or the Silhouette kissing that nurse.

Please go see the movie again next weekend.

You have to understand, everyone is watching to see how the film will do in its second week. If you care about movies that have a brain, or balls, (and this film’s got both, literally), or true adaptations — And if you’re thinking of seeing it again anyway, please go back this weekend, Friday or Saturday night. Demonstrate the power of the fans, because it’ll help let the people who pay for these movies know what we’d like to see. Because if it drops off the radar after the first weekend, they will never allow a film like this to be made again.

In the interests of full disclosure, let me also point out that I do not profit one cent from an increase in box office, although an increase in box office can add to the value of the writers’ eventual residual profits from dvd and tv sales.

But I’m not saying it for money. I’m saying it for people like me. I’m saying it for people who love smart, dark entertainment, on a grand, operatic scale. I’m talking to the Snake fans, the Rorschach fans, the people of the Dark Knight.

And hey, if you hated the film, if you think we committed atrocities, or literary mistakes of a massive, cephalopodic nature. If the movie made you a little sick to your stomach, or made you feel bad about your life. If you hated it for whatever reason, that’s cool too. I’m not suggesting you risk gastro-intestinal distress just for the sake of risky filmmaking.

But if you haven’t seen it yet? Well, I’ll just say this…

It may upset you. And it probably will upset you.

And all along, we really meant it to.

Because face it. All this time…You there, with the Smiley-face pin. Admit it.

All this time, you’ve been waiting for a director who was going to hit you in the face with this story. To just crack you in the jaw, and then bend you over the pool table with this story. With its utterly raw view of the darkest sides of human nature, expressed through its masks of action and beauty and twisted good intentions. Like a fry-basket full of hot grease in the face. Like the Comedian on the Grassy Knoll. I know, I know…

You say you don’t like it. You say you’ve got issues. I get it.

And yet… You’ll be thinking about this film, down the road. It’ll nag at you. How it was rough and beautiful. How it went where it wanted to go, and you just hung on. How it was thoughtful and hateful and bleak and hilarious. And for Jackie Earle Haley.

Trust me. You’ll come back, eventually. Just like Sally.

Might as well make it count for something.

David Hayter

My first instinct was that this was a plea to get more boxoffice draw, but considering the source I got it from I really think his altruistic message is just sharing his point of view. I don’t think he would have offered this up to me if he didn’t believe it was legit.

He hits on an idea that I have shared but could never put into words like he does. I refer to it as “vote with your dollar” People ask how Meet the Spartans gets made, and in a nutshell it does because it will rake in cash. I love how Hayter hits on this and speaks my feelings like I couldn’t quite get out. If you want more movies like this, the opportunity for change is right in front of you. If this flops financially it tells Hollywood we want more Beverly Hills Chihuahua and Disaster Movie.

So what of it? How do you feel about Hayter’s open letter? Do you agree? Disagree?

Does he have a point?

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111 thoughts on “Watchmen: Open Letter to the Fans from Screenwriter David Hayter

  1. reading this letter made me frankly ill. To compare the movie experience to rape and then say rape victims come back to their violaters, someone has obviously missed the intention of their source material. The movie condones ultraviolence and brutality to anyone who stands in the protagonists way and puts a shiny veneer on it. The movie itself it a jumbled mess not really knowing what it’s saying or what it should be telling the audience. And the two characters that are heroes yet have the most questionable morals and actions which the audience should be repulsed by, Rorshach(pardon the spelling) is insane and violent a murderer with no apologies and not someone to look up to and the Comedian is an anti hero in the classical but because he beats up ” bad guy” his horrible actions are glossed over and seen as macho and utterly excusable. And then comparing my viewing experience to sexual violence and saying I’ll be back for more makes me ill.
    Plus making pleas for people to see a blockbuster film with a huge advertising budget is pathetic. Let the writing speak for itself and if the movie tanks then it has.

  2. Watchmen does a good job of translating the acclaimed graphic novel onto the big screen but it contained significant flaws and narrative shortcomings which impaired it from greatness.

    The music was absolutely terrible and does not fit the scenes it accompanies at all. Most of the acting was average or poor apart from Billy Crudup and Jackie Earle Haley. The slow motion was highly distracting in parts and most of the fight scenes were poorly choreographed. While there was an abundance of violence, the film lacked a raw atmospheric grittyness to give it impact. The ending was also nowhere near as powerful as it should have been and we never got a sense of how the world is at stake.

    Despite it’s flaws, Watchmen as a whole is a film worth watching and it accomplishes the task of adapting the graphic novel’s complex narrative on screen and even border on brilliance in parts.

    Some may want to see it again, but some may not.

  3. I loved Watchmen, even more than the Dark Knight. A lot of my friends (who didn’t read the source material) liked it but complained it was too long and had a semi confusing story. It will be financially successful once it gets to DVD and Blu-Ray. Don’t forget about the rest of the world too. Watchmen has already made like 80 million worldwide. Even though we are in a recession, the box office has been spectacular. We already have two 100 million hit films (Watchmen will be the third) and last year we didn’t have one until March. This just proves the point that people go to movies in times of hardship.

  4. The Watchman is a terrible movie. It positioned itself as a big budget release but alienated a very large sum of moviegoer. It’s now clear to me that a Paul Greengrass version was the adaption the audience needed.

    1. Id sooner see a true adaptation than some adaptation that changed the story to something it was never supposed to be.

      Most books are spoiled as movies, some are lucky enough to still work. Watchmen might not have been what you wanted, but it IS the graphic novel, which is what it should have been.

    2. …. and that is center of the debate, which is what appeals to geeks but ignores the masses and what makes business sense for the movie industry. Sin City was a graphic novel and that movie worked perfectly because of its budget and the way it was positioned. Thus it turned out to be a success for its studio. Watchman is the complete opposite of that movie. I’m not saying don’t make this film for the audience that wants to see them just don’t do it at the expense of making a very entertaining movie that has a broad appeal. TDK was a realization of this principle.

  5. I could explain the dozens of reasons why the new “Batman” movies shouldn’t be labeled as Batman movies but that would be the subject for a different thread. This thread is about Watchmen and straight up is worth a watch.

    1. I would love to hear how the most recent incarnation of Batman (the most true to the book adaptation that appeals to real world sensibilities) should not be considered Batman movies.

      And while you are at it, you can tell us what you are smoking.

    2. First off Im a huge fan of Batman, hes the only DC Comic hero I have ever been able to read. If your talking about the batman world, then yes these new movies do a excellent job. Even the villains are done real well. Its everything that has to do with the Batman character himself that is way off base. From the dumb bat tank that can drive on houses without collapsing them to the constipated grizzly bear that dresses as a bat. I mean come on Macho Man Randy Savage could deliver the lines better. I mean he does a beautiful job as Bruce Wayne. Just find myself feeling sick the whole time “Batman” is on the screen. And the dark detective who is supposed to be able to look into the minds of these villains that noone else can seem to figure out needs help from first Katie Holmes and then his butler, who’s next. In my opinion they could have put any other superhero into this movie and it wouldnt have changed the movie in the least. These are just a few of the probs I have with the new “Batman” but getting longwinded. I mean some people are just different in opinion and I hate these installments. Sorry.

    3. If those things bother you about Batman, you must hate ANY movie that doesnt hold itself to the absolutes of physics. By those standards ALL scifi and action movies should offend you.

      You can over analyze any detail of any movie to try and discredit it. This movie has had a far more broad appeal across fans and non-fans.

      Sounds like you went out of your way NOT to like the movie. Oh no! Growly voice. And a car that can do what the Batmobile does in the comics while still being somewhat believable? This is overly nitpicking.

      And to discard the most successful film in any Batman Franchise and try to say it shouldnt even be labeled as a part of Batman is a little extreme.

    4. Can you imagine Batman talking with his normal voice, EVERYONE would know it was Bruce Wayne! He’s a bloody celebrity!
      It’s like when Superman puts on glasses and becomes Clark Kent and nobody realizes it’s Superman. The audience giggles from the obviousness which the characters don’t seem to see.
      A car driving on rooftops is absolutely awesome, and the Batmobile makes more sense as a tank. As with most in the Nolan universe, it’s functionability over style.

    5. I agree with Rodney that you are just nitpicking. Sometimes fans can never be pleased. There is no single definite incarnation of the Batman characters and villains, there is only consistency. A basic set of rules that crop-up in every Batman story (Batman doesn’t kill etc.). Since there is no one true representation, accuracy depends entirely on how consistent it is with the consistency of the comics.
      The Nolan Batman universe is by far the best representation of of Batman on screen. We often forget that these are Nolan’s films so a large part of what we see is HIS vision, but it works because he doesn’t shun the source material, he embraces it and makes it consistent with his own take on the series.
      It’s a pity that you can’t see that.

  6. Normally I don’t like graphic violence but this movie gets a pass from me. I thought it was amazing and seems to be doing well at the box office, considering how different it is from most movies. Everything about it was surprising and mesmerizing.

    I now await the super-dee-duper 4 disc director’s cut!

  7. Oh yeah I can honestly say that after reading the GN after watching the movie that this movie is a great adaptation. I recommend that people read the GN first. I find all the people I talk about this with the ones who loved it were avid fans already. And even myself have come to appreciate the movie a little more. This movie will for sure take the bad taste of the new batman movies out of your mouth.

  8. This is a late reply, but I couldn’t let Rodney get away with that insult. first of all, it’s easy to claim that anyone who doesn’t like your movie would much rather watch transformers or something. But when you do that, you’re suggesting that your movie is too intellectual for us to understand, or comprehend. Let me give you a list of some of my favorite movies.

    Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf
    Good Will Hunting
    The Bicycle Thieves
    The Breakfast Club
    Donnie Darko

    And no, I’m not making that up, so please give the, “you only like stupid movies, if you didn’t like this” elitist attitude, a rest. It won’t work on me.

    It’s getting great reviews? Where are you getting this information? It has a 64% approval rating at RT. Now, that’s not terrible, but let’s make some comparisons, shall we?

    Super Bad- 87%
    My Cousin Vinny- 89%
    Role Models – 76%

    I can go on if you want. Now go to Imdb, and read what they’re saying. would you like me to tell you how many people walked out of my theater? The movie has dropped significantly from the weekend numbers, 300 had a better opening weekend, I could go on and on. I won’t even get into specifics on way this movie was so bad. It’s not even worth it. You’ll always have your opinions, but the facts of what’s happening right now, are the facts. For future reference, find a better argument than that elitist attitude you just displayed. I understood this movie just fine; it was just bad, being confusing isn’t a good excuse. Matrix was confusing the first time. Donnie Darko is still confusing. Two great movies that still stand the test of time. Nice try though Rodney.

  9. Dude; your movie is tanking. Hayter is asking: “Is it Apocalypse Now? Is it Blade Runner? Is it Kubrick, or Starship Troopers? I don’t know yet.”
    -Allow me to help him with that: NO.
    Is this guy insane?
    Who is Hayter to think he belongs in that Pantheon anyway? – A movie made by fans for the fans probably belongs in the screening room at a convention for geeks, and probably should not play Russian Roulette with $130 million of a Studio’s hard-earned money, especially in a business which prides itself in knowing the KEY to writing winning screenplays who hypnotize audiences — WTF??? What I want to know is where is all that Sid Field “know-how” we hear so much about in Show Biz? — Did these folks really have to excrete such a confused, autistic, and mangled piece of narrative? Watchmen may be smarter than most Comic Book films, but this is like shooting fish in a barrel – Comic Book movies have the merit of being as dumb as their audience, which, come to think of it, may be the chief problem with Watchmen: It is dumber than the audience it courts.
    Watchmen will meet the fate it deserves – as do most pompous expensive extravaganzas – Good luck to you, mate!

  10. “Is it Apocalypse Now? Is it Blade Runner? Is it Kubrick, or Starship Troopers? I don’t know yet.”

    Let me save you some time Dave, it’s certainly not Kubrick. Unless you’re talking about the cheap janapeanse toy amnufacturer, if so i stand corrected.

  11. ya know what? the guy didnt need to tell me to see it again, after i saw it once i NEED to see it again, we have to suport this movies.. specially us, the fans!

  12. Read the GN and liked it but the film has something more…and allowed me to better appreciate the GN.

    Having said that, I saw the 12:01 Friday morning IMAX premiere and five time since (who needs lunch anyway?) I think Watchmen is possibly the best GN adaption we’ll ever see

    The story is a single serving – as Snyder said, “you couldn’t do a sequel without missing the point.” It refracts concepts, emotions and visuals into a medium that stabs you in the heart and twists the blade before yanking it back out-but in a really good way.

    Dr. Manhattan’s revelation on Mars was ‘cool’ in the book but the way it was presented in the movie was much more sweeping, emotional and f’ing EPIC. Laurie’s side of the revelation meant more when I saw the before-and-after presented as it was. Comedian’s despair in the face of Ozymandias’ true plan is both more accessible and less drawn out.

    Now, on the one hand, part of me groans that if all movies were like this, they wouldn’t be as hard-hitting…and yet, I can not deny that I want this movie to make a scatalogical amount of money over a LONG threatrical run which steadily builds over the weeks and I’m kicking every spare dollar I have at the AMC box office clerk.

    I don’t think we’ll see anything as beautifully mixed, baked, layered and SHOVED down our throats at high speed for f’ing YEARS, if ever again at all. I’m motherf’ing f’ing GRATEFUL we got this film AS WE DID and am drooling for the Director’s Cut and Black Freighter Cut!!!!!!!!

    Let the haters rot in their self-righteous swamps (they have every right to do so, after all) and GO SEE THIS MOVIE AGAIN!!!!

  13. i find it funny people say da writing was bad it pretty muched followed da gn word for word and every scene was like turning a page from da gn except fo i think 4 or 5 scences n da ending which were slightly diff n was a breath of fresh air n da ending worked really well fo me almost if not better than da gn all n all i give it 9/10 a great cinematic experince cnt wait for blu ray directirs cut rumored to be 4 hours or close to it a must buy go see dis movie

  14. I was surprised at how much I enjoyed the film… I have yet to read the comic, and I had heard that the film was impossible to follow without doing so first, but I didn’t find that at all. I found the whole thing immersive, thought provoking, and just plain fun.

  15. I myself wont watch it at the theatres but defenitly will buy it when it comes out on DVD on Bluray. The movie for me was exactly as he described it gave me mixed feelings as to wether or not I liked it. For every good thing I loved was a counterpart of something I despised. What I find confusing is the people that want to put this movie in the same garbage can as the new Batman movies. This movie in no way was as bad as those atrocities.

  16. I like your compression with Apocalypse Now and Star Ship troopers is so true they took a while for me to like and Serenity I watched Serenity 5 times till I was well that was freaking bad ass.

  17. There is a lot of sublety and nuances in Watchmen which may be overlooked in the first watch. I think it’s one of those films where watching it many times is best. Was it a great film – no, was it a bad film – no. It was good film, and definitely worth watching, possibly more than once.

  18. I really liked the Watchmen film, it’s probably as close to the source material as any Watchmen film is ever going to get. However, I don’t think it was the revolution in comic book movies that people were claiming it would be. I think that’s partly because Watchmen is over 20 years old and a lot of today’s audiences can’t connect with the issues it raised (Cold War fears etc.). I think it’s mostly because the “revolution” in comic book films already happened last year in the summer of 2008 with Iron Man and moreso The Dark Knight. Will I see it again, maybe!

  19. I thought it was really good. But the film felt very glossy and lacked a raw edge. I think Snyder really mistook the fact that violence doesn’t equal depth. There was no real atmospheric buildup and most of the acting was just ok. It was good and I might see it again, but I wouldn’t place it in a league anywhere close to The Dark Knight.

  20. Rodney said, “What about Batman Year One where Robin dies?”

    Robin didn’t die in the comic Batman: Year One, by Frank Miller and David Mazzucchelli. The second Robin was killed in a fairly crass comic, Batman:Death in the Family, where DC had readers phone in and vote on the character’s fate – – hardly a victory for ambitious and creative storytelling – – more about marketing.

    It was written by a good writer (Jim Starlin), but very far from that writer’s best (Adam Warlock, Dreadstar – -either of those would be cool to adapt… but the gratuitous murder of Robin…? No.)

  21. I get what he means about lack of success maybe preventing other ambitious films being made, though that’s sort of like blackmail – – go repeatedly to the movie, like it or not, or don’t complain when studios play it safe.

    My problems with the film have little to do with Hayter — unless the script specifically asked for the excesses in Snyder’s direction and some ill-chosen casting (not all — Jackie Earle Haley and Jeffrey Dean Morgan were perfect).

    The basic script, directed by someone of Kubrick or Ridley Scott’s caliber would have been incredible… Snyder just made a tone-deaf mess, IMO.

  22. This movie was amazing. I’m seeing it a third time this weekend. I see something new every viewing.

    Loved it.

    See it again!

  23. I like what Hayter is saying and agree with him that Hollywood will simply be too afraid to make movie like this again, without sufficient return. For us that could mean missing out on a lot of great adaptations. I also like what Snyder said about this movie basically being a trailer for the GN. When paired with the movie it is just a nice companion piece to the book. And heres hoping we get more of these companion pieces for our other favourite comics and graphic novels.

  24. I would go see it it wasn’t so long…it was an interesting movie but thelast 45 minutes I was just not interested because they could have wrapped things up better. I have no problem with a three hour film if it dosen’t feel like three hours that didn’t happen here. I also thought all the LOTR rings films dragged. Just my personal taste.

    I also thought it used violence just to use it. I think part of the reason I like reading comics is the violence is implied instead of spelled out.

    That said I do hope those that loved it go back he is right if it “tanks” in the studios minds we will see product placement trump creative freedom once again.

    1. Excellent point Angela. My sentiments exactly and that’s what David Hayter’s letter is conveying as well.

      I don’t understand any hate for this film. I read the novel and saw the movie last weekend. The film was everything I could hope for and I enjoyed it quite a bit.

      I wish I could thank all the people involved for making “Watchmen” such an awesome film and i’ll be going back this Friday to see it a second time.

  25. What’s up with all this hate for Watchmen? I respect your opinions and all, but like the comic, the movie was EPIC, 9/10. The last film I wanted to walk out of was the remake of The Day The Earth Stood Still, don’t understand why people wanted out of this

  26. More importantly David, what’s up with the Metal Gear Solid movie? I heard that Christian Bale had wanted to sign on to play Snake but that was it.

  27. am i the only one who really didnt think the graphic novel was as ground breaking as it was….sure it was a decent story but IMO its not like this idea hasnt been done….i mean a giant scam that changes the world for the better?
    to me it was really drawn out and really some of the characters seem to care about morals…even thought they all had a perspective of it….makes me kinda laugh at the creator of this novel cause he has been acting like a turd over it….while it was a decent read IMO it was kinda a joke in many ways imo…and the thing i hate about fucking fanboys is they complain how the ending was changed…..well wtf this whole article wa how perfect it was to the novel yet they changed that…i mean the ending in the book imo sucked but if your gonna take your time to kinda say these other movies suck compared to this masterpiece i made that is exactly like the original source….except for the fucking ending.

    but to give this guy credit im sure he is being real …but who cares its like he is making a ceasar like speech about this movie….dude u changed the fucking ending so your little rant about how perfect it was isnt valid….u cant say this is the best pie ever when its a fucking cake!

  28. I’m not a fan of comic book movies in general. But I did enjoy The Dark Knight – because it was a great MOVIE….a great MOVIE. Not a comic book copied and pasted onto a screen , it was just a great film in general. Watchmen, on the other hand, was an awful film. I’m not saying the subject matter is awful, i’m just saying as a movie this film was terrible. It might be faithful to the source material, but being a general movie-goer, this film was just bad…really bad.

    1. Interesting. As stated before, I read the comic just because I like to experience the source material before seeing a movie, such as reading a book before seeing it’s movie adaptation. It was the fist comic I have read in over fifteen years. It was pretty good, nothing I would find super special to the point that I would be like “there must be a movie made from this”. That said, I thought the movie was great, as did the group of friends I went with who did not read the graphic novel or comics in general. We are all “general movie goers”. Different people with different tastes, I guess.

  29. HAHA! This guy is so desperate. Medea Goes to Jail was No 1. at the box office for 2 weeks! And you want Hollywood to make more movies like the Watchmen? unless you pull a giant squid out of your ass Saw 12 will still make more than 100 million dollars. And there will be more movies like Meet the Spartans than The Dark Knight. Stupidity knows no bounds. The Tribe have spoken, and intelligence has been voted off the island my friend.

  30. Needless to say, I won’t be seeing it again, and a handful of people who I know to have seen the movie felt the same way.

    And this is coming from someone who enjoyed the comic book, other comic books, trading cards, video games, 300, and a bunch of other geeky, nerdy superhero stuff as well.

    I don’t mean to be offensive, but in my opinion the movie was nearly 3 hours filth.

    I will not be seeing this movie ever again, and have gone out of my way to tell anyone I know to avoid it like the plague.

  31. I’m a fan of X-Men and X2 and of all of Hayter’s Metal Gear Solid Snake voice acting, but I cannot even begin to express how disgustingly BAD I thought Watchmen was.

    Nothing about that movie worked for me. Cheezy scenes, cheezy spins, bad acting, bad camera angles, poor writing, contradictory themes.

    It’s the first movie in a long time where I actually just wanted to leave and go home.

  32. i agree with him. i didnt see meet the spartans, i didnt see the chihuhaha movie or however you spell it. i did see watchmen. i want to see more movies like watchmen that make you think but also entertain you with the action and violence and all that. i feel sorry that he even has to write this letter, but if i get a chance and people are willing to go with me again i’ll try to see it again. i’m not promising anything though..

  33. Don’t fool yourselves. It’s all about the money. Always has been, always will be. This movie is a disaster, and everyone’s getting nervous now. The writer knows damn well that the failure of this film wouldn’t prevent other graphic novel movies to be made, so the fact that he would even go there, or make that accusation, is insulting to us. Zach Snyder might not be able to make another one, and the writer himself won’t either, oh but they will be made. What’s also insulting his him trying to manipulate us into spending 11 more dollars on this worthless trife. He just needs to accept that this was bad, and move on.

    1. So you admit that its all about the money but despite the fact that extra movie ticket sales really doesnt affect him that much, you think he wants to put this out there to make an extra buck?

      You are right in one regard, it is about the money. The studios don’t care if its a good story – and they dont care if its revolutionary film making. If it makes money, they will green light it.

      So while you are so sure that Hayter is trying to line his pockets remember how many other truly revolutionary films are going to get made after this one shits the bed and doesn’t make them any money.

      The movie is NOT a disaster. The movie is getting very positive reviews all over. The only negative reviews I have read are people confessing they didn’t understand the story.

      And the only nervousness is that this revolutionary film they took a chance on will never happen again if it doesnt show the bean counters that it IS worth it to have a movie this impacting.

      Its not for everyone, but even people who dont appreciate the storytelling cannot deny the impact it has had.

      So enjoy your Meet the Spartans and Epic Movie. Because those get easy green lights while Hollywood is raking in the money potty jokes get.

    2. I do not even think he was trying to say “other graphic novels will not be made”. He is saying that studios might never take a risk on a great story with intellectual depth if Watchmen fails to bring in the cash. If Watchmen failed, which is probably one of the most risky big budget movies that have been made in a while, then other great projects may be past up because studios will not want to make another risk like that. And the guy is not trying to manipulate anybody, he is just putting a plea out to people that if they want Hollywood to know they want more movies like Watchmen then they should put in their support the only way Hollywood will listen, money. He makes some pretty solid points there. That is not manipulation at all. Finally, I am pretty sure Zach Snyder will be directing many more movies to come. If you don’t like him, then don’t see them. Plain and simple.

  34. This is a seriously lame letter. Considering the state of the economy and the price of a movie ticket, how can he expect fans of the movie to really go back and see it again? Why drop another 10-12 bucks? The movie is going to make bank on DVD sales regardless of how well it does at the box office. The Black Freighter DVD is going to make money too. All the fans want to see the Director’s Cut and we’ll pay plenty of money for it when its out.
    The justification that we should go back and see the movie as some sort of referendum on the types of movies we like is stupid. They put a ton of work into this movie, then cut out a whole bunch of it for theaters. I understand the studio made them do it and it makes sense for the theatrical release. But please, don’t ask us to see the shortchanged version of the movie again. I paid to see the movie once, I’ll reward the cast and crew again when they deliver the full experience which I expect will do the novel more justice.

    1. Sorry, the “state of the economy” has nothing to do with it. If you still have your job, you are making the same money you were before, and can spend the same as you were before.

      Unless you were among the unfortunate to lose your job because of this, there is no “state of the economy” … thats just paranoia.

      His point was that there would never be another movie like Watchmen if it flops financially. Watchmen on its own already has its fanbase, and more ticket sales is not going to change that. But if you want to see movies with the same devotion to the source material a message has to be sent to the penny pushers in Hollywood.

      They wont make another Watchmen type film if there is no money in it.

    2. Wow, way to totally ignore my point and not open your mind to criticism of this letter at all. My point is not the state of the economy and the money itself.
      My point is that he shouldn’t be pressuring the fans, who have already gone to see the movie and supported it with our money, to go see it again. He should encourage those who haven’t seen it to go. DVD sales today matter so much more than box office takes. Its not going to flop financially because it will sell on DVD.
      Its obvious that the real devotion to source material was left for the Director’s Cut anyway. I felt personally cheated by the theatrical release because I know there is so much more coming to DVD. Its a great experience to see it on the big screen, but I’ve had it; now I’m ready for the true experience of the director’s vision.

    3. Additionally, if you think that movie studios don’t expect declining ticket sales this year as a result of the global recession you are delusional. Recessions present a series of psychological factors for consumers. Everyone is more conscious of their spending habits, regardless of employment status. Waving off all of this as simply paranoia is foolish.

    4. ….’cause they’ll go and drop it at Starbucks or Applebees or the nearest pub on a pitcher and Chicken Wings dude! I’ll go see it again–Hell YES!!!
      And I’m 1st Gen Irish, and I like my pub food! A great place to go after and discuss the film!

    5. no. there will still be dark edgy films made. Hundreds of dark edgy films are released all year around.

      its just that they won’t spend 150 million dollars on a film like this again and that is where the problem lies for this film.
      They spent PG13 money on a fairly hard R movie.
      I am still in awe of what he got away with. Are there more violent films out there? of course,….are their films with more nudity? of course but not many studio event films with a budget like that are filled with the dark shit we get in watchmen.

      the only reason meet the spartans and crap like that are successful is because they cost peanuts. spend 150 million dollars on meet the spartans 2 and see how well it does.

      and what genre is watchmen supposed to be saving? in an earlier comment you said name a financial flop that saved a genre? what genre is at risk if watchmen fails? comic book films are still flourishing so they are not in any danger.

      and while i don’t think the economy can be blamed for watchmen perceived “weak” opening it cannot be dismissed as a possible problem facing these big budget films this year. times are tough. the news is making it sound like end days and when people are losing their homes and wondering if their bank will be around tomorrow going to the movies will fall by the wayside in terms of priorities.

      I AM JUST GLAD WE GOT THE WATCHMEN FILM WE DID. Its a crazy dark fucked up big budget ball stomper and i love it.

      and its a crazy world we live in when a 55 million opening is considered weak.

  35. I found the movie to be the best translation from comic to film ever made. I can understand how those who haven’t read the graphic novel at least once can be a bit confused though. As far as Hayter’s open letter I will spread the good word. I can see Watchmen cracking the ceiling at the Oscars this year. Watchmen is just artsy enough. It’s just sexy enough. It’s just violent enough. It has enough Forest Gump like history moments too. It was as thought provoking as the original printed pages. I don’t see how it could have been done any better. Also if Kate Winslet can whore herself to a teenager for a best picture nomination last year; two passe super-heroes fucking in an Owlship should be able to help secure a best picture nomination for Watchmen this year. Damn good film!

  36. He’s a really smart guy…and he knows how hollywood works. This is a really well adapted script, and this is a really well written letter :P he’s just voicing an opinion.

    And I totally agree with him.

    1. You cannot pass that Test. Alan Moore is a batshit insane hermit that thinks TV and Movies are an abomination of storytelling.

      He might have been a brilliant writer, but even if someone did nail his work perfectly delivering every last ounce of his message right to the point of perfection, he would still have no association to it.

      You cannot impress Moore, and that is his point.

    2. Moor is sayin’ to himself, “Ohwahtajerkiam–Owhatajerkiam–Owhatajerkiam!!!!!!” The movie was freaking awesome and I want to apply for the position of Malin Ackerman’s Personal Assistant! Woof!!!
      Count those pounds and Euro’s Alan…’ll need ’em!!! LOL…..
      Thank you Mr. Snyder and teh rest who put it together–you gave us some needed faith!!!

    3. Rodney,

      Moore doesn’t think that TV and movies are abominations of storytelling. He recently said that the best writing from all media has come from TV’s the Wire. He DID say though that TV and movie ADAPTATIONS of other media are.

  37. I didn’t really know what to expect when I went in to watch this movie, I hadn’t read up on the GN or reviews or previews, I’d watched some of the trailers and to be honest I was expecting a super hero movie.
    What I go was so much more….and then some!

    I cannot describe how absorbed I was during this flick, I couldnt take my eyes of the screen or let my attention go whatsoever.

    I loved every minute of it, I think not knowing the story or what to expect made it even better for me, than those who had read the GN.

    While I loved this film, I certainly don’t want a huge ammount of films made in a similar way, I find that just takes away from what is great cinema, although I agree, the only way to get the studios make flms different and original from the norm, is for films such as watchmen to get decent box office receipts.

    Can’t wait to catch this on Blu-ray in a few months!

  38. I believe that everyone should be forced to read the GN if they see this movie or plan to see this movie. It gives the movie much more context that is not able to be portrayed during the relatively short run time….I know it was 3 hours but relative to how much information was in the book the movie really is short….

  39. The screenwriter is begging us to go see his movie again? How desperate and pathetic can you be?

    I like David Hayter – I’m a big MGS fan – but there was no need for him to stoop to this. If the reaction to Watchmen has been divisive, so be it; he shouldn’t make a plea for us to see it again.

    1. Desperate and Pathetic? You might want to read the letter again JDH. He isn’t begging. He is presenting an opportunity to get more movies like this made. If this flops financially we will never see another risky movie like Watchmen.

    2. Rodney,

      I do find his plea desperate and pathetic.

      “You have to understand, everyone is watching to see how the film will do in its second week. If you care about movies that have a brain, or balls, (and this film’s got both, literally), or true adaptations — And if you’re thinking of seeing it again anyway, please go back this weekend, Friday or Saturday night. Demonstrate the power of the fans, because it’ll help let the people who pay for these movies know what we’d like to see. Because if it drops off the radar after the first weekend, they will never allow a film like this to be made again.”

      I don’t need the screenwriter of Watchmen telling me to see Watchmen again based on his opinion of his own movie. For better or worse, let audiences decide for themselves. How many artistic endeavors, be they cinematic, musical, etc, have not yielded commercial gains? Far better films than Watchmen have flopped at the box-office but have ultimately found reverence and acclaim. If Watchmen is truly deserving of such a status, maybe Hayter and Snyder will one day have the last laugh.

    3. He isnt asking you to see it based on his opinion of HIS own movie. He saw the blood sweat and tears that went into making this movie, and its a genre to itself that we may never see again.

      And you miss the point entirely. He isn’t trying to get Watchmen the fame and fortune he thinks it deserves, he wants to send a message to Hollywood that movie patrons want to see more thought provoking engaging movies. All those things that gain their own acclaim despite financial failure are only ever heard of because no one tries to do that kind of thing again.

      Name one financial flop that is considered the ground breaking event that saved a genre?

    4. I agree with Rodney on this. His plea is does not seem to be that of one that is just trying to make an extra buck, but rather to hope for a future where movies of this kind can continue to be made. On the other hand, I understand why people may interpret it as just trying to increase income. So I ask you this, would you prefer if a nobody that has nothing to do with the movie other than being a viewer asks you do your part in supporting the movie in hopes of it inspiring Hollywood to take more risks like they took on Watchmen? Then I will be that voice, and I am sure many others will to, in saying “see this movie, vote for it with your dollar in hopes that Hollywood will take the risk to continue making movies of this caliber.” I am a nobody, so does that mean something more to you now? Or do you think I am just trying to get people to see it to put more money in the studios pocket?

    5. I see his point Rodney, and that’s part of the problem. His point only works if everyone unanimously agrees that Watchmen the movie is a masterpiece. Opinion on this movie has been very divisive to say the least. For me, the film is more replication than adaptation. Brainy? Thought provoking? Maybe the book, but not the movie. If the final product was actually a brilliant adaptation, maybe I would want more movies like Watchmen made.

    6. The graphic novel was brainy but not the movie? Interesting seeing as how nearly EVERY review on this film has said it is a faithful translation from page to screen (regardless of whether they see this as good or bad thing)

      And you appear to be in a minority since MOST reviews out there are favourable to Watchmen, indicating that most reviewers DO want more movies like it.

      No one said that more movies like Watchmen meant carbon copy clones of the film, just that more risky subjects and treatements might be considered knowing we like thought provoking films. Perhaps the next risky subject is a matter that appeals more to you. But those won’t get made while they make easy bucks on worthless garbage and just barely skim by with grand efforts like this one.

  40. Loved the graphic novel, will probably love the movie when i see it. But this is kind of ridiculous…”please, just give us your money…we spent a lot on this movie and we need your money. kThnx”

  41. Having never read the graphic novel (apparently I was in a cave) I didn’t know what to expect when I saw this movie, the trailers just don’t do the film justice. I was blown away, and amazed on how dense they could make a film, based on a graphic novel. I loved it and will see it again. While I agree completely that watching a movie like this and saving it from bombing on week two would usher in more movies with intelligence, the letter almost seems like a desperate cry for help. It’s ok, though, the movie rocked.

  42. Honestly, never has a movie produced so much interesting dialogue between one of my friend groups. its a constant debate on whether this is genius, a light show, or both. We all have mixed opinions. But I do have to say, no other movie has got us talking to this degree… second place is The Assassination of Jesse James by The Coward Robert Ford. Should have been nominated and won Best Picture of 2007.

    1. Great to see that I am not the only one that loved the Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford.

      I don’t get how some people are saying that the script for Watchmen was crap. The movie flowed just like the comic and the dialog was superb. Dr. Manhattan had some amazing lines that were remarkably intellectual and deep, very thought provoking.

  43. If that’s not a plea for a box office rise, I don’t know what is..I hope they stop making movies like this..I’m not saying it’s a bad idea or story..but the way the movie was made, how god awful the script was…I didn’t care where it was going, and quite frankly, I just wanted it to end..I think this movie could of benefited a lot from a better director and writer…this movie was a mess.

  44. I think his heart is in the right place but his logic is faulty. If the film does good the only message hollywood will take out is people want more comic book movies. If it fails the message will be to stick to comics that everyone has heard of. Hollywood is incapable of thinking any deeper.

  45. I enjoyed the movie, it wasn’t perfect but I wasn’t expecting it to be. It still was a damn good movie and a great adaption to what I regard one of the best novels ever.

  46. I saw the film last weekend, and though I loved it, i’m just not sure that this movie will draw enough $$ as they would like it. It just seems that 300 caters to not just the fanboys, but for regular non comic book readers as well. We’re talking about word of mouth here… I just can’t see too many non comic book readers recommending this movie to their other non comic book reader friends. I hope i’m wrong though. we need more watchmen and less xmen the last stand… more dark knight and less fantastic four ROTSS

    1. I can’t speak for other non-comic book readers, but I for one would recommend it. Granted, I did read the graphic novel after I saw the trailer, but I tend to check out the source when I am eager to see a movie. I read the Bourne series soon after I saw the trailer for the first movie, as an example. Granted, I picked up the Wanted graphic novel at the same time as Watchmen, but these are the first two comics I have read in like fifteen years. Where Wanted, now that I have read the comic, I am glad they did not do a literal translation, Watchmen on the other hand was perfect in its attention to detail to the comic. Not that the Wanted comic was bad, it was just necessary to change to avoid an NC-17 rating. Watchmen, from a non-comic reading perspective, was pleasure both in print and on film.

    2. jeremy
      do you think its too close to the comic for those who havent read it to understand?

      im just asking b/c im planning on seeing it saturday and have always wondered that.

    3. Good question. I did go see it with a friend that is plain and simply put the most clueless person I know. She got lost watching an episode of Supernatural, which is not a complicated show. She most definitely does not read comics and thus has not read Watchmen. Her response after seeing it was that she really liked it even though she was a little lost in it.

      Honestly, for me, I think I would have still gotten it without a problem had I not read the comic ahead of time. There is a lot of depth in it, and I think the reason many people are just not getting it is that they went into it expecting a typical super hero action flick. Which it is not. When I recommend it to people I explain first and foremost it is not the typical superhero movie. That its roots stem more into drama, politics, and humanity than being a straight up action flick. So go into it expecting more depth than action. If you go into expecting it to be something it is not, then ya, your just not going to get it.

      Do you need to read the comic to really understand it? No, not really. You just have to pay a little more attention to what is going on. It is not really a sit back and enjoy the roller coaster ride that people tend to expect from such a movie.

  47. I just saw Watchmen tonight, and I gotta say, it blows all other graphic novel and comic book movies out of the water.

    It is the most literal translation from book to film thats ever been made. Zack Snyder, thank you sir.

    I agree with David Hayter’s points that the fanbase needs to support this movie and go see it, take their friends, family, neighbors and associates to go see it.

    Its a movie that truly makes you think on multiple levels about the state of humanity and the darker side of society like no other movie has done.

    All I can say in closing is thank you to the loads of people that helped make this movie happen and I hope that it will set a new precedence for comic book and graphic novel based films in Hollywood.

    To the Watchmen!

  48. I truly believe this isn’t just a box office plea, but even if you hated this movie imagine what would happen if this makes a shit load of money? In the near future, we could get truly risky films that we never could have imagined because they never would have been funded a couple of years ago. I love the idea of a healthy dose of “smart” mixed in with my “cool”, all too often in film they are seperated from one another. To me “Watchmen” is a rare film where these two ingredients are nearly evenly mixed to create something pretty special and it should be aknowledged for that, or at least aknowledged for being gutsy enough to try. I for one will be posting this letter on every social networking site I belong to, and I urge you all to do so as well. I will also be seeing “Watchmen” again this week, to do my oh so little part in shaping the future of film.

    Wow, I really am kinda excited, we as fans may just have a shot at drastically changing the current mold of the film industry. Even if it is just a snowball’s chance in hell, it’s worth a shot right?

  49. I’ve seen it twice already, I going to see it at least once more taking the wife with me. To me, this movie leaves the entire genre of Super-Hero movie in the dust, and I hope we see more along it’s lines.

    1. I saw it last night, never even saw a trailer for it, never read the GN. I was REALLY angry at the apparent ammorality of the ending, could not understand it at all… then I went home and couldn’t stop thinking about it and wondered if I was completely wrong. Today I went out and bought the “new” version of the GN ($40! are they kidding? oh well, at least it was autographed by Dave Gibbons) and am about half-way through it) Tonight I spent an hour and a hlaf on the phone with my 15 y.o. son who lives out of state – and we had the most intense and involved conversation regarding good/evil right/wong, and the choices that we can make – and the question I asked him was – “If you had the means and opportunity to give the world free energy forever – and to ensure world peace forever – how many people would you be willing to murder?” – which to me, is the truly difficult question that “Watchmen” poses – I could give a rip about blue schlongs and stupid sex scenes (it was stupid) and the sometimes mind-numbing dialog – the point is, I walked out of the theatre in a rage absolutely hating it – and will be going back this weekend to see it again. After I have read the GN. And I will take my son to see it. His comment (smart kid) was regarding “The Prestige” (one of our favorite films)- “How far are you willing to go to achieve your goal?” Multiple levels of deception, obsession to the point of madness….. hmmm. Sounds familiar.

      Watchmen, for all it’s flaws (and what film DOESN’T have them?) and intense violence, pissed me off, woke me up, and would not get out of my head. I hope they make a TON of money on this (as a theatre producer, I know the pain of pouring your heart and soul into something you truly believe in and having people NOT get it and losing your a$$) and I appreciate the passion and intensity that this film seems to have aroused. Thanks for the forum!

  50. You’re probably right in that he’s sharing his point of view, but I agree with your first instinct.

    Seems like they’re very concerned about the movie’s legs at the box office. I wonder if they expected more than $3.9M on Monday. 300 had a better hold on its first Monday (drawing a considerably higher $7.6M.)

    I still think $150-160M domestic is in reach, but I wonder if they truly expected more.

    1. I think its deeper than that. Yes he wants the boxoffice to rise, but not for financial gain, but rather to send a message that we want more movies that mean as much to us as this movie did to him.

      He fears that if this movie fails financially, it will send a message to the cash motivated Hollywood. A message that movies of this caliber are not worth their time.

    2. Well Lord of the Rings was a typical fantasy film done right. (I say typical with a sense of irony since most fantasy can be traced back to be inspired by LOTR) and Dark Knight is a typical superhero flick done right.

      The point is to have daring risky stories told. Everyone would love to see epic stories like the Fall of Superman played out, but we know it wont happen.

      What about Batman Year One or when Robin dies? They wont do that in a movie. Or Dark Knight returns. An alternate future story?

      XMen Days of Future Past has long been called one of the best storylines in the book, but we wont get that one either. Too risky.

    3. No, I said I liked the movie. It was a better adaptation than most comic book movies.

      I just think, someone who makes big, bucks, adapting one of the, best novels of the century, should, at least, attempt to write above, a 4th grade level.

      It (makes it,) a credibility issue.

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