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‘Watchmen’ an adaptation of graphic novel

Movie: “Watchmen”

When: Opening Friday at local theaters

Cast: Malin Akerman, Billy Crudup, Matthew Goode, Jackie Earle Haley, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Carla Gugino

Director: Zack Snyder

The story: In an alternate-universe 1985, the murder of an ex-superhero prompts a masked vigilante to recruit ragtag ex-colleagues (only one of whom has genuine powers) to help him uncover a conspiracy to discredit — or kill — past and present superheroes.

The buzz: This adaptation of Alan Moore’s landmark graphic novel, from “300” director Snyder, takes place in a Cold War-era America still facing possible nuclear war with the Soviet Union. But the real “Watchmen” war took place late last year, when 20th Century Fox, which held the original movie rights to “Watchmen,” threatened legal action against Warner Bros. over this big-screen adaptation — and a federal judge ruled in Fox’s favor, jeopardizing the Warner release. That is, until the two studios settled their differences in January; the deal reportedly includes a sizable payoff for Fox, plus a percentage of the box-office gross.

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