While Warner Bros. is certainly keeping busy with their DC Comics Extended Universe (DCEU), the studio has also formed a separate animated universe that stands apart from its live-action counterpart. If a new report is to be believed, then it seems that the studio may be considering bringing the iconic Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons graphic novel Watchmen back to life, as an R-rated animated superhero movie. While there hasn't been any confirmation from Warner Bros. about this project, the studio is reportedly gauging interest in this movie through an online survey.
A Film Buff Online reader sent the site an excerpt from an online marketing survey, where users were asked how excited they would be for a "made-for-video" movie based on the iconic Watchmen graphic novel. The online survey doesn't give any indication of whether or not this project has currently made it through any stages of development or production yet, but it's possible the studio may move forward if given a positive response. Here's the description of this movie from the survey below.
"A faithful adaptation of the Watchmen graphic novel executed in an animation style that mirrors the source material (Anticipated MPAA R rating). In an alternate world where the mere presence of American superheroes changed history, the US won the Vietnam War, Nixon is still president, and the cold war is in full effect. Watchmen begins as a murder-mystery, but soon unfolds into a planet-altering conspiracy. As the resolution comes to a head, the unlikely group of reunited heroes, Rorschach, Nite Owl, Silk Spectre, Dr. Manhattan and Ozymandias, have to test the limits of their convictions and ask themselves where the true line is between good and evil."
Watchmen was previously adapted into the long-awaited 2009 Watchmen movie, and while it was critically-acclaimed, it didn't quite take off at the box office like the studio would have hoped. The comic book adaptation was directed by Zack Snyder, who would go on to direct Man of Steel, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and Justice League, with a celebrated cast that included Jackie Earle Haley as Rorschach, Patrick Wilson as Nite Owl, Carla Gugino as Silk Spectre, Billy Crudup as Dr. Manhattan, Jeffrey Dean Morgan as The Comedian, and Matthew Goode as Ozymandius. While it was considered one of the most anticipated movies by many fanboys, it only earned $107.5 million domestically and $185.2 million, from a budget of $130 million. We reported in 2015 that Zack Snyder was engaging in talks with HBO for a Watchmen TV series, but there haven't been any further updates since then.
If this is actually happening, it's possible that a new animated R-rated Watchmen movie could be spurned on by the success of Warner Bros.' successful R-rated adaptation of the iconic comic book Batman: The Killing Joke. While the movie was predominantly released straight to Blu-ray, DVD and Digital HD formats, it did have a one-night-only theatrical release through Fathom Events, where it earned an impressive $3.1 million from 1,325 theaters. Given how iconic the Watchmen graphic novel is, and the fact that audiences are finally starting to embrace R-rated fare, with hits such as Deadpool and Logan, it certainly could be feasible for a faithful R-rated adaptation of Watchmen to catch on. Whether or not that happens is anyone's guess.