Disney's "Zootopia" does suggest you "Try Everything," but they probably don't mean "file a lawsuit against us." Disney just picked up the Best Animated Feature Film Oscar for "Zootopia" and now the studio is fighting back after the co-screenwriter of "Total Recall" and "Big Trouble in Little China" filed a lawsuit alleging they copied "Zootopia" from an idea he pitched to them -- twice.
"They did it with 'Zootopia,' too, when they copied Gary L. Goldman's 'Zootopia.' Twice — in 2000 and 2009 — Goldman, on behalf of Esplanade, pitched Defendants his 'Zootopia' franchise, which included a live-action component called Looney and an animated component called Zootopia. He provided a treatment, a synopsis, character descriptions, character illustrations and other materials. He even provided a title for the franchise: 'Zootopia.' Instead of lawfully acquiring Goldman's work, Defendants said they were not interested in producing it and sent him on his way. Thereafter, consistent with their culture of unauthorized copying, Defendants copied Goldman's work. They copied Goldman's themes, settings, plot, characters, and dialogue — some virtually verbatim."
The complaint included artwork comparisons from Goldman's pitch to Disney's "Zootopia" characters (via Deadline):
The lawsuit alleges that Goldman pitched his idea to former Disney executive and Mandeville Films' CEO David Hoberman at Disney's offices in 2000, and that everyone at the pitch meeting "understood that writers pitch ideas and materials to studios and producers in confidence in order to sell those ideas and materials for financial compensation." The company passed, but Goldman tried again nine years later, allegedly pitching his "Zootopia" idea to Disney exec Brigham Taylor in February 2009. Disney then allegedly began work on its own "Zootopia" movie. The lawsuit alleges violation of plaintiff's copyrights, breach of implied contract, breach of confidence, and unfair competition.
A Disney spokesperson responded to the suit in a statement, saying, "Mr. Goldman's lawsuit is riddled with patently false allegations. It is an unprincipled attempt to lay claim to a successful film he didn't create, and we will vigorously defend against it in court."
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