Parenting expert sues Disney, says it stole 'Inside Out' idea


Reuters

UPDATE 1-Parenting expert sues Disney, says it stole 'Inside Out' idea


(Adds Disney comment paragraph 5)
    By Jonathan StempelJune 20 (Reuters) - A parenting and child development
specialist has sued Walt Disney Co <DIS.N> and its Pixar unit,
accusing them of stealing from her the concept for their 2015
blockbuster movie, "Inside Out."
    In a complaint filed on Monday in Los Angeles federal court,
Denise Daniels said the animated film, featuring color-coded
characters representing individual human emotions, mirrors a
children's program called "The Moodsters" that she conceived and
pitched to Disney every year from 2005 to 2009.
    Daniels, who lives in Minnesota'sTwin Cities area and has
appeared on TV shows including "Today" and "Oprah," said she had
an "implied-in-fact" contract with Disney requiring that she be
paid from box office, DVD, Blu-Ray, iTunes and merchandise
revenue from "Inside Out."
    The film has grossed more than $850 million worldwide since
its June 2015 release. Daniels said this "extreme success" was
not possible without her work, and that Disney should pay her
because it is "custom and common in the entertainment industry."
     A Disney spokesman, however, said "Inside Out" was an
original Pixar creation. "We look forward to vigorously
defending against this lawsuit in court," the spokesman said.
    Ronald Schutz, a lawyer for Daniels, declined to comment.
Daniels was unavailable to comment.
    The lawsuit is at least the second in three months accusing
Disney of stealing a concept for a blockbuster film.
    In March, the Hollywood screenwriter Gary Goldman, whose
credits include the Arnold Schwarzenegger film "Total Recall,"
sued Disney for allegedly copying its Oscar-winning animated
film "Zootopia" from his work. [nL2N1GY1EF]
    "Inside Out" follows 11-year-old Riley, voiced by Kaitlyn
Dias, as she tries to cope with her family's move to San
Francisco from Minnesota.
    It also shows her dealing with personifications of five
emotions: Joy (yellow), Sadness (blue), Fear (purple), Anger
(red) and Disgust (green), voiced by Amy Poehler, Phyllis Smith,
Bill Hader, Lewis Black and Mindy Kaling.
    Daniels said this resembled "The Moodsters," in which
characters also had assigned colors: Happiness (yellow), Sadness
(blue), Fear (green), Anger (red) and Love (pink).
    According to her complaint, "Inside Out" director Pete
Docter, former Disney Chief Financial Officer Thomas Staggs and
several other Disney executives had access to her pitch.
    No individuals were named as defendants.
    In the "Zootopia" case, Disney has denied wrongdoing and
asked a federal judge to dismiss Goldman's complaint.
    The Daniels case is Daniels v. Walt Disney Co et al, U.S.
District Court, Central District of California, No. 17-04527.
The Goldman case is Esplanade Productions Inc v. Walt Disney Co
et al in the same court, No. 17-02185.

 (Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York; Editing by
Bernadette Baum and Lisa Shumaker)
 ((jon.stempel@thomsonreuters.com; +1 646 223 6317; Reuters
Messaging: jon.stempel.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net))

Keywords: WALT DISNEY INSIDEOUT/ (UPDATE 1, PIX)



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