Movie producer and screenwriter Gary Goldman, who was involved in both the original Total Recall and Big Trouble In Little China among others, recently filed a lawsuit against the Walt Disney Company alleging that Disney stole his idea for the hit film Zootopia.
Goldman alleges the entertainment giant stole his character designs, lines of dialogue, the plot, and the name "Zootopia" from a project he pitched twice, first in the year 2000 and then in 2009.
The lawsuit alleges, "Although The Walt Disney Company rigorously enforces its copyrights, it has developed a culture that not only accepts the unauthorized copying of others' original material, but encourages it. 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."
A Disney spokesperson issued said to Variety, "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."
The complaint goes on to show similarities in character designs from Zootopia and the project Goldman hired an animator to work on, including a squirrel named Mimi who the suit alleges was modified to be Judy Hopps, and a hyena named Roscow, alleged to be based on Nick Fox.
The suit also alleges that Goldman pitched the idea again in 2009 to a former studio executive.
The Disney project was announced in 2010 with director Byron Howard, who told Slash Film that he came up with the idea to John Lasseter. According to that interview, the idea began as a James Bond-esque spy movie until it eventually evolved into what it is now.
Zootopia is currently on HD Digital, Blu-ray, and DVD.
From Walt Disney Animation Studios comes a comedy-adventure set in the modern mammal metropolis of Zootopia. Determined to prove herself, Officer Judy Hopps, the first bunny on Zootopia's police force, jumps at the chance to crack her first case – even if it means partnering with scam-artist fox Nick Wilde to solve the mystery. Bring home this hilarious adventure full of action, heart and tons of bonus extras that take you deeper into the world of Zootopia. It's big fun for all shapes and species!
The cast features Ginnifer Goodwin as Judy Hopps, Jason Bateman as Nick Wilde, Idris Elba as Chief Bogo, Jenny Slate as Assistant Mayor Bellwether, Nate Torrence as Benjamin Clawhauser, Bonnie Hunt as Bonnie Hopps, Don Lake as Stu Hopps, Tommy Chong as Yax the Yak, J.K. Simmons as Mayor Leodore Lionheart, and Alan Tudyk as Weaselton.