Disney Is Being Sued Over Zootopia - And They're Confident They'll Win

One News Page Staff Monday, 3 April 2017
Disney Is Being Sued Over Zootopia - And They're Confident They'll Winby 👨‍💻 Graham Pierrepoint


While last year was tremendous for Disney at the box office on the whole, one of their biggest success was Zootopia, which earned more than one billion dollars at the international box office, and an Academy Award for Best Animated Feature. It’s likely the movie will go down as one of the firm’s biggest successes, and it is still one of the most highest-rated animations of all time on Rotten Tomatoes with a blistering 98% approval rating. Scores like that do not come lightly! However, while it has been over a year since the movie hit cinemas, it seems that someone is taking matters regarding the originality of the piece rather seriously.

Gary L Goldman, who famously wrote the screenplay for Arnold Schwarzenegger sci-fi staple Total Recall, has filed a lawsuit against The Walt Disney Company – stating that he had initially approached the studios with a treatment for a movie and character designs that he claims have been plagiarized into the film that became Zootopia in 2016. Goldman’s lawsuit insists that the movie aped ‘themes, settings, plot, characters, and dialogue – some virtually verbatim’ – and he is claiming copyright infringement and breach of contract (implied-in-fact).

Disney, however, has completely debunked the claims in an interview with Deadline before the lawsuit has even gotten underway. A spokesman for the firm has asserted that Goldman’s allegations are completely fabricated, and that they will defend the case in court to prove their side of events. It is certainly a rather imposing lawsuit – Zootopia clawed in a huge amount of money at the box office and, if ruled in his favor, Goldman could be on the receiving end of a substantial share of the colossal income.

Disney are confident that Goldman’s case will not stand up in court, though the screenwriter has requested a jury to sit in on the case and is yet to confirm how much damages he is seeking. The lawsuit was only filed a few days ago, meaning that the case is, of course, only in its infancy – but if it makes its way to court, it could prove to be a fascinating look at intellectual property law in film – with either side, at present, keen to assert that they are in the right. We will, of course, keep you up to speed on any developments that may arise!


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