Gary Goldman, whose credits include the Arnold Schwarzenegger
film "Total Recall" and Tom Cruise film "Minority Report," filed
his copyright infringement lawsuit in the U.S. District Court in
He said Disney replicated, sometimes "virtually verbatim," the
themes, settings, plot, characters and dialogue, as well as the
title, of his "Zootopia" concept, which he had pitched to the
studio in 2000 and 2009.
Disney and its affiliates embrace "a culture that not only
accepts the unauthorized copying of others' original material,
but encourages it," the lawsuit said. "They did it with 'Zootopia,'
too, when they copied Gary L. Goldman's 'Zootopia.'"
In a statement, Disney said: "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."
"Zootopia" has grossed more than $1 billion worldwide since its
release a year ago, and last month won the Academy Award for
best animated feature film.
The film explores bias through the comedic story of a rabbit,
voiced by the actress Ginnifer Goodwin, who leaves her rural
hometown to join a big-city police force in an animal metropolis
where prejudice and fear divide residents.
Byron Howard, the film's co-director, said in accepting the
Oscar that the development of "Zootopia" had begun about five
years earlier, "in hopes when the film came out it would make
the world just a slightly better place."
Goldman, through his company Esplanade Productions Inc, is
seeking unspecified compensatory and punitive damages, including
from merchandise sales, reflecting what he called Disney's
"wanton, deliberate, malicious, and willful misconduct."
Jeffery McFarland, a lawyer for Goldman, declined additional
comment, as did an outside spokesman for Goldman.
The case is Esplanade Productions Inc v Walt Disney Co et al,
U.S. District Court, Central District of California, No.
(Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York; Additional reporting
by Lisa Richwine in Los Angeles; Editing by Tom Brown)
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