Zootopia might be a rip-off? Lawsuit filed by screenwriter claims Oscar-winning film is not original
One of last year's biggest hits at the box office was Disney's animated blockbuster Zootopia, which crossed the $1 billion worldwide threshold and became the second highest-grossing original film of all time, albeit a distant second place behind James Cameron's Avatar ($2.7 billion).
The film also won big at the Oscars, winning the Best Animated Feature Film Award. But now it seems that Zootopia might not be an original film at all, with a screenwriter named Gary Goldman filing a lawsuit against Disney, claiming the studio stole an original idea he had that he reportedly pitched to the studio twice.
Gary Goldman has a number of major writing credits to his name, including Big Trouble In Little China and Total Recall.
The Hollywood Reporter reveals that the screenwriter pitched his project, which included a live-action film component entitled Looney and the animated counterpart called Zootopia.
The writer pitched this franchise two separate times to Disney, in the years 2000 and 2009, with the writer even providing artwork for characters he created, that are seen side by side with the characters in Zootopia.
The lawsuit claims that its source is unmistakable given Goldman's detailed work offering descriptions about characters and other elements.
— Variety (@Variety) March 21, 2017
Disney has released a statement saying Goldman's claims are fake. "Mr. Goldman’s lawsuit is riddled with patently false allegations," a Disney spokesperson told Deadline.
"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."