Disney faces copyright infringement lawsuit for “Zootopia”

"Zootopia." Photo by Moviestore/REX/Shutterstock (5498489c)

How far would a screenwriter go to expose a director, producer or studio for copyright infringement of source material? Currently, Disney is being sued by Gary L. Goldman, known for Total Recall, who claims he wrote the material which was later used in Zootopia.

Zootopia (2016) was directed  by Byron Howard and Rich Moore, known for Bolt (2008), Tangled (2010) and features the voices of Ginnifer Goodwin as Officer Judy Hopps, Jason Bateman as Nick Wilde,and Idris Elba as Chief Bogo. The film grossed over $1.2 billion against an $150 million budget.

Goldman, along with Esplanade Productions, claims that Disney took his ideas for his pitch of Zootopia and turned it into a movie without his permission.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, back in November 2017, the case was dismissed in Federal Court by Federal Judge Michael Fitzgerald, who stated that “The similarities between Goldman’s work and Zootopia are not many or ‘striking’; they are few, random, and superficial.” On February 13th Esplanade Productions filed a complaint to bring the lawsuit back into court.

In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Esplanade Productions stated that “Disney used Goldman’s concept for Zootopia as ‘a metaphor for life and for America,’ where ‘an animal can be whatever he wants to be.’ Thus, Esplanade is informed and believes that Disney did not create its Zootopia from scratch but, rather, used Goldman’s materials as the basis for its movie.”

Esplanade Productions along with Goldman are seeking compensatory damages and an injunction against Disney for using anymore elements of Goldman’s initial pitch of Zootopia.