Disney Sued for Stealing the Concept for 'Inside Out'

Posted 2017/06/21 0 0

An expert in child development filed a federal lawsuit on Monday alleging that the 2015 Pixar movie “Inside Out” used her original idea.


In the suit, filed in federal court in California, child-development expert Denise Daniels says that the premise of the 2015 film, described in the suit as “the use of anthropomorphized emotions Joy, Sadness, Anger, Fear and Disgust as individual characters within the head of an 11-year old girl”, was lifted from her own children’s program The Moodsters that she conceived and pitched to Disney every year from 2005 to 2009.

Daniels, who co-founded the National Childhood Grief Institute, says the idea was born after years of counseling children after tragedies including Hurricane Katrina and 9/11. It started with a workbook to help doctors work with pediatric patients using color-coded symbols for emotions, and with the help of a "high-profile and accomplished" team it eventually was developed into a pilot.

"The Moodsters live 'deep down inside every child,' and featured five main characters," writes attorney Michael Geibelson in the complaint. "Each character is an animated, anthropromorphized figure representing a single emotion with a corresponding color, and specifically happiness (yellow), anger (red), sadness (blue), fear (green) and love (pink)."

Daniels alleges that she discussed the idea with several Disney and Pixar executives between 2005 and 2009. She also says she had an extensive phone conversation with Pete Docter, who would go on to direct “Inside Out.” She says she discussed the idea with Thomas Staggs, who was the CFO of Disney at the time, and executives at Playhouse Disney.

When asked why Daniels waited two years after the movie’s release to file the suit, her attorney said the time gap was not unusual in such cases.

“You don’t file these cases lightly,” said Ronald Schutz of the firm Robins Kaplan.

A Disney spokesman, however, said "Inside Out" was an original Pixar creation. "We look forward to vigorously defending against this lawsuit in court," the spokesman said.

Ronald Schutz declined to comment. Daniels was unavailable to comment.