A Child Psychologist Is Suing Disney Over Inside Out

Photo: Everett Collection.
Disney-Pixar's Inside Out went down as one of the most original (and tear-jerking) ways anyone had ever depicted the inner workings of the mind. But however original it may have seemed, a new lawsuit is alleging that the studio stole the idea of anthropomorphic emotions. According to The Hollywood Reporter, child psychologist Denise Daniels claims that she had pitched the idea to Disney many times from 2005 to 2009.
Originally conceived as The Moodsters, Daniels' idea was to give emotions human traits to help kids express themselves. She went on to help establish the National Childhood Grief Institute and counsel kids after Hurricane Katrina and 9/11. The Moodsters came about after Daniels wanted an easy way for counselors and kids to discuss feelings. It was so successful that Daniels pitched the team of emotions to Disney as a TV pilot. Her suit claims that Disney-Pixar breached an "implied-in-fact contract," because the company insinuated that it would move forward with the idea, but Daniels never got compensated for coming up with the concept
"The Moodsters live 'deep down inside every child,' and featured five main characters," attorney Michael Geibelson wrote in the complaint. "Each character is an animated, anthropomorphized figure representing a single emotion with a corresponding color, and specifically happiness (yellow), anger (red), sadness (blue), fear (green) and love (pink)."
That sounds awfully familiar to the 2015 animated film, but Daniels adds that she was just following the protocol set in the entertainment industry. She never expected that Disney-Pixar would take her idea and create a feature film without paying her.
"Inside Out was an original Pixar creation, and we look forward to vigorously defending against this lawsuit in court," Disney said in a statement released to THR, which has the entire statement from Daniels, too.
The news follows in the rabbit-shaped footsteps of a suit over Zootopia (2016). Earlier this year, screenwriter Gary L. Goldman claimed that Disney stole the idea for that film from him. Disney claims that the film was an original creation, too, but there's no doubt that a little red character in both legal teams' heads is not happy at the moment.
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