While litigation is still underway concerning Disney’s Zootopia, another person has stepped forward with claims that the Walt Disney Company and Pixar stole the idea behind their feature Inside Out. Denise Daniels, a parenting and child development specialist who has been featured on shows such as Today and Oprah, is claiming that the idea for color-coded emotions was originally hers.
The story of Inside Out centers around 11-year-old Riley, as she deals with the difficult transition of moving from Minnesota to San Francisco. To display her internal conflict, five anthropomorphic emotions are used. Each emotion had a corresponding color: yellow for Joy, blue for Sadness, red for Anger, green for Disgust, and purple for Fear. Daniels says that her show, “Moodsters”, had the same essential design; color-coded talking emotions. “Moodsters” used yellow for Happiness, blue for Sadness, red for Anger, green for Fear, and pink for Love.
Daniels claims that she pitched “Moodsters” to Disney every year from 2005 to 2009. She states that she had an “implied-in-fact” contract with Disney which should entitle her to a portion of sales from the box office, DVD, Blu-ray, iTunes, and merchandise from Inside Out. Since its release, Inside Out has grossed over $850 million worldwide, which Denise claims would not be possible without her idea. She feels that the type of compensation she requests is “custom and common in the entertainment industry.”
Her complaint sites Inside Out director Pete Docter, as well as former Disney Chief Financial Officer Thomas Staggs and other executives, stating they “had access” to her pitch.
Disney has declined to comment so far.
Image: Disney and Pixar’s Inside Out (2015)