A San Fransisco-based artist, Sweet Cecily Daniher, is suing Disney, Pixar and Onward producer Kori Rae for allegedly covertly using her vehicle as a basis for the van featured in the soon-to-be released movie, Onward.
Daniher’s 1972 Chevrolet G10 van, featuring red shag carpeting, a roof covered in white shag carpet, red velour seats and walls, and a large exterior mural of a unicorn, and has been highlighted by the artist on Instagram, and is well known in the San Francisco area. Daniher calls her van “Vanicorn,” and has loved unicorns her entire life.
According to Daniher, Pixar became interested in her van after San Francisco Magazine featured the vehicle in a piece. Pixar reached out to Daniher, and rented the vehicle for an event in September 2018. According to the artist, she was told that “the Vanicorn would be used for an event limited to ‘a one day music festival/activity day for Pixar employees and families’ and that the Vanicorn ‘would just be a show piece and not used in any way other than a visual prop.'”
Daniher became aware of Onward‘s impending release on May 31st, 2019, and of the van featured in the movie that greatly resembles her vehicle. She took to Instagram and compared pictures of both Vanicorn and the van to be featured in Onward, and asked those reading the post “WOW! Sooo, do y’all think Pixar Disney stole the Vanicorn for their movie #onward ????”
Daniher claimed via an Instagram post on June 2nd, 2019 that Onward producer Kori Rae reached out to her to apologize, and that Rae said “…that they rented my van without disclosing their full intentions, or plans, and she’s sorry for that too.”
Jared Weinstock and J. Conor Corcoran, Daniher’s attorneys, are arguing that the rental contract for the van did not allow any photos, video or visual representations of the Vanicorn for any purpose other than that day’s special event.
According to the complaint, “[T]hey have altered this Plaintiff’s highly personal and public transubstantiation of her lifelong artistic interest in unicorns into the Vanicorn (a uniquely San Franciscan work of public, mobile, automotive art, and a redemptive and validating act of recovery from toxic masculinity and a former marriage) and which has, instead, been pilfered by the Defendants as a commercial and corporate conduit for the aspirations of a pair of blue boy elves looking for their father in a mass marketed Disney film, and was accomplished by the Defendants under wickedly misleading pretenses.”
Sweet Cecily Daniher is suing for violation of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, of the Visual Artists Rights Act and of the California Artists Protection Act, and copyright infringement.
Daniher is seeking an injunction barring distribution, “…marketing or selling infringing advertisements, merchandise and the film itself…” and she desires a “…declaration that defendants’ related copyrights are invalid.” She is also seeking damages.
Disney has not yet commented on the complaint.
Source: The Hollywood Reporter