Update on the Zootopia Lawsuit!

Source: ReyJJJ

Two months ago, ZNN covered the complaint leveled against Disney by Gary Goldman and Esplanade Productions, Inc. claiming that Disney had stolen an old pitch presented by Goldman and used that to create Zootopia without giving him any credit.  We discussed why we thought this motion was absurd back then, but now Disney’s lawyers are stepping up to bat!

In a move that nobody is surprised by, Disney has filed for dismissal of the case, claiming:

“This is just another example in a long history of plaintiffs coming out of the woodwork after a motion picture has achieved critical and financial success to claim credit – and proceeds – where none is due.”

In the motion to dismiss, Disney’s lawyers compare and contrast the final movie of Zootopia with Goldman’s pitch, referred to here as “Looney”, which contained a live-action story about an animator creating a world of anthropomorphic animals.  Considering just how little actual detail about the proposed story was provided in the initial complaint, a lot of inferences had to be made, but from what Goldman and Esplanade Productions provided, it’s very clear that these two movies are nothing alike.

Not only that, but Disney goes into great depth to compare and contrast the characters put forward by Goldman with the characters in Zootopia.  In my opinion, it’s somewhat laughable that Goldman is even trying to make a case based on this, when what he provided are not real characters so much as they are archetypes or rough sketches.

I mean, just look at them side-by-side.

Either way, I hope that the judge overseeing this case sides with Disney and rules to throw this claim out.  If the legal team defending Disney sees this, remember…

Try Everything!

Check out the original article alerting us to this development over on The Hollywood Reporter, and read the full Motion to Dismiss right here!


  1. GO DISNEY! From what I've read, I really don't see that they stole anything. Goldman's claim that his pitch is the basis for Zootopia sounds pretty vague/generalized. "There's some sort of conflict and a problem for the protagonist to solve" sounds pretty common–seriously, unless it's a documentary, I think we'll see that in MOST movies. The ONLY thing that might have been lifted (and was most likely a coincidence) was the "If you want to be an elephant, be an elephant", but I would LOVE to see the context in which that was used in Goldman's version. Let's allow the courts to do their job and see what happens.


  2. As much as I like some of Goldman's work… yeah, he needs to lose this. Badly. Glad Disney have already filed for dismissal, and I hope they get it.

  3. scuse me, may i point out the most basic flaw:
    the original pitch was anthropomorphan animals in clothes, none of goldbergs mammals have clothes! and the one is missing half her biological make up!!!
    if anything Disney can sue goldman for slander, and other things that i dont know about what to call them….
    ask agent he knows what goldman can be sued with, hes good with that…
    anyway, no where in the documentary does it say lasseter gave goldman a bear hug lifting him up off the ground, no it was byron howard who was picked up like a teddy bear. thank you very much!

  4. It's just like with Shrek, when some random money grubber sued Dreamworks, for stealing his idea, but was later convicted for perjury and fraud, he later admitted to lying in order to get easy money.

  5. Not going to say yall are one sided on this but yall are one sided on this your a damn zootopia fan page for god sakes your only hearing what disney wants you to hear and as far as the characters go this man worked on this pitch by himself not a massive crew like disney so yall saying his characters look nothing alike that's because these are rough sketches for a pitch not final renderings after spending $150 million dollars like come on now have some common sense but if you really want to know whats going on go watch this video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TfejTEfMBtc&t=2s this guy who is a copy right lawyer and is on neither side reads the whole legal case as presented in court so far there's a whole lot more thats similar than just the characters but disney doesn't want to discuss that because they only want people to know what isn't similar smh!

    • That would be fair if Goldman had provided actual evidence of having worked on this other movie, call it The Goldman Zootopia or Looney or whatever you'd like. But he didn't. He provided concept sketches, a super vague outline, and claims that's all he needs to prove he spent 9+ years developing this project. I'm sorry, but I don't buy it. Even if it's one guy working alone (which it wasn't, he hired an artist to make those sketches… and in my opinion he got ripped off if he paid more than $20 per character), if he was developing the concept for that long, he would have a LOT more to show for it.

      Plus, his claim hinges on the assumption that he made an official pitch to somebody high enough in Disney to still be around and influential all these years later. A- I have no idea who it was he spoke to, but they certainly weren't in charge of the Walt Disney Animation Studios, that position was given to Ed Catmull and John Lassetter when Bob Iger took over the company… after the time he claimed to have made the pitch. B- Disney has a very strict policy of not taking pitches from outside sources, for exactly this reason. They've had that policy in place for decades. The most that he would have been able to get, unless he had been hired to work on a totally different project for WDAS (and was considered "internal") is an informal, unofficial, off-the-record conversation where he throws an idea out to his friend, which is certainly not going to hold up in court.

      So yeah, we're one sided here. But so are the facts. I don't agree with the huge amounts of power and influence Disney exercises over copyright law. In fact, I think a lot of what they do with copyright law is completely immoral and should not be allowed. But this? Goldman doesn't seem to have a leg to stand on. If he has anything that can make his case stronger, I look forward to seeing it, and if something of that nature comes forward I will gladly reconsider my stance on this case. But as it is, I'm thinking the judge is probably just going to dismiss this case and move on.

    • Well, to be fair. There is probably more to this case.

      That concept art is probably the only thing allowed to be public at this time.

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