Disney's 'Frozen' Trailer Targeted in Copyright Lawsuit
The creator of an animated short says Disney teased its blockbuster by misappropriating her own work.
Hollywood theft lawsuits are common, but rare is one that mainly takes issue with a film teaser.
On Friday, Kelly Wilson stood up in a California federal court to challenge the way that The Walt Disney Co. teased its Oscar-winning animated film Frozen. According to the complaint, the teaser trailer for Frozen, released in June 2013, is substantially similar to a short 2D computer-animated film entitled The Snowman, about an "average Joe" snowman who must battle a gang of hungry rabbits to save his carrot nose.
That's not exactly the plotline of Disney's billion-dollar film (and the top animated feature of all time), but the lawsuit attempts to score points by turning to film commentators who described the Frozen teaser as misleading. For example, Slate's Dan Kois noted in his film review that his 6-year-old daughter thought the "movie was about a snowman and a reindeer fighting for a carrrooootttttt!" and Forbes is cited as running an article about how Frozen's opening weekend success was attributable to "the false undersell."
In other words, Wilson wants a judge to compare The Snowman with Frozen's trailer, not Frozen itself.
To that end, the plaintiff submits frame-by-frame comparisons:
And the plaintiff also goes through alleged similarities in plot ("a snowman competing with animals on slippery ice to recover his carrot nose"), characters ("Both snowmen are portrayed as awkward, insecure and clumsy"), themes ("competition, sacrifice, friendship and gratitude"), sequence of events, setting, mood, pace and dialogue ("hello").
"The claim is utterly without merit and we will defend against it vigorously," says a Disney spokesperson.
Watch the teaser trailer below: