Disney Pixar has found itself in hot water after an expert in child development claimed that the concept for the film Inside Out, which was released in 2015, came from her.
Denise Daniels filed a federal lawsuit on Monday alleging that she pitched Disney and Pixar executives on a TV project that bears a striking resemblance to Inside Out. She is seeking unspecified damages.
According to the suit, Daniels assembled a creative team and produced a pilot for a show called “The Moodsters.” The show was intended to help children understand their feelings, and featured characters representing five emotions – happiness, sadness, anger, love, and fear – that live inside ever child. Similarly, there are characters in Inside Out that represent five emotions – joy, sadness, anger, fear, and disgust – living inside the mind of 12-year-old Riley.
Daniels alleges that Disney breached an implied contract by failing to compensate or credit her for the idea, which she began developing in 2005. She argues that she discussed the idea with several Disney and Pixar executives between 2005 and 2009, and even had an extensive phone conversation with Pete Docter, who would go on to direct Inside Out.
A Disney spokesperson issued this statement: “Inside Out was an original Pixar creation, and we look forward to vigorously defending against this lawsuit in court.” Doctor has stated in the past that the idea for Inside Out was derived from seeing his own daughter's emotional development, and how that changed over time, starting work on it in 2009.