A Minnesota woman is suing Disney and Pixar, claiming she came up with the idea for the hit 2015 movieInside Out.
The lawsuit says child development expert Denise Daniels pitched the idea for the movie to several Walt Disney Company employees, including Pete Docter (the Minnesotan who directed the Academy Award-winning film), but was never compensated for her idea.
Her creation is called The Moodsters. It features five main animated, anthropomorphized characters that represent five different emotions (happiness, anger, sadness, fear, and love) that live inside a child (pictured below).
Inside Out also features animated characters that represent five emotions (joy, sadness, anger, fear, and disgust) – they live inside an 11-year-old girl named Riley (watch a trailer for the movie here).
The lawsuit says Daniels pitched the idea to Disney and Pixar employees every year from 2005 to 2009, with the understanding she'd be compensated if they used her idea. But she says she never was.
Inside Out went on to make a ton of money – $850 million worldwide – since being released in June 2015, and it was lauded by critics for being "inventive" because it was the first time Disney-Pixar had released a movie that anthropomorphized emotions, the lawsuit says.
But Daniels' lawsuit claims all that success wouldn't have been possible without her idea. She accuses Disney-Pixar of breaching an implied contract and is asking for compensation, with the amount to be determined in a jury trial.
Disney has responded to the lawsuit, saying the idea for the movie was theirs all along.
In a statement to Variety, a Disney spokesperson said: “Inside Out was an original Pixar creation, and we look forward to vigorously defending against this lawsuit in court.”