The teaser trailer for Disney’s ‘Frozen’ has been implicated in a copyright lawsuit.
Producer/Director Kelly Wilson went to California’s federal court last week to claim The Walt Disney Company’s July 2013 teaser trailer for their Academy Award-winning animated feature ‘Frozen’ copied her 2D computer-animated short film ‘The Snowman,’ which was first published in February 2011.
Lawsuits like this are very common in Hollywood, but this must be one of the first involving a movie trailer instead of an actual movie.
‘The Snowman’ follows the story of an anthropomorphized snowman who does battle with pack of rabbits to save his carrot nose. Disney’s teaser trailer also follows the story of a snowman (Olaf), as he races a reindeer (Sven) to save his own carrot nose. Both videos also make similar use of a frozen lake and an unexpected twist at the end.
Wilson alleges the similarities in plot, character, and themes are too much to be purely coincidental in a detailed account of these similarities, while also providing frame-by-frame comparisons to illustrate the alleged similarity between the two videos.
Kelly also uses comments by prominent journalists and film reviewers to bolster her case, such as Slate writer Dan Kois, who mentioned that his 6-year-old daughter thought the movie was about “a snowman and a reindeer fighting for a carrrooootttttt!” after seeing the teaser.
Wilson has asked for a declaratory judgement, which will see a judge watch both videos, weigh the evidence, and decide whether the ‘Frozen’ teaser actually copied ‘The Snowman.’
Disney has since denied Wilson’s claims, with their spokesperson telling THR: “The claim is utterly without merit and we will defend against it vigorously.”
This morning, Disney announced ‘Frozen’ has became their top-grossing animated film of all time. The film grossed $398.4 million at the U.S. box office, and foreign sales added another $674 million to that figure, for a total of $1.072 billion just four months after being released. This beats out Disney’s last top earner, Toy Story 3, which peaked at $1.063 billion at the box office according to BoxOfficeMojo.