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One of Pixar's biggest successes in recent years was Inside Out, the tale that personified the five emotions in the mind of a young girl. Raking in over $857 million and earning critical acclaim from critics and regular moviegoers alike, it's guaranteed to remain a Pixar classic for many years However, now Inside Out is at the center of legal trouble, because Disney is being sued for allegedly stealing the idea for the movie from a childhood development expert.
Denise Daniels, the development expert and co-founder of the National Grief Institue, claims that Inside Out is based off her children's TV program The Moodsters. Daniels came up with idea as after counseling children following tragedies like 9/11 and Hurricane Katrina, and it involved a workbook that featured color-coded symbols to represent emotions, including red as anger, blue as sadness and yellow as happiness. This concept was later developed as a pilot, and Daniels alleges that she and her team pitched it to Disney several times between 2005-2009, but the company didn't take it. Two years after Inside Out's release, THR reports that she is now suing for "breach of implied-in-fact contract" because she expected to be compensated if Disney and Pixar used her idea.
This isn't the first time Disney has been accused of stealing an idea for one of their blockbuster movies...in the last six months. Back in March, Gary Goldman, who wrote the original Total Recall movie, sued the studio for allegedly basing Zootopia off of ides he pitched without providing credit or compensation. Disney responded to that lawsuit saying that it was filled with "patently false allegations," but at the time of this writing, the company has not responded to the Inside Out lawsuit. One wonders why Denise Daniels waited so long to take legal action since Inside Out was released two years ago and the movie was announced to the public in 2011, two years after Daniels and her team stopped pitching their Moodsters pilot. Regardless, the suits at the House of Mouse are surely taking swift action to deal with this matter.
While Disney and Denise Daniels are caught up in this legal messiness, there's nothing to stop movie lovers from continuing to enjoy the family-friendly story. Starring Amy Poehler as Joy, Lewis Black as Anger, Mindy Kaling as Disgust, Bill Hader as Fear and Phyllis Smith as Sadness, the 15th Pixar film followed these versions of the personified emotions inside a girl named Riley as she moved San Francisco with her mom and dad. The movie's numerous accolades included winning a Golden Globe and Academy Award, both for Best Animated Feature Film.