After being sued by animator Kelly Wilson for plagiarism, the Walt Disney Company has finally reached a settlement to resolve the case.
Wilson filed a lawsuit over the teaser trailer of Frozen in March 2014. She claimed that the teaser trailer was very similar to her short animated film The Snowman.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, four months later California federal judge Vince Chhabria agreed with Wilson.
He decided “the sequence of events in both works, from start to finish, is too parallel to conclude that no reasonable juror could find the works substantially similar.”
In an effort to have the lawsuit tossed, Disney allowed access to their YouTube records in order to see if anyone had watched The Snowman online.
On April 16th, 2015, Chhabria announced the incredibility of this argument because there was evidence that Frozen creators did have access to The Snowman.
“The most direct connection between The Snowman and the creators of the trailer… comes from the 2011 San Francisco International Film Festival,” writes Chhabria. “There, The Snowman was screened four times back-to-back with the short film Play by Play, which was created by employees of Pixar, a Disney subsidiary. “
Chhabria confirmed that sixteen Pixar employees saw The Snowman at the film festival.
“Many Pixar employees attended the festival, including Elyse Klaidman, an executive producer of Play by Play. Klaidman works with John Lasseter, who is Chief Creative Officer for both Disney and Pixar. Lasseter was heavily involved in the creation of the Frozen trailer.”
A trial was set for October 2015, but Entertainment Weekly reports that the lawsuit has been resolved.
Wilson and the Walt Disney Company have reached an agreement causing Wilson to back down.
Disney can now return to their work on the Frozen sequel.