Hollywood News

‘Total Recall’ Writer Gary L Goldman Accuses Disney Of Plagiarizing His Story To Make ‘Zootopia’

Gary L Goldman, the writer behind Total Recall, has accused Disney of plagiarizing his work to make Zootopia. According to Hollywood Reporter, Goldman had pitched the story of Zootopia to Disney twice.


The complaint filed on 21 March in California federal court comes from Esplanade Productions Inc., which is being represented by the prominent law firm of Quinn Emanuel.

According to the complaint:

“They did it with Zootopia, too, when they copied Gary L Goldman’s Zootopia. Twice — in 2000 and 2009 — Goldman, on behalf of Esplanade, pitched Defendants his Zootopia franchise, which included a live-action component called Looney and an animated component called Zootopia. He provided a treatment, a synopsis, character descriptions, character illustrations and other materials. He even provided a title for the franchise: ‘Zootopia.’ Instead of lawfully acquiring Goldman’s work, Defendants said they were not interested in producing it and sent him on his way. Thereafter, consistent with their culture of unauthorized copying, Defendants copied Goldman’s work. They copied Goldman’s themes, settings, plot, characters, and dialogue — some virtually verbatim.”

Disney, however, has rejected the lawsuit’s claims in a statement. “Mr. Goldman’s lawsuit is riddled with patently false allegations. It is an unprincipled attempt to lay claim to a successful film he didn’t create, and we will vigorously defend against it in court,” it states.

The complaint from Goldman even accuses Disney of copying his artwork, including a drawing of his work and what Disney produced for the film. 


Goldman said that he had first pitched this idea in 2000 in front of former Disney executive and Mandeville Films’ CEO David Hoberman. Hoberman was the only one who favoured the idea. Goldman pitched the idea again nine years later, when he was working on Blaze, another project. 

Zootopia earned more than $341 million in theaters domestically according to box office analyst comScore. It is one of only 28 films to ever break the $1 billion mark at the box office globally. 


Daily Mail reports that the lawsuit does not state how much damages Goldman and his company, Esplanade Productions, are seeking. He is asking a federal judge to block Disney from future Zootopia projects until the case is resolved. 

Incidentally, Disney has been accused several times in the past for allegedly copying others’ works. Some of them include The Lion King, Toy Story, Monsters Inc., Up, Inside Out and more. 


Feature Image: Forbes