Lawsuit filed by Kelly Wilson against Disney over the similarities between her animated short film "The Snowman" and the trailer of the Mouse House's "Frozen (2013)" movie could head to trial. California federal judge Vince Chhabria has just dismissed the studio's motion to throw the suit out of court.
"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," Chhabria said. The judge listed the resemblances as follow: "(i) a snowman loses his carrot nose; (ii) the nose slides out to the middle of a frozen pond; (iii) the snowman is on one side of the pond and an animal who covets the nose is on the other."
"(iv) the characters engage in a contest to get to the nose first; (v) the screen pans back and forth from the snowman to the animal, set to music, as they endeavor to get to the nose; (vi) the contest continues when the snowman and the animal arrive at the nose at the same time; (vii) the animal ends up with the nose, leaving the snowman (and the viewer) to wonder if the snowman's nose will become food for the animal; and (viii) in the end, the animal returns the nose to the snowman."
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Disney referred to the lawsuit filed by "The Funk Parlor" screenwriter who accused HBO of ripping off the movie for "Six Feet Under" as an example in their motion to stop the lawsuit. In that case, appeals court concluded the two works weren't substantially similar.
However, the judge overseeing the "Frozen" lawsuit amusedly argued, "Imagine a hypothetical 'Six Feet Under' that is a three-hour movie instead of a five-season television series. Imagine that Nate and Brenda have their liaison at the airport, a romantic relationship ensues, Brenda starts killing people, she decides Nate should be her next victim, Nate discovers this and gets her arrested, she goes to prison the rest of her life, and the movie ends."
If that was the case, the judge says it would be similar enough to "let it go" to jury. Besides pointing out the plot resemblance, Wilson in her suit noted that the "Frozen" trailer didn't reflect the real story of the film.