7 Disney Movies That Were Accused Of Stealing Ideas

Be prepared... to have your childhood favourites ruined.

Although it would like to be known for its consistently family-friendly approach and ability to squeeze childlike-joy out just about anyone, Disney's reputation is mired by some less savoury elements. For years the anti-Semitic views of studio founder Walt (who is, let's not forget, currently in suspended animation) have been prevalent, while eagle eyed fans have discovered some rather raunchy, 'accidental' easter eggs; a nude woman in The Rescuers, dust spelling SEX in The Lion King and a rather phallic looking tower on King Triton's castle on the VHS cover of The Little Mermaid. And that's not even getting onto the issue of stealing ideas. Some of the animation studio's best loved films have become mired in lawsuits from authors, filmmakers and cartoonists they've been accused of flat-out ripping off. Normally the cases are dropped and if not they're settled out of court with the official compromise not made public, but it's certainly something that tarnishes the reputation of a company whose biggest crime is only releasing their classics on DVD for painfully short periods. Today we look at seven films from Disney (and its sister Pixar) that have had accusations of intellectual thefy thrown and them and evaluate how potent the arguments actually are.

Honourable Mention: Antz Stole From A Bug's Life

The autumn of 1998 saw two very similar films hit our screens. First came Antz, Dreamworks' debut animation that transplanted a traditional Woody Allen existential crisis into a tiny version of Starship Troopers. Then, only a month later, there was A Bug's Life, Pixar's sophomore outing about ants fighting back against oppressive grasshoppers. The dim-witted accused the latter of copying, not comprehending how long animations take to make. They were right, however, in that there was some dodgy dealings going on. But it was the other way round. Jeffrey Katzenberg had been head of Disney at the start of the nineties, but ended up leaving on rather bad terms. Forming Dreamworks and heading up the animation division, his aim was to beat the Mouse House at there own game, thus rushing Antz into production to compete with the already in progress A Bug's Life.
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Film Editor (2014-2016). Loves The Usual Suspects. Hates Transformers 2. Everything else lies somewhere in the middle. Once met the Chuckle Brothers.