Minnesota woman claims Disney stole idea for 'Inside Out'

"Inside Out" is one of the highest grossing animated movies of all time, but a local child development expert claims Disney stole her idea.

The movie features a cast of color-coded characters that represent the range of a child's emotions.

But a Minnesota parenting expert said that concept is strikingly similar to one she's been developing for years.

Denise Daniels said she created a pilot for a show called "The Moodsters" in 2007 to help kids understand their emotions.

Each character is a color that represents a different emotion, like red for anger and blue for sadness, just like in the Pixar animated film.

In a lawsuit filed in California District Court on Monday, Daniels claimed she pitched "The Moodsters" to a half dozen Disney executives from 2005 to 2009 including Pete Docter, who went on to direct "Inside Out," which came out in 2015.

She claims the studio breached an implied contract with her by using the idea without compensating her.

"I think she's got a shot. It is her burden to prove, but there is a lot of factual history in here that most cases don't have," entertainment attorney Mick Spence said.

Spence, who is not connected to the lawsuit,  said 90 percent of cases like this reach a settlement - if they aren't thrown out by a judge first.

So it's up to Daniels to prove to a jury there was a contract, what the terms of it were and that Disney executives violated it.

"The fact that this film has grossed over $850 million in box office and $100 million in DVD and Blu-Ray, that's a lot of money. Sometimes a lot of money means there's enough money to make a settlement and make people go away or be happy with what occurred," Spence said.

A Disney spokesperson said in a statement "'Inside Out' was an original Pixar creation and we look forward to vigorously defending against this lawsuit in court."

Daniels is asking for an unspecified amount of damages.