Disney Acts To Freeze Out Competition

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frozen_landDisney has seen more than one copy-cat company try and piggy-back on their successes over the years. In a flash-back to the popular films of the 1990’s- and the Golden Films rip-offs of those films- Disney is alleging in a lawsuit that Carpe Diem Films’ The Legend of Sarila is attempting to just that in its video release.

First released in February in Quebec, The Legend of Sarila had a moderate to poor reception in the box office. And to that point, Disney has no quarrel. It is only when Phase 4 Films released the film to theaters in the US on November 1 and to home video on November 5th that the film even came up on Disney’s radar. It seems the film was renamed to Frozen Land for this new release. Further, the new film logo looks suspiciously like the logo for the Disney film Frozen, which was released to theaters only two weeks later.

The stories are anything but similar- the Carpe Diem film is about three young Inuits set off in search of a promised land to save their clan from starvation, which is nothing like Disney’s sister story. But Disney is alleging that the packaging is too similar, and will cause confusion in the buyers mind…. intentional confusion on Capre Diem and Distributor Phase 4’s part.

In their court papers, Disney says:

“On November 1, 2013, less than three weeks before the Hollywood premiere of Frozen on November 19, Phase 4 theatrically released an animated picture entitled The Legend of Sarila, which generated minimal box office revenues and received no significant attention,” says the complaint. “To enhance the commercial success of Sarila, the defendant redesigned the artwork, packaging, logo, and other promotional materials for its newly (and intentionally misleadingly) retitled film to mimic those used by [Disney] for Frozen and related merchandise.”

The lawsuit further reads, “As is apparent from the face of the Frozen Land logo, despite the infinite options available to it, Phase 4 intended its logo to replicate the Frozen Trademark Logo of Disney’s Frozen. “For example, the Frozen Land logo also includes jagged, uneven edges on the lettering, dramatic flourishes on the letters, and an elongated R and Z that cradle a stylized O that curves into itself and does not close entirely. In addition, the word ‘frozen’ is significantly larger than the word ‘land.’ The two logos are nearly identical.”

Disney filed in California federal court and is hoping to get an injunction and destruction of all DVDs for Frozen Land, as well as compensatory and damages, lost profits and actual damages. The 3-D, CG-animated film features the voices of Christopher Plummer, Genevieve Bujold, Rachelle Lefevre and Dustin Milligan. The Canadian production is directed by Nancy Savard and produced by Savard and Paul Risacher.

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