Disney Takes Another Hit; Loses Major ‘Beauty and the Beast’ Lawsuit

Disney Loses Beauty and the Beast lawsuit
Credit: Disney

In 2017, Disney released its newest live-action film, Beauty and the Beast, starring Emma Watson and Dan Stevens. The film was a stunning take on the classic animated movie, and fans loved it. Although not as beloved as the animated version, the live-action film still has an 80% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. A lot of the love had to do with the fact that a moving new song was added, and the actors brought the characters to life in a whole new way.

Beauty and the Beast

Credit: Disney

One of the things that was truly incredible about Disney’s live-action remake was Dan Stevens’ transformation from a haughty prince into a terrifying, but lonely, beast. Behind-the-scenes videos shared by Disney showed all the work that went into making the Beast into a believable monster.

However, one company did not appreciate what fans saw on the big screen. Rearden Studios — a visual effects studio — claimed that Disney had stolen its intellectual property when it used copyrighted technology to help animate the movie. Rearden said that Disney did not properly license its MOVA Contour Reality Capture software. The VFX Studio further claimed that Disney knew that the visual effects company it was partnering with did not have the rights to use the software.

Beauty and the Beast

Credit: Disney

Related: Beauty and the Beast Experience with Belle Returns to the Magic Kingdom

And now a jury has decided that Rearden was right.

On December 21, a jury in Oakland, California, decided that Disney did use the MOVA technology knowing that it may be committing copyright infringement. The jury then awarded Rearden $600,000. $350,000 of that decision is meant to help Rearden gain back some of the profits that it lost out on.

beauty and the beast

Credit: Disney

Related: Beauty and the Beast Disney+ Prequel Postponed Indefinitely

Thankfully, for Disney, the $600,000 is just a small fraction of the damages that it could have been forced to pay. Rearden had asked the jury to award it $100 million, claiming that Beauty and the Beast was as successful as it was because of the use of the contour technology. Beauty and the Beast grossed more than $1.2 billion worldwide.

Beauty and the Beast

Credit: Disney

This is not the only time that Rearden has sued Disney for the use of the MOVA technology. The company also claimed that Disney used the tech for several of Marvel’s Avengers movies, as well as Guardians of the Galaxy, which came out in 2014. For each of those films, Disney teamed up with DD3, a visual effects company. Rearden claimed that DD3 did not own the software, but there was a complicated debate around the issue, which also involved a fraudulent sale and a bankruptcy filing.

Guardians of the Galaxy

Credit: Disney/Marvel

In its other cases against Disney, it was determined that Disney did not know that Digital Domain (DD3)  did not have the right to use MOVA. Rearden was officially declared the owner of MOVA in 2017.

Did you love Disney’s live-action Beauty and the Beast? Let us know in the comments!

About Krysten Swensen

A born and bred New England girl living the Disney life in Southern California. I love to read, to watch The Golden Girls, and love everything to do with Disney and Universal. I also love to share daily doses of Disney on my Disney Instagram @BrazzleDazzleDisney!

One comment

  1. Mary-Ann D'Antonio and Vinnie D'Antonio

    Love Beauty and the Beast. My God-daughter loves this movie, now 26 and she can’t stay away from Disney World to watch the show over and over, now her husband is the same way. Their wedding was a Beauty and the Beast theme, it was beautiful. and this is why I have grown to love it like them. I love the show because of them, the love they have for each other just wants you to love this movie.