‘Frozen’ Sued: Did Disney Copy Isabella Tanikumi’s Life?

Disney's Frozen sued for plagiarism by Peruvian Isabella Tanikumi

Disney’s Frozen has been one of the company’s greatest non-Pixar successes in years — pulling in $1.2 billion worldwide in its theatrical release alone. But now Disney could lose a chunk of those profits. Frozen is being sued for $250 million by Peruvian author Isabella Tanikumi for plagiarism, reported TMZ.

Frozen is, like The Little Mermaid before it, an adaptation of a Hans Christian Anderson story — The Snow Queen. With Disney doing an upfront take of the classic tale, it seems unlikely that they’d add a touching autobiography of a Peruvian woman like Tanikumi growing up in the Andes as inspiration.

Isabella’s autobiography, released in 2010, recounts the author’s hardships that eventually led to the death of her younger sister — the obvious parallel to Frozen. Although the book is little known, a review from the Women’s Literary Society does somewhat echo the spirit of Disney’s film.

“From the ruins of earthquake-ravaged Huaraz, Peru to the shores of the land of opportunity, America, Isabella Tanikumi’s poignant account embodies the real-life drama of a young girl’s struggle to create her destiny. Containing elements of joy and sorrow, tragedy and triumph, Isabella Tanikumi’s ‘Yearnings of the Heart’ holds a mirror to other lives and forges a parallel between her own and her readers’ experiences. Explore this must-read autobiography and be inspired by the possibilities borne of dreams and the courage to realize them.”

However, that doesn’t exactly make a clear-cut case that Tanikumi’s book was even a reference point for Frozen. The book was not even a modest hit. Jezebel sarcastically pointed out some of the flaws in the case to sue Frozen.

“Definitely sounds like a story about a young queen who retreats to a mountain ice palace after accidentally putting her hometown in a deep freeze. For sure. Unclear whether TaniKumi is Anna or Else, and also whether there is a talking snowman involved. Please spare a moment of pity for the first-year associates at Disney’s law firm, who will lose valuable hours of their lives preparing very seriously worded reasons why this is obviously not a case of copyright infringement.”

Of course, Isabella’s choice to sue Frozen so long after it garnered worldwide praise and popularity — as well as her weak defense that the film borrowed from her book — may indicate that the author is more interested in riding on Disney’s wave of success more than genuinely trying to make a legitimate case for copyright infringement.

Perhaps if Isabella Tanikumi doesn’t successfully sue Disney’s Frozen, she’ll just have to follow the film’s “Let It Go” philosophy.

[Image via Disney]