The Walt Disney Company is being sued over the special effects used for Guardians of the Galaxy, Avengers: Age of Ultron, and Beauty and the Beast. Rearden LLC filed the lawsuit Monday, The Wrap reports.
The visual effects company, incubated by Silicon Valley entrepreneur Steve Pearlman, is demanding an injunction prohibiting Disney from distributing Beauty and the Beast, Avengers: Age of Ultron, and Guardians of the Galaxy.
Rearden claims that its MOVA Contour Reality Capture technology was stolen, and according to the lawsuit, "Disney used the stolen MOVA Contour systems and methods, made derivative works, and reproduced, distributed, performed, and displayed at least Guardians of the Galaxy, Avengers: Age of Ultron, and Beauty and the Beast, in knowing or willfully blind violation of Rearden Mova LLC's intellectual property rights."
"[I]n all of the film industry and media accolades about the record-breaking success of ‘Beauty and the Beast,' and the acclaimed cutting-edge digital MOVA Contour technology that made the film's success possible, nowhere is it mentioned that the patented and copyright-protected MOVA Contour technology was stolen from its inventor and developer, Rearden LLC, and its owner Rearden Mova LLC," states the complaint. "Nowhere is it mentioned that although Disney had previously contracted with Rearden LLC and its controlled entities on four previous major motion pictures to use MOVA Contour and knew of a Rearden Demand Letter to one of the thieves demanding immediate return of the stolen MOVA Contour system, Disney nonetheless contracted with the thieves to use the stolen MOVA Contour system."
Rearden's complaint (you can read in full here) cites interviews with Beauty and the Beast star Dan Stevens and others on the movie explaining how the technology worked. For instance, Stevens talked about how he'd go into a booth and have his face sprayed before 27 cameras captured his facial expressions. . "They would take that information and morph it onto the Beast," explained Stevens.
Many photographs in court papers included one of a MOVA Contour rig that allegedly was used on Beauty and the Beast and Guardians of the Galaxy and "shows the thieves neglected to move a Rearden, Inc. Asset Tag on one of the stolen cameras."
Besides an injunction, the suit demands actual damages and profits attributed to infringement.