Why Hasn't Disney Attacked the 'Escape from Tomorrow' Filmmakers?
When the indie psychological horror film Escape from Tomorrow premiered at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival, much of the buzz spawned from the fact that no one thought the film would ever see the light of day outside of the film festival. Why? Well, director Randy Moore secretly shot his David Lynch-style film at Disney World without the permission of the House of Mouse. And while the film doesn't directly reference any characters or copyrighted material, there are plenty of implications and sights that are pure Disney inspirations with a weird, trippy twist. So why hasn't The Walt Disney Company done anything about it?
Well, in short, the massive corporation doesn't want to give the film any free press. Though Disney hasn't commented on the film at all, a studio source told THR: "the strategy is to avoid giving Tomorrow attention that could lead to bigger box office." They point out how the lawsuit to change the title of The Butler, or rather Lee Daniels' The Butler, was used by The Weinstein Company to get a whole bunch of press for the film as the lawsuit played out and forced the film to officially be titled Lee Daniels' The Butler. And in this case, it's not as if the company has anything to gain from the lawsuit. It's not as if the film is really making any money off the Disney name or any of the properties, but rather the gimmick of their guerrilla shooting.
However, THR does point out, "Loyola Law School professor Jay Dougherty says shooting the film inside a Disney park isn't necessarily actionable (beyond a possible trespassing claim on violation of park rules), and 'fair use' exceptions to copyright law could be a defense for using the characters in a larger narrative." Though the lawyer does caution, "Disney could have a stronger case regarding trademark law and trademark dilution." We're betting unless some parents or other audiences complain about being confused if the film is actually made by Disney that no lawsuits will be thrown at Moore. See the Escape from Tomorrow trailer.