The man behind a lawsuit against DreamWorks Animation claiming the studio stole his idea for a kung-fu fighting panda bear and turned it into Kung Fu Panda, has won a ruling that will let him examine the studio’s books, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
The ruling denies a motion by attorneys for DreamWorks to split the case into liability and damages. Had they been successful, the plaintiff — a writer named Terence Dunn — would have had to prove he was owed money before it could be determined how much.
The way is now clear for Dunn and his attorney to begin discovery and seek internal DreamWorks documents related to revenues for Kung Fu Panda.
Dunn alleges in the suit that he created a spiritual martial arts character named Zen-Bear, and pitched the idea to DreamWorks executives over the phone in late 2001. The studio passed on Dunn’s ideas, and several years later announced the development of Kung Fu Panda, which opened in 2008 and grossed $215 million in theaters. A sequel is due next summer.