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Screenwriter: ‘Kung Fu Panda’ Was My Idea

Sues DreamWorks claiming studio cribbed his concept for 2008 animated hit

A screenwriter filed suit against DreamWorks Animation Thursday, claiming the studio cribbed his concept to create 2008 hit “Kung Fu Panda.”

In his Los Angeles Superior Court complaint, Terence Dunn is described as an “Ivy League-educated Chinese-American writer-producer-teacher-philosopher,” who pitched DreamWorks the idea about a kung fu-aspiring panda bear and his tiger, leopard, snake, crane, monkey and tortoise friends back in 2001.

All of those characters would eventually wind up in "Kung Fu Panda," which voice-starred Jack Black and went on to gross $631.7 million globally after it was released in June 2008. A sequel is slated for June 2011.

However, Dunn – whose suit also claims he was a tai chi consultant for the Los Angeles Lakers in 2001 – said he was told in February 2002 that DreamWorks had rejected his concept.

DreamWorks officials had no comment.

Pamela Chelin contributed reporting to this story.