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by Tim Beissmann

A British writer has lost a legal battle with Disney and Pixar after a US judge failed to believe he wrote a screenplay resembling the movie Cars years ago.

Jake Mandeville-Anthony penned a screenplay called Cookie & Co around 20 years ago. It was based on the life of New Zealand man Michael Perkins, who won a race from London to Sydney in 1988 in an antique Vauxhall Malvern.

During the early 1990s, Mr Mandeville-Anthony created a second version of the screenplay – this time called Cars – that featured 46 animated car characters that raced around the world.

In 1993, he sent his idea to Disney and met with then-Lucasfilm executive Jim Morris to discuss Cars, but was knocked back.

Twelve years later, Mr Morris was appointed general manger at Pixar and the following year, in 2006, the Disney Pixar film Cars raked in $US570 million at the box office.

According to the New Zealand Herald, Mr Perkins said the similarities between Mr Mandeville-Anthony’s screenplay and the Disney film were too strong to simply be a coincidence.

“When Cars came out in 2006, Jake was completely blown away by it. They had taken the whole concept,” Mr Perkins said.

Both screenplays reportedly include a Model T Ford called Stanley, as well as an Aston Martin in a lead role, old Italian cars and ramshackle trucks, to name a few.

In March of this year, Mr Mandeville-Anthony sued Disney and Pixar for infringement of copyright and unsuccessfully applied for a court injunction to stop the release of Cars 2, which hit cinemas in June.

This month, Californian judge Valerie Baker Fairbank found the two screenplays were “not substantially similar as a matter of law”, and dismissed the case.

What do you think? Was Mr Mandeville-Anthony unlucky, or was it all just a bit of a coincidence? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.