LAS VEGAS — Evel Knievel’s son is on a collision course with the Walt Disney Co. and Pixar over a film daredevil character named Duke Caboom.
A federal trademark infringement lawsuit filed in Las Vegas accuses the film firm of improperly basing the brand new character in final yr’s “Toy Story 4” on Knievel, whose well-known stunts included bike jumps over the Caesars Palace fountain in Las Vegas and a row of buses at Wembley Stadium in London, and a rocket shot into Snake River Canyon in Idaho.
Las Vegas-based Ok and Ok Promotions accuses Disney-owned Pixar of deliberately modeling the Caboom character, voiced by Keanau Reeves within the film, after Knievel — though Knievel’s title isn’t talked about.
Son Kelly Knievel, head of Ok and Ok, has had publicity rights to Evel Knievel’s title since 1998, in keeping with the Tuesday court docket submitting in U.S. District Courtroom. He mentioned Thursday the moviemakers by no means sought permission to make use of his father’s likeness.
The Walt Disney Co. , in an announcement from company spokesman Jeffrey R. Epstein, mentioned it’ll defend itself vigorously towards what it known as Knievel’s meritless claims.
Knievel is in search of unspecified damages totaling greater than $300,000 on allegations that additionally embody false endorsement and unjust enrichment.
The Caboom character is described by Disney Pixar as a 1970s motorcycle-riding toy primarily based on “Canada’s best stuntman,” in keeping with the lawsuit.
Photographs within the court docket submitting put Caboom side-by-side with Knievel, who grew to become an American icon after his near-fatal 1967 Caesars Palace crash.
An Evel Knievel Stunt Cycle toy launched in 1973 featured a Knievel motion determine clad in a white helmet and jumpsuit with purple, white and blue gildings on a bike that may very well be propelled with a wind-up system.
In vivid descriptions of the film, the lawsuit notes the Caboom character is a 1970s-era daredevil clad in a white jumpsuit and helmet with Canadian insignia and a “Duke Caboom Stunt Cycle.”
A propelled toy was marketed at the side of the film, Knievel’s attorneys be aware, and the Caboom character grew to become a part of a McDonald’s fast-food “Pleased Meal” promotion.
Customers and movie reviewers “universally caught on to the connection,” the lawsuit noticed, whereas the film firm and Reeves averted making any public affiliation, connection or comparability “even when instantly requested.”
“Evel Knievel didn’t thrill hundreds of thousands world wide, break his bones and spill his blood simply so Disney may make a bunch of cash,” Kelly Knievel mentioned in an announcement asserting the lawsuit.
Knievel was critically injured many occasions throughout greater than 75 bike jumps. He died in 2007 at 69 in Florida of lung illness, not in a crash.