On February 11, 2019, the owner of rosy-cheeked “King Cake Baby” filed a copyright infringement lawsuit against Universal Studios (“Universal”) claiming Universal “unlawfully twisted elements” of his art into the masked killer in the movies “Happy Death Day” and “Happy Death Day 2U.”
Jonathan Bertuccelli (“Bertuccelli”), the New Orleans artist and studio owner behind the sinister, rosy-cheeked “King Cake Baby,” filed a lawsuit in Louisiana federal court for $100 million claiming Universal, Blumhouse Productions LLC, and others behind the two “Happy Death” movies copied “King Cake Baby” when they created the baby-faced mask for the series' killer.
“King Cake Baby,” who has gained popularity as the “creepy yet fun” mascot for the New Orleans Pelicans NBA team, has been featured in parade floats, decorations, and movie and theatre set props. Bertuccelli claims that in 2016, “Happy Death Day” began filming in New Orleans, and that's when Universal and company decided to base their killer on “King Baby Cake.”
The complaint states that in “Happy Death Day 2U,” which was released on February 13, 2019, the killer character wears a mask that is clearly copied from “King Cake Baby.” Both characters feature a Caucasian, round-faced, wide-eyed baby with an open-mouth smile. The only difference is that the baby mask in the movies is wearing a hood while “King Cake Baby” sports a small tuft of hair.
Bertuccelli stated, “Immediately upon the start of promotion for Happy Death Day in 2017, members of the public recognized that the Happy Death Day mask was a copy of KCB.” The complaint includes several pages of screenshots of tweets from people remarking on the similarities between the two characters. Bertuccelli said Universal knew he owned the “King Cake Baby” copyright, but still chose to copy his character for the movies.
Bertuccelli is represented by John A. Scialdone and David N. Harris Jr. of Scialdone Law Firm PLLC and Bill Luckett of Luckett Tyner Law Firm PA.
Counsel information for Universal is not yet available.
The case is Jonathan Bertuccelli et al. v. Universal City Studios LLC et al., case number 2:19-cv-01304, in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana.
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