General News

'Waterboy' Whooped

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Jul 31, 2001 | 11:30am EDT

Were you ever overtaken with a sense of déjà vu during viewing of the 1998 Adam Sandler megahit "The Waterboy"? The family of the late Harold Lloyd thinks that you should.

The late comedian's granddaughter, Suzanne Lloyd Hayes, is suing the Walt Disney Co. for copyright infringement over the studio's "The Waterboy," The Hollywood Reporter says.

The suit, filed Monday in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles, says that the Adam Sandler vehicle was a direct rip-off of the comedian's 1924 silent film "The Freshman."

"There is not only substantial but striking similarity between 'The Freshman' and 'The Waterboy,' including similarity in plot, action, theme, mood, characters and setting," the lawsuit says. "Although some of those elements have been modified to please the '90s audience and to employ the '90s technology, reviews of 'The Waterboy' in respected American publications immediately recognized and reported the defendant's film to be a '90s copy of 'The Freshman.' "

Lloyd's estate is seeking at least $50 million in damages.

Disney has hitherto declined comment on the lawsuit. The film, which had solidified Sandler as a bonafide box office moneymaker, grossed more than $161 million for the studio domestically.

Harold Lloyd died in 1971.

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