The creators of perennial kids show “Sesame Street” have filed a lawsuit against STX Entertainment in regards to the marketing campaign for the upcoming R-rated dark comedy “The Happytime Murders”.
Brian Henson, son of the late Jim Henson, directed the picture about a world in which humans and puppets co-exist The puppet cast from a 1980s television show begins to get murdered one by one, prompting a police investigation by Melissa McCarthy’s detective character and her puppet partner who look into the homicides.
The trailer makes it quite clear it’s for adults only with scenes of scenes of drug use, sex and vulgarity, along with the tag line “No Sesame. All Street.” The lawsuit alleges the film’s marketing tarnishes the “Sesame Street” brand, arguing the reference will confuse audiences and the marketing “seeks to capitalize on the reputation and goodwill of ‘Sesame Street’.”
The lawsuit adds it’s not trying to stop the film from being promoted or distributed, its: “defendants’ deliberate choice to invoke and commercially misappropriate ‘Sesame’s’ name and goodwill in marketing the movie – and thereby cause consumers to conclude that ‘Sesame’ is somehow associated with the movie – that has infringed on and tarnished the ‘Sesame Street’ mark and goodwill.”
An STX spokeswoman on Friday issued a response, attributing the company’s statement to a fictional puppet named Fred, Esq: “STX loved the idea of working closely with Brian Henson and the Jim Henson Company to tell the untold story of the active lives of Henson puppets when they’re not performing in front of children” the statement said, in part. While we’re disappointed that ‘Sesame Street’ does not share in the fun, we are confident in our legal position. We look forward to introducing adult moviegoers to our adorably unapologetic characters this summer.”
“The Happytime Murders” is scheduled to hit cinemas on August 17th. Todd Berger wrote the screenplay.