According to Deadline, Sesame Street’s parent company has filed a lawsuit against STX Productions, the studio behind the upcoming flick. The plaintiffs claim the studio’s marketing strategy is harming Sesame Street’s wholesome brand, as the film depicts Sesame Street themes and is marketed with the tagline: “No Sesame, All Street.”
Sesame has worked for nearly 50 years to build, cultivate and maintain trust with its audience of parents and young children built on its reputation for wholesome educational programming. […] Defendants threaten to inflict serious, irreparable damage to Sesame’s mark and brand by associating their adult movie with Sesame Street […] Indeed, it appears that Defendants chose their “NO SESAME. ALL STREET.” tagline with the hope and intention of commercially appropriating Sesame’s mark and associated goodwill and implying an association that does not exist to promote the release of their movie.
The lawsuit was confirmed soon after STX released the first trailer for The Happytime Murders. The film is about a serial killer who targets the cast of puppets from a 1980s kids TV show. McCarthy plays Connie Edwards, a detective who is set on tracking down the murderer.
Brian Henson, the son of Jim Henson, directed the movie.
STX has since issued the following statement attributed to its puppet representative 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. Happytime Murders is the happy result of that collaboration and we’re incredibly pleased with the early reaction to the film and how well the trailer has been received by its intended audience. 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.
Sesame Street’s parent company is seeking unspecified damages as well as an injunction preventing the use of the show’s marks in connection with The Happytime Murders marketing campaign.
The film—which co-stars Maya Rudolph, Joel McHale, and Elizabeth Banks—is set to hit theaters August 17.