SESAME STREET is Suing The Team Behind The R-Rated Puppet Film THE HAPPYTIME MURDERS
The Sesame Street team isn't very happy about that R-rated puppet film coming out called The Happytime Murders. The first red-band trailer that was released declares that the movie is "no Sesame, all Street," and the Sesame Workshop isn't laughing about it. In fact, they're suing STX Entertainment over it.
The suit claims The Happytime Murders tarnishes the Sesame Street brand by using their name in the marketing. io9 received the following statement from Sesame Workshop:
"Sesame Workshop learned last Friday that the name Sesame Street is being used to market a graphic, adult-themed movie. We were surprised and disappointed that Sesame Street, a nonprofit organization whose mission is to help kids grow smarter, stronger, and kinder, is being exploited to market this R-rated film. We immediately contacted the film’s distributor, STX Films, and requested that they remove our name from the film’s marketing. They declined to do so. We take no issue with the creative freedom of the filmmakers and their right to make and promote this movie, rather this is about how our name is being misused to market a film with which we have no association. We regret that our fans and families have been confused by STX’s marketing campaign.”
The Wrap offers some additional details on the suit, saying:
“Sesame seeks to enjoin Defendants’ deliberate effort to appropriate its SESAME STREET mark, and its trusted brand and goodwill, to promote their R-rated movie, The Happytime Murders, by way of a violent and sexually-explicit trailer. SESAME STREET is a registered trademark of Sesame, an organization with a long and storied history of ‘helping kids grow smarter, stronger and kinder,'” the suit, filed against STX Productions, reads. “Defendants’ widely-distributed marketing campaign features a just-released trailer with explicit, profane, drug-using, misogynistic, violent, copulating, and even ejaculating puppets, along with the tagline ‘NO SESAME. ALL STREET.’ Defendants do not own, control or have any right to use the SESAME STREET mark. Instead, they are distributing a trailer that deliberately confuses consumers into mistakenly believing that Sesame is associated with, has allowed, or has even endorsed or produced the movie and tarnishes Sesame’s brand.”
I can see why Sesame Works is pissed off. While the marketing is done in a playful way, Sesame Street wants to make sure their brand name is in no way associated with The Happytime Murders.
The Happytime Murders was directed by Brian Henson. His father, Jim Henson, played a huge role in helping create Sesame Street. It will be interesting to see what STX ends up doing. I don't think it would hurt the film to remove all the Sesame Street stuff from its marketing.
The movie stars Melissa McCarthy, Maya Rudolph, Joel McHale, and Elizabeth Banks, and this is the synopsis that was released:
No Sesame. All Street. The Happytime Murders is a filthy comedy set in the underbelly of Los Angeles where puppets and humans coexist. Two clashing detectives with a shared secret, one human (Melissa McCarthy) and one puppet, are forced to work together again to solve the brutal murders of the former cast of a beloved classic puppet television show.
The Happytime Murders is scheduled for release August 17th. What do you think about this?