The original creators of "Sesame Street" are not happy with the marketing for "The Happytime Murders," an R-rated Melissa McCarthy film featuring Henson puppets having sex, doing drugs and other very NSFW things.
Variety reports that creators of the classic kids' show filed a lawsuit against STX Entertainment, alleging that its marketing campaign -- "No Sesame. All Street" -- tarnishes the "Sesame Street" brand.
The movie, which looks like an R-rated mash-up of "The Muppets" and "Who Framed Roger Rabbit," features a human detective (McCarthy) teaming up with a puppet partner to solve a series of puppet murders. It's set to open August 17.
It's actually a Henson film -- Brian Henson, son of the late Jim Henson, directed it and the Jim Henson Company co-produced it -- just one that the "Sesame Street" folks do not want to be associated with.
The lawsuit argues that the film "seeks to capitalize on the reputation and goodwill of 'Sesame Street.'"
And, in what may be a legal first, the lawsuit contains screen captures of social media reactions. One tweet read, "I'll never look at muppets/sesame street the same way."
The suit is not seeking to stop distribution or promotion of the movie (which they call "indescribably crude"), just get them to stop referring to "Sesame Street" in their marketing. The suit says that STX has sought to "commercially misappropriate 'Sesame's' name and goodwill" and "infringed on and tarnished" their brand.
STX's cheeky response came today via a bespectacled 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... 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."
Just don't take the kids to this one, Mom and Dad!