The legal battle between Sesame Street and The Jim Henson Company over the upcoming The Happytime Murders is escalating in the most felt-fitting way possible: Puppet lawyers.
In response to the Sesame Street's production company, Sesame Workshop, suing STX Entertainment, the studio behind the raunchy puppet comedy issued a statement to the Huffington Post "crafted" by puppet lawyer Fred, Esq. with an attached picture of the legal puppet in action. The statement reads as follows:
"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.” - Fred, Esq., lawyer for STX Entertainment
The Sesame Workshop filed the lawsuit against STX last week over the film's promotional tagline, "NO SESAME. ALL STREET." alleging the tagline and similarly designed puppets are deliberately utilized to confuse the public that the R-rated puppet police procedural comedy is directly associated with Sesame Street. Both Sesame Street and The Happytime Murders had many of their puppets designed by The Jim Henson Company with the upcoming film developed by a subsidiary studio, Henson Alternative.
As the lawsuit between the two productions intensifies, one can only hope Big Bird and Snuffleupagus will be called upon as character witnesses.
Written by Todd Berger (The Smurfs: A Christmas Carol) and Dee Austin Robertson, director Brian Henson’s The Happytime Murders stars Melissa McCarthy, Maya Rudolph, Joel McHale, and Elizabeth Banks. The film hits theaters on August 17.