The people behind Sesame Street aren't all that happy about the violent new Muppet comedy, The Happytime Murders. In the heat of the raunchy puppet parody's no-holds-barred marketing campaign, Sesame Workshop has opted to sue STX Entertainment, the production company responsible for the Melissa McCarthy-led comedy film.
Judging by the trailer, Happytime Murders is going to be chock full of drugs and sexual content. The movie follows a human cop and a puppet P.I. as they investigate a series of puppet murders. However, because of the film's tagline, "NO SESAME. ALL STREET," and the (intentionally) uncanny similarity to the Muppets of Sesame Street, Sesame Workshop alleges that viewers are confusing the raunchy film for an offshoot of the beloved children's show.
The suit filed by Sesame 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."
Interestingly enough, The Henson Company, which created the characters for Sesame Street, is producing Happytime Murders under its Henson Alternative banner; it is the first film in the new line of R-rated films.
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 August 17.