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‘The Happytime Murders’: ‘Sesame Street’ Sues Production Company for Using Its Name in Marketing Campaign

The company fears guilt by association and fears its brand has been tarnished.

"The Happytime Murders"

“The Happytime Murders”

STX Entertainment

Can you tell me how to get, how to get to court? STX might be asking that question, as the production company is being sued by the makers of “Sesame Street” over “The Happytime Murders.” Melissa McCarthy stars in the comedy, which Brian Henson (as in, chair of the Jim Henson company and son of that beloved puppeteer) is directing and which takes a considerably more irreverent look at Muppets than most viewers are used to.

“Sesame has demanded that Defendants simply drop the references to Sesame Street from ‘The Happytime Murders’ marketing materials – a relatively small burden compared to the devastating and irreparable injury Defendants are causing,” reads a complaint filed yesterday by Sesame Workshop. “But Defendants have refused, and the confusion and tarnishment are building, as evidenced in numerous social media postings.”

“The Happytime Murders” makes no secret of the similarities, including the tagline “No Sesame, All Street.”

The complaint continues, “The promotion of ‘The Happytime Murders’ should succeed or fail on its own merits, not on a cynical, unlawful attempt to deceive and confuse the public into associating it with the most celebrated children’s program in history.”

STX has responded to the suit with a statement attributed to “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,” says the company.

“’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.”

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