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Sesame Street fight as creators sue over marketing for R-rated Henson Co. movie The Happytime Murders

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May 25, 2018

Not everything is A-OK on Sesame Street today. The creators behind the beloved children’s show are suing STX Entertainment for the use of their brand name in the trailer and other marketing of the R-rated Muppets-inspired movie The Happytime Murders, according to Variety.

Both the trailer and the poster for the risqué project, directed by Jim Henson’s son Ben Henson, carry the tagline “No Sesame. All Street.” As such, the Sesame Street makers claim that this tarnishes their child-friendly brand, and they want all references to it completely Gonzo or else.

The film imagines a world where Muppet-like puppets get up to all manner of no good (the trailer contains drug use, foul language, and a pretty graphic puppet sex scene, watch below), with Melissa McCarthy playing a detective on the hunt for a serial killer who is intent on blowing the lovable creatures to pieces of fluff.

Per the report, Sesame Street claims that the marketing “seeks to capitalize on the reputation and goodwill of ‘Sesame Street,’” and has included responses on social media from fans as proof in their case. One tweet reportedly being used as evidence reads: “I’ll never look at muppets/sesame street the same way.”

To be clear, while the puppet characters in the movie have been developed under the supervision of The Jim Henson Company, the Sesame Street brand itself was created by Joan Ganz Cooney and Lloyd Morrisett in 1969. Henson had full ownership of the Muppets in the show, but not the title.

An STX spokesperson issued a somewhat lighthearted response to the case on Friday, saying, in part: "While we're disappointed that 'Sesame Street' does not share in the fun [of the movie], we are confident in our legal position. We look forward to introducing adult moviegoers to our adorably unapologetic characters this summer."

Let's hope for the sake of everyone involved things don't get ugly. The Happytime Murders will be (hopefully) coming to theaters on Aug. 17.

Will you be able to look at Sesame Street the same way again? Or has this trailer destroyed your childhood? Let us know your thoughts in the comment section below.