Judge rules against “Sesame Street” creators in “Happytime Murders” suit

STXfilms(NEW YORK) — A New York judge has decided to allow Melissa McCarthy’s upcoming movie The Happytime Murders to use atake on Sesame Street’s name in its marketing campaign.

U.S. District Judge Vernon Broderick ruled Wednesday that STX Entertainment can continue using the tagline “No Sesame. All Street” after Sesame Street creators sued the distributor for tarnishing the show’s brand, according to Deadline.

“We fluffing love Sesame Street,” the company said in a statement after the ruling, “and we’re obviously very pleased that the ruling reinforced what STX’s intention was from the very beginning — to honor the heritage of The Jim Henson Company’s previous award-winning creations while drawing a clear distinction between any Muppets or Sesame Street characters and the new world Brian Henson and team created.”

Sesame Street creators claimed in the suit that the film and advertisements will harm the educational and child-friendly brand of their show. They further said moviegoers will be confused and think Sesame Street supported the film:

“It is only defendants’ deliberate choice to invoke and commercially misappropriate Sesame’s name and goodwill in marketing the movie — and thereby cause consumers to conclude that Sesame is somehow associated with the movie — that has infringed on and tarnished the Sesame Street mark and goodwill,” the suit reads.

The Happytime Murders follows McCarthy’s character as she investigates the multiple murders of puppets. The trailer claims viewers can see what puppets do when the “children aren’t around” and depicts them drinking, using drugs, and having sex. 

Late Jim Henson’s son, Brian Henson, directed the film, and the Jim Henson Company helped produce. 

Vernon decided the Sesame Street creators had not presented enough proof that viewers were confused or that there were complaints from sponsors and parents. 

The Happytime Murders premieres Aug. 17.

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