Box Office: R-Rated Muppets Movie ‘Happytime Murders’ Bombs

Bill Barretta, Melissa McCarthy, and Maya Rudolph in The Happytime Murders (Black Bear Pictures, 2018)
Black Bear Pictures

Melissa McCarthy could not save the R-rated puppet murder mystery, Happytime Murders, which was killed at the box office upon its debut this weekend.

While the fur was flying on screen, no one was pulling the strings of the audience to get them into the theaters, it appears, as the Brian Henson-directed film earned a dismal $10 million on opening day, according to Deadline Hollywood.

The fantasy film that mixed Sesame Street-styled puppets with real-life actors centered on a hard-boiled, but cotton-stuffed puppet private detective tasked with tracking the deaths of several puppet friends. He joins the Los Angeles Police Department as a consultant, and with the help of human police detective Connie Edwards (Melissa McCarthy), they set out to solve the murder mystery.

The film grabbed the spotlight early before its debut when children’s TV giant Sesame Street launched legal action against the film for its tagline “No Sesame. All Street.”

The Happytime producers won the legal battle and the film was able to go forward using the tagline. But it looks like Sesame Street had nothing to worry about as the box office beat the stuffing out of the film, anyway. While the concept may have seemed promising, audiences were less than thrilled.

The film marks the worst debut for star Melissa McCarthy — even lower than her previous bomb, Life of the Party, which earned only $17.9 million.

Happytime Murders became Judy to The Meg’s Punch as the outrageous shark film kept reeling in the viewers earning another $25 million (marking over $105 million thus far) while the surprise hit, Crazy Rich Asians, made an additional $13 million bringing its box office take to $30 million to date.

Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston.

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