Given that it was first launched in 1969 and is still watched by tons of children all over the world today, it wouldn’t be much of a stretch to call Sesame Street one of the most iconic and enduring television series of all time. Throughout the years, characters like Big Bird, Bert & Ernie, the Cookie Monster, and Oscar the Grouch have become staples of mornings spent raising a toddler. But over the course of the show’s lengthy history it has only made the jump from small screen to big twice.
The first time was in 1985, when the whole Sesame Street crew was set to the task of tracking down a runaway and kidnapped Big Bird in Follow That Bird. The second was in 1999, when a capitalization on the explosion of the popularity of Sesame Street character Elmo was attempted with The Adventures of Elmo in Grouchland. Neither were big hits, with Follow That Bird grossing near $14m and Elmo in Grouchland only around $11.5m, despite having a budget of $26m; which would seem to point to the theory that people who have children young enough to enjoy Sesame Street don’t take them to the theaters all that often. Plopping them in front of public television every morning is one thing, but loading them up and paying to have them sit in a dark room and hopefully be quiet for a couple hours is something else entirely.
Still, despite Sesame Street’s shaky track record on the big screen, 20th Century Fox feels like the show should be given another chance to turn its felt actors into legitimate big screen stars. Heat Vision is reporting that they’ve just signed a deal with Sesame Workshop to create a new Sesame Street film, which is planned to go in front of cameras sometime in July. Night at the Museum director Shawn Levy is leading the producing efforts, and has tapped longtime Sesame Street writer Joey Mazzarino to write the script.
Recently another Jim Henson-created, puppetry-based property, The Muppets, enjoyed success when returning to theaters, but its feature film resurgence was brought to us by outside talents whose names are currently hot, like Jason Segal and Nicholas Stoller. Does Sesame Street have a chance to make a similar impact while relying on merely a member of the show’s current creative staff to write the script? Probably somebody who’s raising a four-year-old would be best suited to giving us some answers.