For the first time in the 21st century, Sesame Street is heading back to the big screen. And this time, it might have a Portlandia vibe.
Although the 21st century has seen a few movies from the Muppets, there actually hasn’t been a new Sesame Street theatrical release since 1999’s Elmo in Grouchland. It seems crazy, but it’s true and relies on the important distinction between the Muppets and Sesame Street. Many characters from both Sesame Street and the Muppets were created by people like Jim Henson and Frank Oz, and obviously, many Muppets (like Kermit the Frog) crossed over to Sesame Street in the past. But, The Muppets always blurred the line in terms of being for kids and adults simultaneously, while Sesame Street has always been firmly for kids first. Most importantly, the Muppets aren’t owned by the same people as Sesame Street; presently Disney owns the Muppets, while the Sesame Workshop owns Sesame Street. As of 2015, the Sesame Workshop began a five-year partnership with HBO, despite the fact they are, technically, a non-profit.
The point is, that outside of TV movies or direct-to-video releases, there have been only two actual Sesame Street movies released as regular movies: 1985’s Follow that Bird and 1999’s Elmo in Grouchland. But, that’s about to change.
According to Variety, Warner Bros is set to develop a new Sesame Street big screen movie directed by Jonathan Krisel, probably most famous for co-writing and producing Portlandia. The movie is said to be a musical.
Will the new film also — like a Muppet movie — flirt with being slightly more grown-up? Because the 21st century hasn’t actually seen a Sesame Street movie it’s possible this could be a big moment. Plus, no matter what you think of Portlandia, the reality is Krisel is super-talented and very smart. Meaning, at the very least, the next big Sesame Street cinematic adventure will be a little more Follow that Bird and a little less Elmo in Grouchland.
A release date for the movie has not been announced.