Sweeney Todd: An R-Rated, Throat-Slashing… Musical?

Published 8 years ago by , Updated March 3rd, 2014 at 6:27 am,

sweeney todd Sweeney Todd: An R Rated, Throat Slashing... Musical?So… does anyone besides me think that Sweeney Todd doesn’t have a snowball’s chance in hell of making any money at the box office?

Granted, Tim Burton was probably the perfect choice for the movie version of the stage play, and Johnny Depp looks like he’ll do a great job in the role of the throat-slitting barber, but I’m wondering whether people will show up to see this after opening weekend. I’m not saying it won’t be good, just that I don’t know how it will go over with the average moviegoer.

While musicals are extremely popular in live theater even with seemingly incongruous material like a murdering barber (or a man-eating plant), when it comes to translating that to the big screen, they really don’t do that well.

It’s always tricky marketing a movie musical and quite often studios screw it up. They realize that musicals don’t attract a huge audience, so sometimes they try downplay that aspect of the film when in fact it’s a major part of it. Audiences show up expecting one thing and are given something completely different. I think this is happening with Sweeney Todd: While the first trailer did hint at the musical nature of the film:

the second trailer that came out a couple of days ago is darker, more graphic and without a hint of any song and dance numbers:

Also, it’s (appropriately) rated R, so that will keep out most of the teenybopper girls who put Pirates of the Caribbean through the roof money-wise due to Johnny Depp’s (ok, ok… and Orlando Bloom’s) presence.

I think this may do well opening weekend but I don’t think it’ll have “legs.” It’s a weird combination and I’m thinking that people won’t go for it or recommend it. I could be wrong of course and it could always end up catching on. This is a tricky one and I’m curious to see how it plays out.

Sweeney Todd opens on December 21st.

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  1. The lack of ANY comments on this post provides me with a clue to the fact that I’m probably right on the money regarding how this movie will go over. :-)


  2. Now, actually, I’m inclined to disagree with your notion on this one, Vic.

    I sense a cult-following the supercedes the very essence of what this movie is:
    Johnny Depp. Tim Burton.

    The rabid fanboyism, and trouser-wetting, go hand in hand, and when these two bank together, it’s sure to be gold for somebody. Granted, it might not have a vast, economic draw, but, it’s a musical, with what appears to be a shallow, lower-than-realized budget.

    Beyond that- Moulin Rouge! didn’t fail, a film by the ingratiating Baz Luhrmann (of Romeo+Juliet fame; and also “Everybody’s Free to Wear Sunscreen,” a radio “hit” from 1999) nor did Chicago necessarily falter, either.

    And the point you make about Teenyboppers not shelling out the money, well– They don’t have to when mommy and daddy will. I think perhaps they need to hype up the fact that it’s a musical. Truth-be-told, I’ve been dying for a movie-musical, I’ve been dying for a Tim Burton+Johnny Depp project, and I feel this is the ultimate marriage… or compromise, whichever term is deemed more appropriate.

  3. Alex,

    I’m completely open to the possibility that I may be wrong about this. The above was just my gut reaction to the whole thing.

    We’ll know soon enough. :-)


  4. I think this movie is going to be awsome

    I’m really excited for it I love the cast and I think Tim Burton is a genuis so I cannot tell you how many people wil see this movie just becasue Johnny Depp is in it *rolls eyes* yeah he’s great and everything but I think they will be very disapointed to find that there’s ‘some’ blood in it lol and then there are all the horror movie/ Tim Burton freaks I think this movie is going to do really really well


  5. I’m already planning to see it more than once.

  6. Vic you are going to be supprised when this movie is a big hit at the box office. How can you even venture to think such awesome personalities as johnny depp and tim burton would flop on such a fabulas play. Have you ever seen this play. just a heads up for ya dark shadows will be awsome too., Have you seen that one? perhaps you should bone up on your plays and movies or are you another johnny depp basher. He has a big cult following so better give it up :P)

  7. CJ, you may be right. If I’m wrong I’ll happily admit it. It just seems like a hard combination (horror/musical) to see to the public.

    So far the early reviews are quite excellent.

    We’ll find out soon enough whether it’s a hit. :-)


  8. awesome Vic your a good sport. I really believe it is the combination of the pair that makes it so good. they have such a good chemestry that it really works no matter what it is. :)

  9. Hey Vic so what did you think?

  10. CJ, I haven’t seen it. Don’t know if I will.

    Did you see it? If so, what did you think? From what I hear the bait and switch ad campaign caught a lot of people by surprised, with some even walking out when they discovered it was (gasp!) a musical.


  11. I’ve seen this glorious film recently and LOVED it. But even so, I worry that it’ll flop. When I went to see it there were only… what, four other people? Then again, it WAS on Christmas Eve.

    But oh well. I’ll be sure to get this one on DVD when it comes out. And I hope to see it again some time.

    Though I must say, some parts were awkward and I think a lot of actors/actresses weren’t pulling their own weight. If Johnny Depp hadn’t starred, it probably would’ve been mediocre. And no, I’m not a HUGE superfan of his, so I’m not biased. It’s the truth, he really is a damn good actor. … well, that sounded biased but you should know what I mean.

    This being a musical, I can understand if it won’t do so well. Maybe it would’ve been better had it been released on Halloween. And if people knew RIGHT AWAY it was a musical. … well, it’s more of an opera, really. MUCH more singing than talking.

    Oh, and I didn’t even know it was a musical until I watched the Critic Awards thing a week or so ago. It showed Johnny Depp singing and honestly, it being a musical made me want to see it all the more. But that’s just me.

    I recommend the film to musical lovers with a dark sense of humor or anyone that likes a quirky, out-of-the-ordinary film. … and of course fans of the Johnny Depp and Tim Burton duo.

  12. Hi Kazz I love the movie. I knew it was a musical because I seen the original with angelia lansbury in 1979 and I loved it then. I knew with Tim and Johnny in this version it would be awesome.. I actually have seen it 3 times alredy and I am going again tomorrow. I went on opening night but I went to the midnight showing and there wern’t many people there but the showing before that was packed. I went the next day too at 7pm and it wasnt that packed but I went on christmas and it was packed. so I just think it depends on the times one goes. It actually is doing quite good according to the reviews. I am glad you liked it :)

  13. Vic,

    What are you talking about? Sweeney Todd is going to make a killing at the box-office. Not only that, it’ll remain strong through the ages. There’s plenty of money out there from people who love innovative cinema (it’s a refreshingly different movie).


  14. On a personal level I loved the movie; though I do agree with you, I doubt it will go well with the average movie-goer. Still, as someone else later said, a cult following may ensue a huge success. I don’t think there is one ‘goth’ out there who wouldn’t like this movie, and many women may find a singing, throat-slitting Johnny Depp very enticing.

    This movie even caters to those who enjoy not only musicals, but good music in general. Listening to the orchestration alone impressed me and even inspired me to finish writing my symphony. =)

    Even more than that, though, this is an original work, (though I’ve no clue if it was an old English novel/poem/lullaby/whatever, in the movie world this is very original), and that’s what many hardcore movie lovers are simply dying to see.

    (Funny, I posted this a bit late. You know… I should really just check the stats at this point)

    - Chris