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.