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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