Christmas comes early for Deppheads–SWEENEY TODD to open wide in the U.S. on December 21st, Variety confirms

Johnny Depp will be singing in time for Christmas — everywhere,” writes Pamela McLintock of Variety (by “everywhere,” she means in North America–apologies to our friends across the pond(s), who will still have to wait until January to see SWEENEY TODD). “DreamWorks and Paramount have decided to go wide with director Tim Burton’s bigscreen adaptation of Stephen Sondheim’s Broadway musical SWEENEY TODD on Dec. 21.” This is a change from the original plans for a platform release, which would have given SWEENEY TODD an Oscar-qualifying run during Christmas week in a few select cities to build buzz, with a wider opening on January 11th. Having seen footage of the film, “the studios believe SWEENEY will work as a holiday pic,” says Variety, and have opted to give the R-rated film a wide opening on about 1,500 screens on December 21st.

The original plan for a limited release was based on the thought that “SWEENEY TODD is less commercial and less accessible than most musicals because of its darker storyline,” writes McLintock. “However, when DreamWorks execs began seeing clips from SWEENEY, they realized it had far broader appeal, particularly with Depp starring as the revenge-seeking barber of Fleet Street who uses his blade in gruesome ways to seek justice for the deaths of his wife and child. The hope is that SWEENEY will be the sort of signature role for Depp that Captain Jack Sparrow in Disney’s PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN franchise was.”

Wow–now we can’t wait for December 21st! Many thanks to Theresa for posting the Variety article on the Zone’s News & Views forum; you can read it in its entirety there. –Part-Time Poet