Sweeney Todd, the Broadway musical turned Tim Burton film, comes out on DVD tomorrow, April 1. There is a two-disc deluxe edition available with lots of extra features, including a special on composer/lyricist Stephen Sondheim’s involvement with the movie and footage of the original Broadway production of Sweeney Todd.
This year’s Broadway-musical-to-movie transfers didn’t fare too well with the Academy Awards nominating committee, which announced its picks this morning. Sweeney Todd, Tim Burton’s cinematic take on the 1979 Broadway musical, didn’t get a Best Picture nomination, but star Johnny Depp did receive a nod for Best Actor. Sweeney was also recognized for its Art Direction and Costume Design. Surprisingly, the Hairspray film — which was a critical and box office smash this summer — didn’t take away any Oscar nominations at all.
Sweeney Todd just won the Golden Globe award for Best Film (Musical or Comedy), and Sweeney himself, Johnny Depp, won the award for Best Actor! Unfortunately Broadway fans didn’t get to see Sweeney‘s triumph unfold with fanfare, since this year’s Globes were handed out in a press conference rather than the usual lavish ceremony. But, all the same, it’s a good day for Broadway!
Broadway hits the Billboard 200 this week (sort of), as the Sweeney Todd film soundtrack debuts at #56 on the music charts. That’s certainly not bad for a musical, even if Sweeney can’t begin to compete with those teen-centric musicals High School Musical and Hannah Montana. On the actual Top Soundtracks chart, Sweeney Todd is #8, while the original Broadway cast recording of the musical is now #11 on the Top Cast Albums chart.
Tim Burton’s film version of the Stephen Sondheim/Hugh Wheeler musical Sweeney Todd opened in theaters this weekend, and so far the reception has been very positive. Not only have many of the notoriously finicky Sondheim fans given the movie two thumbs up, but so have the critics (Sweeney is currently showing an 87% positive rating at rottentomates.com) and the general movie-going audience (it’s Number 4 at the box office).
Based on the Christopher Bond play (which is based on the 19th century legend of a murderous barber), the musical Sweeney Todd opened on Broadway in 1979. It was that rarest of creatures: the horror musical. Burton’s largely faithful film, which stars Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter, emphasizes the gloom and gore even more so. It was a risk to turn such an ambitious Broadway musical into a mainstream film, but so far it looks like the gamble has paid off.
To look at the list of Golden Globe nominations this year, you’d almost think it was the old days again, when big screen musicals were common. After a long dry spell, when the category title “Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy” seemed like a relic of the Golden Age, the film version of Chicago changed everything. Although subsequent Broadway-to-Hollywood transfers like Phantom and Rent weren’t very successful, last year’s Dreamgirls did much better with both critics and audiences.
This year, things are looking even brighter. Hairspray (which is still playing on Broadway) was a big, fat summer hit, and the dark slasher musical Sweeney Todd is looking like it will do bloody good box office this Christmas. Both films snagged Golden Globe noms in the aforementioned category, and a third musical also made the cut — Across the Universe, director Julie Taymor’s (The Lion King) film musical that utilizes Beatles songs to tell its story. A couple other musical films that weren’t honored still had stars that were recognized (Amy Adams in Enchanted, John C. Reilly in Walk Hard), and both Sweeney and Hairspray‘s stars got acting nominations (Johnny Depp and Helen Bonham Carter, Nikki Blonsky).
Sweeney Todd, Tim Burton’s forthcoming film version of the 1979 Broadway musical, will have two soundtrack recordings, to be released by Nonesuch Records on December 18. One of them will be a special two-disc deluxe edition that features all of the music from the movie, as well as bonus material and a bound booklet. Previously, The Phantom of the Opera film took the same course, offering a deluxe soundtrack package, as well as a scaled down “highlights” recording.
The latest issue of Entertainment Weekly, which is the magazine’s “Fall Movie Preview” special, has a couple items of interest for Broadway lovers. One of the featured films is Tim Burton’s big screen adaptation of the Stephen Sondheim/Hugh Wheeler/Christopher Bond musical masterpiece Sweeney Todd, which stars Johnny Depp as the murderous barber. The other movie with a Broadway connection is the new film adaptation of Anthony Shaffer’s mystery play Sleuth starring Jude Law, which is adapted by Harold Pinter and directed by Kenneth Branagh, stage veterans both.