The Latest on the “Sweeney” Movie

There was a research screening last night of the “Sweeney Todd” movie, in Los Angeles. According to this report, the film plays more as a period horror flick than a full-out musical, though some people who were there said the singing was excellent. It will be extremely interesting to see if Dreamworks is able to market “Sweeney” successfully as a horror movie; though the picture is said to be very bloody, it’s not exactly guaranteed to lasso the teenage boys who love horror-porn like “Saw.” At the same time, the movie’s director, Tim Burton, has millions of fans worldwide, and the star, Johnny Depp, has even more. Another thing: although the stars of movie musicals (for example, Rex Harrison, in “My Fair Lady,” Yul Brynner, “The King and I”) occasionally win Best Actor Academy Awards, the stars of horror movies virtually never do. (I don’t consider “The Silence of the Lambs” a horror movie at heart; sorry.) So while Depp will one day win an Oscar, I’m seriously wondering whether it can be for “Sweeney.” Another report on yesterday’s test screening, however, seems to think the movie’s strong enough to be an Oscar contender.

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