The DreamWorks/Warner Bros./Paramount film was originally scheduled to open in limited release and then go wide Jan. 11, 2008 because the powers that be felt the musical's dark storyline would be less commercial than previous movie musicals. However, after executives began seeing "Sweeney" clips, they realized the film could have wider appeal than originally believed. The film is expected to receive an R rating.
Several other films will also open Dec. 21: "National Treasure: Book of Secrets," "P.S., I Love You," "Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Store" and "The Diving Bell and the Butterfly."
The film adaptation of the Sondheim musical was penned by John Logan ("The Aviator," "Gladiator"). Tim Burton directs a cast that also includes Helena Bonham Carter as Mrs. Lovett, Alan Rickman (Private Lives, the "Harry Potter" films) as Judge Turpin, Timothy Spall ("Harry Potter") as Beadle Bamford and Sacha Baron Cohen ("Borat," "Talladega Nights") as Signor Adolfo Pirelli.
The official synopsis for the film follows: "Johnny Depp and Tim Burton join forces again in a big-screen adaptation of Stephen Sondheim's award-winning musical thriller 'Sweeney Todd.' Depp stars in the title role as a man unjustly sent to prison who vows revenge, not only for that cruel punishment, but for the devastating consequences of what happened to his wife and daughter. When he returns to reopen his barber shop, Sweeney Todd becomes the Demon Barber of Fleet Street who 'shaved the heads of gentlemen who never thereafter were heard from again.' Joining Depp is Helena Bonham Carter as Mrs. Lovett, Sweeney's amorous accomplice, who creates diabolical meat pies. The cast also includes Alan Rickman, who portrays the evil Judge Turpin, who sends Sweeney to prison and Timothy Spall as the Judge's wicked associate Beadle Bamford and Sacha Baron Cohen is a rival barber, the flamboyant Signor Adolfo Pirelli." The production team includes Tony Award winners Jonathan Tunick (orchestrator) and Paul Gemignani (musical supervisor) as well as director of photography Dariusz Wolski ("Pirates of the Caribbean"), production designer Dante Ferrati ("The Aviator"), costume designer Colleen Atwood ("Memoirs of a Geisha," "Chicago"), hair and make-up designer Peter Owen ("The Lord of the Rings") and editor Chris Lebenzon.
The film is produced by Richard D. Zanuck, Walter Parkes, Laurie MacDonald and John Logan.