HE reader Jamie Rosengard, writing from a secret location that may or may not be within the continental United States of America, reported this morning that he “had the pleasure of seeing Sweeney Todd [last] night at a 10 pm showing. I was initially pleased to see there was a full house. However, it quickly became apparent that few people in the audience had any idea what they were getting themselves into. When the movie finally started and the first song began there was an audible gasp — almost no one realized that the film is a musical.”
“Audible gasp”? How completely shut-off-from-the-hullaballoo do you have to be to not have the first clue that Sweeney Todd is a musical? To be a complete human embodiment of a grazing steer and know absolutely nothing about a film except what the ads and trailers convey? To be walking around and not have the slightest idea who Stephen Sondheim is? People have their own lives and concerns to look after, obviously, and the tens of millions who’ve never been to a B’way show can’t be expected to know much about this or that stage musical, but even people who are totally lacking a sports gene (like myself) at least know who the New York Rangers are and that they all carry hockey sticks…c’mon.
“Based on the reactions I heard on the way out, nearly everyone enjoyed Sweeney Todd,” Rosengard goes on, “particularly Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter‘s acting (if not the latter’s singing). But I am curious about how Warner’s marketing strategy has influenced the people interested in buying a ticket for the movie.”