Despite rumors about delays, Dreamworks has given Sweeney Todd an official release date of December 21st, 2007. And really, what better time than Christmas for a story of grisly murders, revenge, and meat pies? Sometimes a release date is just a release date, but when a film with this pedigree is placed into theaters at that time of year, odds are it's angling for some little gold statues. Here's hoping it warrants them! The film stars Johnny Depp, Sacha Baron Cohen, Helena Bonham Carter, Alan Rickman, Laura Michelle Kelly, Christopher Lee, Timothy Spall, and Anthony Stewart Head of Buffy the Vampire Slayer fame. John Logan (Gladiator, The Aviator) is adapting Stephen Sondheim's beloved "musical thriller" for the big screen.

The story of Sweeney Todd has been filmed many times before, the most well-known probably being a 1982 televised version of the stage play, starring Angela Lansbury. I saw the most recent stage revival of the show on Broadway, and was pretty impressed. I'm eager to see Burton's take on it. Sweeney Todd is an extremely icky, pitch-black affair, and I couldn't imagine a better pairing of director with material. The show's blend of dark humor and grisly thrills fits squarely into Burton's Sleepy Hollow wheelhouse. Sweeney marks the sixth time Depp and Burton have worked together. Their collaborations have brought us three truly excellent films: Edward Scissorhands, Ed Wood, and Sleepy Hollow, as well as the pretty cool Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, and Corpse Bride, for which Depp provided a voice. I can't wait to see where this new one ranks. I don't know about you, but hearing Borat, Donnie Brasco, and Hans Gruber sing sounds like a pretty sweet Christmas present to me.

Oh, and if you want to see what Mr. Depp will look like as "the demon barber of fleet street," head here. Looks like he's got kind of a Cruella DeVille thing going on with the hair.