Rejoice Midwesterners: Marcus Theatres is finally showing Tim Burton's Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street! Last month, I wrote in my column on the story of Marcus' inability to reach an agreement with Paramount on the split of the movie's box office, and the cinema chain's subsequent decision to not show the film. For many people in Wisconsin, Illinois, Ohio, North Dakota, Iowa and Minnesota, that meant not being able to see the musical unless they drove hundreds of miles out of their way to an area with a non-Marcus-owned movie theater. I'm sure some huge Johnny Depp fans and Burton loyalists made the trek, thinking they'd otherwise have to wait for the DVD to come out. But Marcus and Paramount have now worked out a deal, likely because the movie has been out long enough for Paramount to be satisfied with the box office share it squeezed out of the country's other theater owners. Or maybe the studio realized that with a gross of only $40 million in three weeks, the movie wasn't as in demand as it had thought. Starting today (Jan. 11), 15 of Marcus' 49 locations will be showing the dark Sondheim adaptation.

I haven't yet seen Sweeney Todd. I wish I could say that I've been boycotting the film in support of Marcus Theatres, but in all honesty I've simply been choosing other better-looking movies to see (including The Diving Bell and the Butterflyand There Will Be Blood). Coincidentally (or not, maybe the company is doing it to spite the studios), Marcus has also decided to highlight these better-looking movies, which all qualify as "art films". The chain is calling this new programming of foreign and independent films "Critic's Choice"; the purpose is to call to attention "acclaimed and smaller films that are in limited release or might otherwise go unnoticed." Titles include Diving Bell, Junoand No Country for Old Men. Between those films and Sweeney Todd, Marcus patrons should now be fully prepared when they sit down to watch the Golden Globes press conference this weekend.