Stephen King Salem’s Lot Remake Pulled From Theaters, Streaming On Max Instead Of Killed By Warner Bros.

By Matthew Flynn | Published

What was anticipated to be a blood-curdling addition to the pantheon of horror cinema, the film adaptation of Stephen King’s Salem’s Lot has found itself in an unexpected predicament. Initially scheduled for a grandiose theatrical release, fans will now view its premiere on Max’s streaming service.

The uncertainty surrounding the movie’s distribution arose as a result of a merger between WarnerMedia and Discovery Inc. Wielding considerable influence in the entertainment industry, the merger led to a reshuffle of plans for several projects, including Salem’s Lot.

Delayed, Buried, And Streaming

Originally, the horror film based on the Stephen King novel was slated for release in September 2022, but was then postponed to April 2023. However, the merger’s impact was so significant that the movie was eventually pulled from the theatrical release schedule entirely.

Avoiding The Warner Bros Trash Bin

Salem’s Lot’s fate began to mirror other films like Batgirl and Coyote vs Acme, also impacted by the merger. These movies, although possessing substantial potential and being in the can, were shelved, creating a wave of disappointment among expectant fans.

However, laurels should be given where they’re due. The writer of the original Salem’s Lot novel, Stephen King himself, shared his thoughts on the adaptation on X (formerly known as Twitter). He had nothing but praise for the movie, expressing his bafflement at Warner Bros.‘ reluctance to release it.

Stephen King Loves The Remake

stephen king

Clearly disappointed, last month, Stephen King tweeted, “Between you and me, Twitter, I’ve seen the new SALEM’S LOT and it’s quite good. Old-school horror filmmaking: slow build, big payoff. Not sure why WB is holding it back; not like it’s embarrassing, or anything. Who knows. I just write the fucking things.”

An Important Story To Stephen King

salem's lot

It’s understandable that Stephen King would be disappointed, Salem’s Lot was his second novel and marked a turning point in his career as a writer. It tells the story of Ben Mears, a novelist who makes a shocking discovery upon returning to his childhood town of Jerusalem’s Lot, affectionately abbreviated to Salem’s Lot. The town’s residents are being transformed into vampires, creating an atmosphere of terror and suspense.

Small Town Vampires

The plot of Salem’s Lot thickens in typical Stephen King fashion when Ben embarks on the mission of writing a book about the eerie, long-abandoned Marsten House. His relationship with high school teacher Matt Burke and romantic interest Susan Norton, takes a dire turn when they unearth a terrifying truth; the town is under siege by vampires, steered by the menacing Kurt Barlow and his human associate Richard Straker.

The Crazy Sequel

Salem’s Lot has gone on to inspire diverse adaptations in the realms of film and television. A two-part miniseries adaptation hit TV screens in 1979, featuring David Soul as Ben Mears, which garnered critical acclaim and several award nominations. A sequel film was unveiled in 1987, titled, A Return to Salem’s Lot.

The 20-Year Old Remake…Wait…Is That Right….20 Years!?

The tale saw a reboot in 2004 with a fresh miniseries on TNT featuring Rob Lowe as Ben Mears, which also won rave reviews and award nominations. The town of Jerusalem’s Lot had a recurring role in the Castle Rock TV series, which featured a variety of Stephen King characters and settings.

While the exact release date on Max remains unknown, a fourth-quarter release of Salem’s Lot is anticipated.