The latest adaptation of Stephen King’s novel, Salem’s Lot, apparently got stuck in the development hell since its announcement in 2021. The film suffered several delays before WB announced its final delay in April this year, after which the company didn’t announce another release date for the film—making it effectively shelved (similar to DC’s Batgirl film), without any indication of it finally reaching silver screens.
After multiple delays from Warner Bros., the planned Salem’s Lot movie remains shelved indefinitely, with no release date in sight. Could the reboot have the same fate as the studio’s Batgirl movie?
According to JoBlo, Warner Bros. dropped the ball on the already finished Stephen King film, a cinematic adaptation of Salem’s Lot, which was initially supposed to hit the theaters on September 9, 2022. Unfortunately, due to the COVID-related delays with the film’s post-production, several scenes underwent reshoots in the spring of 2022, after which Warner Bros. announced that the film was losing its April 21, 2023 release date to the latest Evil Dead movie. However, the company hasn’t announced another release date for Salem’s Lot, effectively shelving the movie.
What remains unclear is why the company choose to shelve Salem’s Lot. Admittedly, WB has been busy with their releases, and 2023 was a particularly busy year, with releases such as Evil Dead Rise, the new Shazam! Fury of the Gods, Meg 2: The Trench, and Barbie, hitting the theaters and bringing in revenue.
The indefinite delay of Salem’s Lot might have something to do with the overall poor performance of recent Stephen King movies.
And there are plenty of upcoming releases on the docket as well, such as the highly-anticipated Blue Beetle set to release this week, The Nun 2 in September, and Dune: Part Two in November. October remains empty for the time being, and it would be a perfect release window for Salem’s Lot.
However, there’s no indication that Warner Bros. will release Salem’s Lot in October, and the reasons still remain unclear. The film’s quality certainly isn’t to blame. According to rumors and internet chatter, the film already had at least two test screenings that have gone quite well, with fandom complaining that the release favors jump scares over psychological dread and character development. This doesn’t come as a surprise since the film was directed by Gary Dauberman, a writer/director known for his love of jump scares.
So, why the movie isn’t on Warner Bros.’s release calendar? Well, the indefinite delay of Salem’s Lot might have something to do with the overall poor performance of recent Stephen King movies. 2020’s Children of the Corn, 2022’s Firestarter, and Mr. Harrigan’s Phone have all flopped at the box office. In addition, all three films have horrible critics and audience scores at review aggregation websites—and numbers never lie. The exception is 2023’s The Boogeyman, which fared well with the critics and the audiences, but we’re discussing rules rather than exceptions here.
According to rumors and internet chatter, the film already had at least two test screenings that have gone quite well.
So, it’s not really a surprise that Warner Bros. has decided to shelve Salem’s Lot, despite successful test screenings. But that doesn’t mean that the movie won’t receive a release date in the future; perhaps Warner Bros. wants to put some distance between the flopped releases and the one that might prove successful.
Unfortunately, without the official word from Warner Bros., all we’re left with is speculation, so take any speculative information about the film’s release with a grain of salt—it has proven to be a very effective cure against disappointment.