It's been a minute since we last heard anything about writer/director Gary Dauberman's remake of Salem's Lot. The film was originally scheduled by Warner Bros. to be released in theaters for Spooky Season 2022, but it was pushed it to 2023 that summer, and it was then taken off the release calendar completely. Stephen King fans have been left wondering for months when we might actually get to see the movie... and while we don't yet have news of a release date, there is a new report today saying that the studio is considering pivoting the distribution plan for the feature and making it a Max exclusive.
Word of this behind-the-scenes development comes from Variety, which notably says that the decision has nothing to do with the quality of the film. Instead, the call is apparently being motivated by the on-going SAG-AFTRA strike. Because of work stoppages, there is a growing need for exclusives to put on Warner Discovery's proprietary subscription streaming service, and Salem's Lot, having spent many, many months on the shelf, is being seen as an option.
What's interesting about this potential change is that it's the antithesis of what happened at the start of the year with 2023's biggest new Stephen King adaptation: director Rob Savage's The Boogeyman. Through its development, The Boogeyman was planned as a Hulu exclusive, but things changed when the studio did test screenings. King personally questioned why the film wasn't getting a shot on the big screen, and it led to 20th Century Studios altering strategy. The feature played in theaters this past summer and arrived on Hulu/home video earlier this month just in time for Halloween. It was a win/win.
Gary Dauberman's Salem's Lot, starring Lewis Pullman, Makenzie Leigh, Bill Camp, Pilou Asbæk, Alfre Woodard, and William Sadler, went through principal photography back in 2021, and it was reported in summer 2022 that the project was dealing with COVID-related issues in post-production. It is the third adaptation of Stephen King's book, but this marks the first time that it was been made as a feature. Director Tobe Hooper first made Salem's Lot as a miniseries back in 1979 and Mikael Salomon helmed a small screen remake in 2004 starring Rob Lowe.
A statement from a Warner Bros. spokesperson says that no final decision has yet been made about distribution plans for Salem's Lot, but hopefully the studio will come up with a strategy soon. The footage that was shown at CinemaCon 2022 was terrifically exciting and Gary Dauberman has earned the trust of Stephen King fans thanks to his screenplay work for IT and IT: Chapter Two (plus, his directorial debut, Annabelle Comes Home, is extremely underrated).
Stay tuned here on CinemaBlend for more updates about Salem's Lot, and if you're a Stephen King fan, be sure to head back here to the site every Thursday for a new edition of my news roundup column The King Beat.