There is a massive resurgence going on right now in terms of Hollywood adapting Stephen King properties. The Dark Tower movie finally got made, despite the general sense of disappointment, Mr. Mercedes is currently airing and, perhaps most importantly, the IT movie we’ve all been waiting for finally hits theaters next week. Point being, Stephen King is a big deal right now. And lucky for him, he is about to get the rights back to a lot of his most popular works.
As discovered by Zerner Law, Stephen King filed to terminate the transfer of his licenses for the movies, The Dead Zone, Cujo, Children of the Corn, Firestarter, Creepshow and Cat’s Eye. The notices were filed on August 31, 2016, which means that he will have the rights to all of those titles back as of September 1, 2018. That means, King is now in control of these titles moving forward as of that date next year. As Zener Law explains, some big new deals could be made in the future as a result.
“In other words, after September 1, 2018, if a studio wanted to make a sequel or remake of any of these movies, they would have to go back to Stephen King and make a new deal.”
There are elements of this that get a little tricky, but the short of it is, if any studio wanted to make a new Children of the Corn movie, for example, after September 1, 2018, they would have to make a deal with Stephen King directly. Considering that his properties could be a hot ticket item by next year in Hollywood, this could lead to some big deals and remakes of some of his most popular works. Who wouldn’t want to see a modern, well-made Children of the Corn movie?
The complicated part of this has to do with international rights. The termination only applies to U.S. rights. That means that if one of the current rightsholders wanted to remake Cujo, for example, and release it outside of the U.S., they absolutely could. However, considering how big the U.S. market is, especially for something like a Stephen King adaptation, that seems a little unlikely, but not impossible.
A couple of these titles currently have remakes in development. If they don’t get filming within the next year, they aren’t going to get made at all. Unless they strike a new deal with Stephen King, that is. Akiva Goldsman is currently working on a Firestarter remake, which was first adapted by director Mark L. Lester and released in 1984. There was also a 2002 miniseries titled Rekindled released in 2002.
There is also an adaptation of Cujo underway, going under the name C.U.J.O., which stands for “Canine Unit Joint Operations.” The script is reportedly complete and Lang Elliott is set to direct with DJ Perry set to star, at least when it was last reported. The original Cujo was released in 1983 and remains a favorite among many Stephen King fans. Considering the tight deadline these projects are under, it is unlikely they are going to get done in time. King is now in control of the destiny of these projects moving forward and that could result in some exciting developments.