Warner Bros. Discovery reshuffled its upcoming slate of films again and while the Evil Dead-heads are celebrating the return of Deadites to the big screen with an unexpected theatrical release of Evil Dead Rise, it’s bad news for Stephen King fans. New Line Cinema‘s Salem’s Lot remake has been taken off of its originally planned April 21, 2023, release date in favor of the Lee Cronin-directed sequel film with no word on when the remake of the classic King story could reach audiences.
Gary Dauberman‘s adaptation has had a rough go of it over the past two months. While the film was originally intended to release on September 9, a lack of marketing throughout the summer, save for a tie-in book, indicated it wasn’t going to make that date. It was finally delayed in mid-July with COVID-related issues hindering post-production. Without a release date now, Warner Bros. Discovery is likely weighing what to do with the film, though CEO David Zaslav‘s new philosophy centered on theatrical releases means it’ll likely still have a home in theaters.
Published in 1975, King‘s book centers on author Ben Mears who takes a trip back to his hometown of Jerusalem’s Lot hoping to cure his writer’s block. In his search for ideas, he turns to the old Marsten house owned by a strange European man that’s haunted him since a traumatic experience in his youth. As he digs deeper into the house though, he discovers that not all is right in the town as residents are slowly turning into creatures of the night. He gathers a small group of reliable townsfolk, and they set out with hopes of ending the vampire menace once and for all.
Salem’s Lot has twice been adapted for television with one successful miniseries coming from Tobe Hooper and the other starring Rob Lowe. This adaptation will be the first time King‘s vampire story has ever reached the big screen though, and it boasts an all-star cast to boot with Lewis Pullman, Makenzie Leigh, Alfre Woodard, Bill Camp, John Benjamin Hickey, Nicholas Crovetti, Jordan Preston Carter, William Sadler, Spencer Treat Clark, Cade Woodward, Debra Christofferson, and Pilou Asbaek.
The film is part of a wave of higher-budget horror remakes of late, though Salem’s Lot had extra promise due to its creative staff stacked with horror aficionados. Dauberman has honed his craft penning the It remake films, Annabelle, and The Nun while also making his directorial debut with Annabelle Comes Home. Part of his creative staff, including director of photography Michael Burgess and first assistant director Jeffrey “JP” Wetzel, followed him from his debut, as did horror icon James Wan who is producing the film.
There’s no indication when Salem’s Lot could release.