Stephen King's 'Salem's Lot' Skipping Theatrical Release for Streaming Debut

'Salem's Lot' will premiere exclusively on Max later this year.

The long-awaited adaptation of Stephen King's 1975 bestselling novel Salem's Lot is skipping a theatrical release. Warner Bros. Discovery confirmed last month that the New Line vampire thriller, which has been in limbo for roughly two years amid the WarnerMedia and Discovery Inc. merger in spring of 2022, will skip theaters and instead premiere on the streaming service Max.

Marking just the latest adaptation of one of the famed author's works, Salem's Lot centers around author Ben Mears, who returns to his childhood home of Jerusalem's Lot in search of inspiration for his next book. He gets more than he bargained for, however, when he discovers that his hometown is being preyed upon by a bloodthirsty vampire. The movie stars Lewis Pullman as Ben Mears, Alfre Woodard as Dr. Cody, Makenzie Leigh as Susan Norton, Bill Camp as Matthew Burke, Spencer Treat Clark as Mike Ryerson, Pilou Asbæk as Straker, and John Benjamin Hickey as Father Callahan.

Salem's Lot was first adapted by CBS in 1979 with a two-part miniseries starring David Soul as Ben Mears. A theatrical of A Return to Salem's Lot, dubbed a sequel, followed in 1987, with Rob Lowe starring in a second miniseries adaptation for TNT in 2004. The newest iteration, meanwhile, has been in the works for years. First announced in 2019

The movie has been in the works for years now, with The Hollywood Reporter first announcing all the way back in 2019 that Gary Dauberman was set to write the screenplay and executive produce alongside James Wan as producer. The movie began filming in 2021. However, the Warner Bros. Discovery in 2022 upended the movie, which was originally slated to hit theaters in September 2022. That premiere date was then pushed back to April 2023 before being removed from the theatrical release schedule completely, per THR. In February 2024, King himself even questioned what was going on with the film, writing on X (formerly Twitter), "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 f-ing things."

Salem's Lot is set to release on Max later this year, though an exact release date hasn't been announced. Dauberman writes, directs, and executive produces with Wan and Michael Clear for Atomic Monster and Roy Lee for Vertigo alongside Mark Wolper.