Though famed author Stephen King recently admitted that even he was surprised by just how good Andy Muschietti‘s adaption of his novel It turned-out to be (even going so far as to see it twice), one has to wonder if King didn’t have some kind of psychic premonition that the film was going to be something special based on some behind-the-scenes legal maneuverings that King’s been involved with regarding some of his older works.
On his legal blogsite Zerner Law, attorney Larry Zerner found that the legendary horror author has filed legal papers that would revert the film rights to The Dead Zone, Cujo, Creepshow, Children of the Corn, Cat’s Eye, and Firestarter back to the author from their current license holders. King initially filed the paperwork for the change in August 2016; which means that as of September 1st, 2018, King will have regained full rights to those stories returned to him.
Now there’s some “fine print” that comes along with this move. While King will have the rights to create sequels or remakes based on those works, anything that was made prior to the change in rights ownership can still be distributed by whoever held the rights previously. Translation? If you made 16 Children of the Corn sequels prior to King getting the rights back, then you can still distribute them however you like. But if you want to make that 17th sequel, then you’ll need to get permission from King for that one.
And because it’s the law, so of course it has to be further complicated. King’s jurisdiction only rests within the United States — not internationally. So if someone wanted to make an animated “buddy movie” sequel to Cujo and distribute it throughout South America, then they would be well within their rights. If they wanted to screen it at the AMC Empire 25? Not gonna happen, unless King is involved and gives his legal blessing.
So for Akiva Goldsman‘s remake of Firestarter and Lang Elliott‘s Cujo reboot, some sobering advice: you have 364 days left to get something done, so make it happen. Because the clock is ticking…and The King stands waiting.