Is The Book Always Better?- Stephen King’s Film Renaissance


Daniel Cruse, Messenger Reporter

In recent years the box office has been suffering more and more as time goes on, and critics and audience members alike seem to be getting worn out by the unoriginal, formulaic movies that have been plaguing theaters for years. Sequels and series that overextend their welcome are finally getting the negative recognition that many filmgoers have been eagerly awaiting. Adaptations seem like a good compromise, as studios do not have to work to create entirely new stories but turning a book into a film can leave viewers with fresh material to enjoy. And when it comes to books that could make good movies, Stephen King is an author with an extensive catalog waiting to be adapted.


Many of the classic movies in years past have been based on King’s works, such as The Shawshank Redemption, The Shining, Stand By Me, and many more. While some of his adaptations have not been as successful, this past year proved that the magic of his novels can transition to film. While The Dark Tower may have been a critical and commercial flop (a 90 minute movie that adapted 8 books worth of material didn’t exactly seem promising), Andy Muschietti’s adaptation of King’s coming of age, monster story It was a success with critics and audiences and also did a decent job of sticking to the major plot points of the book while changing minor details to make it original.


The hope that is shared by many readers, including myself, is that producers will finally realize that a book adaptation without interference by the studios can stay close to the source material and still be a successful film, after all It is now the highest grossing horror movie of all time.


Many production companies have jumped on the revived King bandwagon as fast as possible, with Netflix adapting 1922 and Gerald’s Game, two of King’s stories, and Hulu is producing a series based on many of his books as well. This is exciting for readers of Stephen King’s work as we can hope to get more successful adaptations, but it also sets a hopeful precedent for any book readers that film adaptations can be good in their own right. While few movies truly have outshined the source material of their respective books, one can hope that in the future we can lay to rest the phrase “the book was better” for good.