Skip to main content
If you click on a link and make a purchase we may receive a small commission. Read our editorial policy.

Warner Bros. now has three completed movies it'll never release, right out of a Stephen King book (literally)

Trying to figure out if they'll release any film is like consulting a Magic 8 Ball at this point.

Salem's Lot screenshot
Image credit: Warner Bros.

Popverse's top stories of the day

Stop us if you’ve heard this before: Warner Bros, upon finishing a highly anticipated film, decides to sit on the finished product rather than release it to claim it as a tax write-off. Nope, we’re not talking about Batgirl or even Coyote vs. Acme. This time we’re talking about the film adaptation of Stephen King’s Salem’s Lot, which has the author as baffled as anyone else.

King, who is no stranger to Hollywood adapting his work or speaking his mind, took to social media to explain the situation as best he could. His post explained, in no uncertain terms, that the film was done, that he had seen it, and that he had no idea why Warner Bros. was refusing to release it. He described the movie as “old-school horror filmmaking” with a “slow build, big payoff” philosophy.

Given their track record for tossing completed films in the bin to generate a hefty tax write-off, we’re starting to wonder what metrics Warner Bros. is using to decide which movies to release and which to burn to the ground. Is it that all three of these canceled movies were likely to make a modest but not spectacular box office taking? Is there a mysterious thread that connects these three films in different genres and by different directors? It feels so random but we have to think there is some sort of pattern here.

Repeatedly making such high-profile sacrifices to trick the stock market into thinking they’re a successful movie studio is such a frustratingly short-sighted business decision. Not only has it led to repeated, predictable backlash from fans and terrible press for the studio, but it must make filmmakers wary about signing up with Warner Bros. in the first place. Why make a movie with someone if they might turn around and decide to never let anyone see it?

Unlike the other two, there is still a chance we’ll see Salem’s Lot one day as Warner Bros. hasn’t officially said they’d rather taxpayers pay them for it rather than try to earn ticket sales like everyone else. The fact that Stephen King has seen it in its completed form but we haven’t seen anything about a release date combined with the studio’s track record doesn’t make us hopeful, though.

Want to know what's coming up next in pop culture? Check out our guides to upcoming movies, upcoming TV shows, upcoming comics, and upcoming comic conventions. If you're looking for specific franchises or genres, we have all the upcoming MCU, upcoming Star Wars, upcoming Star Trek, and upcoming DC movies & TV for you. If you're a fan of superheroes and not specific to just Marvel or DC, we have overall guides to all the upcoming superhero movies and upcoming superhero TV shows (and new seasons) as well.