Monday, April 18, 2011

Stephen King's Showbiz Career

I was reading an article on Bloody Disgusting about Stephen King's showbiz history (e.g. movie/TV adaptations of his work, directing and acting attempts). It was an interesting read for a King fan. Here are a couple of blurbs from it:
After noting that more and more aspiring directors were writing him for permission to adapt his short stories for the screen, in 1977 King implemented his "Dollar Babies" policy, in which we would grant any student filmmaker the non-commercial right to adapt one of his stories for the bargain-basement price of one dollar (novels excluded). All that King required, other than a guarantee that the film wouldn't be exhibited for commercial purposes without his express consent, was that the filmmaker send him a copy of the completed product for inclusion in his private library. Though the declaration allegedly sent his accountant into a tizzy, this open-door policy – which King himself never publicly addressed until nearly 20 years later – demonstrated the down-to-earth qualities that to this day so endear the author to his legions of loyal fans. It also resulted in kicking off the Hollywood career of frequent King collaborator Frank Darabont (The Shawshank Redemption, The Green Mile, The Mist), who at only 24 years old adapted King's short story "The Woman in the Room" into a well-received short film that was shortlisted for the 1983 Academy Awards.
 And in regards to his disdain for the adaptation done of his "Lawnmower Man"...
Grossing over three times its $10 million budget at the domestic box-office, The Lawnmower Man became a sleeper hit based partially on the strength of King's name, which was used prominently in the film's advertising campaign. Unfortunately for New Line, King went on to sue the distributor for exploiting his name to sell a movie that he claimed "bore no meaningful resemblance" to his original "Lawnmower Man" story (included in his 1978 collection Night Shift). Forced to pay King $2.5 million in damages, a court injunction was also issued barring the studio from further using his name to market the film. Nevertheless, King later discovered the studio had released the movie on home video with his name still attached, and New Line was found in contempt of court and ordered to remove King's name from every home video copy or else pay him $10,000 a day until they complied. In addition, the author was awarded all profits they had so far derived from the home video release.
Check it out here.

1 comment:

Jessica ( frellathon ) said...

I've read about his dollar babies. I haven't heard about The Lawnmower Man fiasco though. Interesting.