Ranking the 39 Stephen King Adaptations Based on Inflation Adjusted Box-Office Totals

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Ranking the 39 Stephen King Adaptations Based on Inflation Adjusted Box-Office Totals

By Dustin Rowles | Box Office Round-Ups | October 21, 2013 | Comments ()


There were three new entries at the box office this weekend, and all three fell below expectations, as Gravity continued its incredible run at the box office, adding another $30 million (bringing its total to $170 million), while Tom Hanks’ Captain Phillips had a very nice hold, as well, dropping just 32 percent and adding another $17 million (it’s over $50 million cumulative). Gravity is playing so well right now that I wouldn’t be surprised if it still occupied many of the IMAX and 3D screens come Thanksgiving. If so, I’ll make a second visit.

The news wasn’t as good for the newbies. Benedict Cumberbatch’s The Fifth Estate was dead on arrival. The Julian Assange biopic could only muster $1.7 million over the weekend, and will likely be heading out of theaters by next weekend to make room for Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa (make of that what you will). The teaming of Arnold Schwarzennegar and Sylvester Stallone in Escape Plan would’ve been the biggest movie of 1988, but in 2013, it opened with only $9.8 million. The novelty on these two has completely worn off, as Stallone’s Bullet to the Head and Arnie’s The Last Stand both bombed earlier this year.

Finally, the remake of Stephen King’s Carrie racked up $17 million, which was disappointing in a year in which horror movies have been playing well. The Conjuring opened with $41 million; Insidious Chapter 2 opened with $40 million; The Purge opened with $34 million; and Mama opened with $28 million. Horror remakes typically have not played that well overall, but most of them at least have had decent opening weekends. That wasn’t so much the case for Carrie, which will likely end its run with around $45 million, which places it right in the middle of the pack for Stephen King movies.

Believe it or not, there have also been a whopping 39 films made based on (or inspired by) Stephen King titles, which is insane, especially considering how many more are in the pipeline, as well as the fact that Stephen King is still churning potential adaptations.

Here is how Stephen King’s oeuvre ranks, adjusted for inflation.

1. The Green Mile — $213,101,900

2. The Shining — $133,524,800

3. Carrie (1976) — $129,487,300

4. Misery — $118,459,300

5. Pet Sematary — $118,123,600

6. Stand by Me $115,004,100

7. 1408 — $85,378,300

8. The Running Man — $79,229,800

9. The Lawnmower Man — $63,118,700

10. Secret Window $63,102,500

11. Sleepwalkers — $60,019,800

12. Creepshow — $58,365,500

13. Cujo — $54,804,500

14. The Shawshank Redemption — $54,346,600

15. The Dead Zone — $53,795,400

16. Christine — $52,792,300

17. Carrie (2013) $46 million (est. at the end of its run)

18. Dolores Claiborne — $45,699,500

19. Dreamcatcher — $45,624,900

20. Firestarter — $41,480,400

21. Children of the Corn — $35,381,800

22. Hearts in Atlantis — $34,868,600

23. Pet Sematary II — $33,608,300

24. Tales From the Darkside: The Movie — $31,491,400

25. The Mist — $30,340,800

26. Cat’s Eye — $30,080,100

27. Needful Things — $29,931,200

28. The Rage: Carrie 2 — $28,532,200

29. Silver Bullet — $28,414,900

30. Stephen King’s Thinner $28,274,700

31. Graveyard Shift — $22,344,300

32. The Dark Half — $20,914,800

33. Maximum Overdrive — $16,350,100

34. Apt Pupil — $15,420,800

35. Children of the Corn II — $13,759,600

36. Lawnmower Man 2: Beyond Cyberspace —$4,447,800

37. The Mangler — $3,341,600

38. The Night Flier — $218,200

39. Stephen King’s Riding the Bullet — $177,000

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Comments Are Welcome, Bigots and Trolls Are Not

  • kiniki

    I know it was made for TV so not on this list. But I enjoyed The Landoliers. It was bad.... but good bad

  • Rocabarra

    Apt Pupil was a great film and deserves to be so much higher!

  • manting

    its a remake of an orson wells film. Not really King

  • stella

    I thought Apt Pupil was a King short story.

  • manting

    its a rip off of The Stranger. Not the Camus "The Stranger" but Orson Welles The Stranger. Here is the plot - remarkably similar. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/T...

  • Bananaranma

    Calling it a rip-off is a bit strong; The Stranger is told from the perspective of the Nazi hunter, a character that enters the short story only in the last 10 pages.

    The short story focuses entirely on a sociopathic teenager who is drawn into a sick symbiotic relationship once he discovers one if his neighbors was a concentration camp commander.

    Very close in subject, wildly different in approach and content.

  • TheReinaG

    Most of King's stuff is completely derivative of previous stories. (As that saying goes: there are only so many stories to tell)

  • stella

    Huh. You learn new things every day.

  • manting

    it is a King Novella but he ripped it off - or was inspired by The Stranger.

  • TK the Other (de-lurking)

    I still think the miniseries for "It" beats most of these** in terms of "good" movie adaptations, mostly because of The Curry.


    **(Carrie, Misery, The Shining, Shawshank, and Green Mile for me are the exceptions...)

  • stella

    Theres a Pet Sematary 2? And Kathy Bates is staring at me...

  • Aaron Schulz

    it has eddie furlong and anthony edwards in it, so thats a fun little factoid, i guess

  • stella

    Trivial Pursuit here I come!

  • crispin

    Best King adaptation: "Salem's Lot"

  • Fredo

    No doubt. Saw that as a kid and it freaked the hell out of me.

    Tried seeing if Netflix had it and no luck. Damn!

  • manting

    uh there is a site called solar movie - it has it.

  • Bert_McGurt

    I've never realized it before, but fully a third of these titles would also be perfectly serviceable as the names of skin flicks.

  • NateMan

    The Mist really deserves to be higher. What a great movie that I will never, ever watch again. Ever.

  • Parker Jammstein

    I saw that with my dad in a theater with maybe 10 other people and the scene in the marketplace where the lady says something about leaving her dumb kids home alone some dude yells "WELL THEN YOU'S A DUMB BITCH" and we all lost our shit.

    But yeah, I got intense "Lord of the Flies" vibes from that flick. Also the ending made me queasy.

  • NateMan

    It's all about the ending for me. I enjoy the horror right up until then, but the tragedy of what he thought he had to do, followed by immediately finding out he didn't, ruined me. Now that I have a kid there's no way I can watch that again.

  • Parker Jammstein

    I watched it again with a friend who exclaimed "THE PUNISHER JUST SHOT HIS SON IN THE FACE FOR NO REASON" and that sorta took away some of the impact for me but still... Wow.

  • manting

    thats why I like it. Its a great scene and for once a horror movie ends with tragedy not a generic double kill the monster we win ending.

  • manting

    Loved it. Those spiders are perhaps the best in horror cinema history.

  • AudioSuede

    Oh, Maximum Overdrive. Gotta love the random post-sex scene where Emilio Estevez finds a rocket launcher in the basement of a truck stop. That movie is the worst/best.

  • Fredo

    Whenever IFC puts it on, I make an effort to catch at least some of it. So bad.

  • crispin

    "This machine just called me an asshole!"

  • manting

    NIce list. I would note that the poor performance of the 5th estate is evidence of B.C. complete overratedness. Cant believe I forgot how many movies were from the twisted and prolific mind of Steven King and how many of the are really good. Its also surprising how many are outside the horror genre.

  • and most of 'em have performed pretty well at the box office. the only real tankers are at the bottom of the list.

  • manting

    I thought the Mist was pretty damn good and I am surprised at how poorly it performed. It has half the cast of the walking dead in it oddly enough. 7 or 8 on that list are among the top of their genres in my opinion. Very impressive.

  • TheReinaG

    Oddly enough? You mean they were just both Frank Darabont affairs, right?

  • Cory

    And how successful many of them actually are. Thats not the factless perception I had.

  • TCH

    I would have thought that the Running Man would be higher up.

  • manting

    You thought RIchard Dawsons star power would have a bigger draw?

  • TCH

    I was thinking more in terms of the govenator.

  • manting

    I was kidding clearly. I love that movie. The villains make it for me. That and Yaphet Koto.

  • Nat

    How did Dolan's Cadillac do? I saw it on TMN On Demand here in Canada. Was it released straight to video?

  • TheReinaG

    Yea, it was a straight to DVD affair, and although it was one of the more interesting stories in Nightmares and Dreamscapes I couldn't see it translating to film well. Honestly the best short story adaptation from that novel was in the (TNT? I think, maybe?) adaptation of 'The End of the Whole Mess' starring Ron Livingston. That shit was well done. (Whatever station it was did a 6 story miniseries of 'N&D' although at least a couple weren't stories from that particular collection)

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