Few authors have enjoyed seeing their publications turned to film more than Stephen King. His very name conjures up feelings of fear and dread. A few dramatic stories aside, King is the King of horror. Still, over the years there have been plenty of bad films with his name attached to them, and fans often wonder, has Stephen King lost his edge? Are there more hits or misses regarding the success of his films? We here at Real to Real will attempt to answer that very question.
First, we have to establish a criteria. We'll evaluate each film, in chronological order, and score it in three catagories. 1) Tomato Meter. This is a fair way to gain a quick insight to how the film was received by movie critics. It gathers up all relevant reviews and gives it an overall score. 2) We'll also judge the fan response. Critics and fans don't always agree, and movie goers certainly have a say. 3) Box office return. From a financial stand point, a movie that fails to meet its investment domestically is deemed a failure. We'll show both the amount +/- of money gained or lossed +/-, as well as the margin of investment vs gross. For example, if a movie made five times gross what the production budget was, it would be represented as "x5." Films that do not disclose a budget will receive an "n/a". With three categories, majority rules. If at least 2 of 3 swing one way, to be fair, that's how the overall will be scored, a hit, or a miss. For fairness, we exclude made-for-tv films, short films, and anthologies that use more than one writer. Here we go.
Title Tomato Meter Movie Goers Box Office Overall
Carrie 91% (hit) 70% (hit) +32Mill (hit) x18.7 (hit)
The Shining 88% (hit) 91% (hit) +22Mill (hit) x2 (hit)
Cujo 59% (miss) 52% (miss) +16Mill (hit) x4.2 (miss)
The Dead Zone 89% (hit) 72% (hit) +10Mill (hit) x2 (hit)
Christine 65% (hit) 63% (hit) +11.5Mill (hit) x2 (hit)
Children of the Corn 39% (miss) 49% (miss) +13.7Mill (hit) x18 (miss)
Firestarter 41% (miss) 56% (miss) +0.1Mill (miss) x1 (miss)
Cat's Eye 65% (hit) 52% (miss) +6Mill (hit) x1.8 (hit)
Silver Bullet 50% (miss) 59% (miss) -1.6Mill (miss) x0.7 (miss)
Maximum Overdrive 18% (miss) 54% (miss) -2.6 Mill (miss) x0.7 (miss)
Stand By Me 91% (hit) 93% (hit) +44Mill (hit) x6.5 (hit)
The Running Man 63% (hit) 59% (miss) +11Mill (hit) x1.4 (hit)
Pet Semetary 50% (miss) 60% (hit) +45Mill (hit) x4.9 (hit)
Graveyard Shift 13% (miss) 32% (miss) +1Mill (hit) x1.0 (miss)
Misery 90% (hit) 83% (hit) +41Mill (hit) x3 (hit)
Sleepwalkers 17% (miss) 39% (miss) +15Mill (hit) x2 (miss)
The Dark Half 61% (hit) 43% (miss) -4.4Mill (miss) x0.7 (miss)
Needful Things 27% (miss) 47% (miss) n/a (miss)
Shawshank Redemption 89% (hit) 98% (hit) +33Mill (hit) x2.3 (hit)
The Mangler 22% (miss) 24% (miss) n/a (miss)
Dolores Claiborne 82% (hit) 75% (hit) n/a (hit)
Thinner 17% (miss) 39% (miss) +1.1Mill (hit) x1 (miss)
Apt Pupil 53% (miss) 57% (miss) -5.2Mill (miss) x0.6 (miss)
Green Mile 80% (hit) 93% (hit) +76Mill (hit) x2.2 (hit)
The Rage: Carrie 2 16% (miss) 45% (miss) -3.3Mill (miss) x0.8 (miss)
Hearts In Atlantis 50% (miss) 63% (hit) -7Mill (miss) x0.7 (miss)
Dreamcatcher 30% (miss) 43% (miss) +7.7Mill (hit) x1.1 (miss)
Secret Window 46% (miss) 69% (hit) +7.7Mill (hit) x1.1 (hit)
Riding The Bullet 29% (miss) 38% (miss) -4.9Mill (miss) x0.02 (miss)
1408 78% (hit) 61% (hit) +106Mill (hit) x5.2 (hit)
The Mist 73% (hit) 64% (hit) +7.5Mill (hit) x1.4 (hit)
Okay, so let's crunch the numbers. The list of Stephen King motion pictures has 15 hits, and 16 misses. Of the 15 hits, 11 were across the board hits, represented in green. Of the16 failures, 8 failed across the board, represented in red.
Let's also take a look at the overall regarding the Tomato Meter. If we added all the percentages together and averaged them, Stephen King Films has an overall rating of 54%. That means critically, Stephen King motion pictures have failed. If we apply the same principle to general audience results, the overall rating is 59%.
So it would seem that Stephen King has put out more failures than hits. But this doesn't make him a failure. These are films based on his novels and short stories. So much more goes into the success or failure of a film than simply the novel it's based on. Directors, actors, screenplays, editing all play a part.
Still, the argument of "are Stephen King movies successful or not?" has been answered, the best it could.