Paramount Pictures has staked an April 19, 2019 release date for its Pet Sematary remake. It’s been a glorious (or goriest?) year for author Stephen King at the box office, thanks to the big-screen adaptation of his 1,138 page opus IT, which is nearing the end of its domestic run with more than $327.3 million in ticket sales. Combined with the $366.8 million the film has pulled in overseas, IT to date has earned a scary good global box office tally of more than $694.1 million – an extraordinary amount for an R-rated film.
And while the long-awaited adaptation of King’s The Dark Tower grossed a paltry $111.7 million global take during its August-October run this year, the success of IT clearly shows that fans still have a thirst for the author’s horror properties. That’s good news for Paramount as it preps its remake of Pet Sematary.
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In an apparent effort to drum up early interest in its Pet Sematary remake, Paramount announced its release date for the film. According to Deadline, the new Pet Sematary, co-directed by Kevin Kolsch and Dennis Widmyer, will be released April 19, 2019. The release date has some significance since its release date falls two days shy of the 30th anniversary of the original Pet Sematary‘s release date, which was April 21, 1989. The script for the remake/reboot is being written by Jeff Buhler, the writer who also is working on the script for the remake of director Adrian Lyne’s acclaimed 1990 mystery thriller Jacob’s Ladder.
A story about a family’s efforts to bring a deceased loved one back to life after a tragic accident, the original Pet Semetary – starring Dale Midkiff, Denise Crosby and The Munsters icon Fred Gwynne – earned a solid $57.4 million domestically in 1989. Not adjusted for inflation, the film ranks fifth on the list of the top-grossing films based on King novels, behind Misery, 1408, The Green Mile and IT.
The pressure is no doubt on Kolsch and Widmyer – who co-directed three episodes of MTV’s Scream: The TV Series – to deliver with their Pet Sematary remake, especially given the overwhelming reaction to director Andy Muschietti’s IT. Naturally, IT had the benefit of having a built-in audience of legions of fans freaked out by the 1990s IT TV miniseries, and its probably safe to say that while there are faithful fans of the original Pet Sematary, the numbers aren’t nearly as great as those with images of Tim Curry’s Pennywise the Clown burned into their brains for the past 27 years.
Still, the fact that Bill Skarsgard’s Pennywise and his gifted ensemble cast that made up The Loser’s Club made IT such a success is ultimately a good thing for the upcoming Pet Sematary. IT served as a great reminder that King is lauded for his horror film works for a reason, and that Pet Sematary is more than worthy enough to bring back to life.
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