The latest adaptation of a Stephen King novel, Firestarterfails to convince the public and is embarrassed at the US box office.
A popular novelist since the 1970s, Stephen King quickly saw his works adapted to the cinema. If a certain Brian De Palma launched the movement with Carrie at the Devil’s Ball in 1977, the adaptations that followed were not all as successful as this one. So yes, with $286 million raised worldwide, The green Line had been a huge success in 1999.
Then, That clearly relaunched the King machine, raking in $327 million on US soil and more than $700 million worldwide in 2017, thus becoming the most successful adaptation of a Stephen King novel at the box office ( before It Chapter 2 which collected 473 million two years later). However, not all have had this success despite the strong reputation of the books. The latest adaptation, Firestarter seems prove that adapting King to the cinema became almost suicidal.
Firestarter struggling to light the fire
Thus, since the success of That, many tried to ride the popularity of King and a new wave of film adaptations sprung up, all of which hit a wall. Among them, Simetierrein 2019, only picked up $54 million on American soil, less than the first film released in 1989, excluding inflation, but also Doctor Sleep who was a big flop despite featuring Flanagan directing and Ewan McGregor casting, only grossing $31 million at home.
And despite Blumhouse Production’s expectations, Firestarter was no exception to the rule. The film directed by Keith Thomas only raised $3.8 million in its first weekend of operation in the United States, proof that the presence of Zac Efron is no longer a guarantee of popular success. The novel he adapts, charliepublished in 1980 by the one who needs no further introduction, had already been adapted in 1984, Firestarter (Charlie), directed by Mark L. Lester with young Drew Barrymore. Amassing only $17 million on American soil after four short weeks of operation, excluding inflation, this first film was therefore already a big flop.
Zac Efron who wants to break everything
Firestarter proves several things. First, add to its cast the actress of the last successful adaptation, in this case the young Ryan Kiera Armstrong that we saw in It: Chapter 2, did not attract the public. Second, making a new movie when the first one already flopped, shot in the foot, and third, the golden age of King adaptations seems well and truly over (or at least, always so complicated to carry out). Indeed, the time of shining seems far, far away.
However, there was a time when Carpenter, Cronenberg and Rob Reiner tackled the King’s worksspawning cult films like Christina, recently re-released on Blu-ray, and Misery for which Kathy Bates had even received the Oscar for best actress. Despite these critical and popular successes, the latest film adaptations of Stephen King’s works seem to be in bad shape and Firestarter does not seem poised to rekindle the flame.
In France, the film will arrive in theaters on June 1, 2022., therefore remains to be seen whether its release in France will be successful or will confirm the total flop.