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Come at the King, you better not Mist: Stephen King fights for horror rights to iconic story

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Dec 6, 2018, 4:35 PM EST

Prolific horror author Stephen King has had another great year of writing and another great year of having that writing adapted for the screen. With Castle Rock, It: Chapter 2, and many, many more properties growing from the work of one of the genre’s masters, it seems almost impossible to keep track of them all — let alone who owns the rights to do what with which.

That could help explain the current trouble figuring out who exactly owns the rights to King’s 1980 story The Mist. The Mist had been turned into a 2007 movie and a 2017 TV show. The novella once had its rights owned by Harvey Weinstein’s old studio Weinstein Co., a division of which — Dimension Films — produced both the movie and TV series. But in the wake of its scandal-driven collapse and the purchase of many of its properties, King and Lantern Capital Partners are at odds about who came out with the tale.

According to The Wall Street Journal, a court filing by King’s lawyer argues that the rights to the novella reverted to King months before the deal with Lantern Capital Partners went through. In March of this year, Weinstein Co. was sold. The filing says that Lantern told King in October that the movie versions of The Mist and 1408 would not have their contracts assumed, but that it was going to hang onto the former’s TV rights.

Allegedly, it was to the Lantern’s lawyer’s “understanding that the parties were in discussion over The Mist TV rights,” per WSJ, but “there have been no discussions between the parties over The Mist TV rights.” The filing then claims that since a pilot did not air “by June 30, 2017,” King got his rights back.

However, The Mist TV show aired its pilot on Spike — on June 22, 2017. In fact, it even got two episodes in before June 30. While the series has since been canceled, it seems to have thrown a legal wrench into King’s quest to obtain the rights to the story back.