Stephen King’s THE LONG WALK Movie Happening At Lionsgate

HUNGER GAMES director Francis Lawrence is directing the long-gestating adaptation of King’s 1979 novel.

By Ryan Scott · @RyanScottWrites · November 29, 2023, 7:04 PM EST
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Image courtesy of Stephen King

A long-gestating Stephen King adaptation finally seems to be coming together. The Long Walk, which has been in development in some form or another for literally decades, has found itself a director and, more importantly, a studio. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Lionsgate has picked up the rights to King’s 1979 novel, which he published under the alias Richard Bachman. And, given who is in the director’s chair, this studio makes a great deal of sense.

As we recently reported, Francis Lawrence is now set to direct the movie in question. Lawrence is best known as the filmmaker behind several of the blockbuster Hunger Games films, which were produced by Lionsgate. For those who may not be familiar with The Long Walk, there are some major parallels between that book and The Hunger Games, which is based on Suzanne Collins’ novel series of the same name. The synopsis for King’s book reads as follows:

“In the near future, where America has become a police state, one hundred boys are selected to enter an annual contest where the winner will be awarded whatever he wants for the rest of his life. The game is simple - maintain a steady walking pace of four miles per hour without stopping. Three warnings, and you're out - permanently.”


Basically, in both cases, you have a bunch of young people competing in a live-or-die scenario where only one winner gets to live and enjoy the spoils of it all in a dystopian future. It’s not hard to see why Lawrence is seen as the right man for the job, given that the Hunger Games movies have made several billion dollars and counting. It also makes sense that Lionsgate would want to partner with him again on a similar project, particularly one with King’s good name attached to it. There is a lot of commercial potential here. Joe Drake, chair of the Lionsgate Motion Picture Group, had this to say about it:

“When you have enjoyed the strong creative collaboration and success that we have had working with Francis, you want to repeat that experience as much as possible. We couldn’t be more excited about reuniting with him on The Long Walk. He is a truly unparalleled talent.”

King’s novel, as it exists, is pretty grim. There is a reason that so many directors - including George A. Romero (Night of the Living Dead) and Frank Darabont (The Shawshank Redemption) - have been unable to get it made over the years. Lawrence, meanwhile, might be able to bring a bit of a softer edge to the project that could make the material more palatable for the masses. Whether or not that’s the more interesting way to approach it cinematically remains to be seen, but it does feel like the most commercially viable way to get it across the finish line.

The Long Walk movie does not currently have a release date but stay tuned as this one finally seems to be coming together.