The new adaptation of Stephen King's horror novel Pet Sematary is set to premiere at the 2019 SXSW film festival. For the large part, the ongoing King-aissance has been good to the author's longtime fans (misfires like The Dark Tower aside). Movies like IT have hit it big with critics and general audiences in the past couple years, as have films like 1922 and Gerald's Game on Netflix, and the Mr. Mercedes TV series on Audience. Things won't be slowing down in 2019 either, between the impending arrival of films like Pet Sematary and IT: Chapter Two.
Just last week, in fact, Warner Bros. moved its Doctor Sleep adaptation - which is based on The Shining sequel novel by King - up to a November 2019 release date. That means there will be major Stephen King movies arriving throughout the year, beginning with the new Pet Sematary in April. As it turns out, those attending SXSW this year will have a chance to watch the new big screen version of King's infamous story a few weeks before it starts playing in wide release.
Variety is confirming that Pet Sematary will make its premiere as the closing night film at this year's SXSW festival on Sunday, March 17. The outlet has also learned that the James Wan-produced supernatural horror thriller The Curse of La Llorona (which opens late April) will make its debut at the festival alongside the latest Stephen King adaptation. As previously announced, the larger event will kick off with yet another anticipated horror project, in the form of Jordan Peele's Get Out followup, Us.
The new Pet Sematary retells the spooky tale of a family who move to rural Maine and discover their new home is located near a mysterious burial ground in the surrounding woods. It's fitting the film should debut at SXSW, seeing as the festival has become a popular venue for spring releases in recent years. In 2018, for example, John Krasinski's monster thriller A Quiet Place and Steven Spielberg's sci-fi adventure Ready Player One both screened at SXSW, ahead of their respective theatrical runs. Pet Sematary, Us, and La Lloronaaren't the only spring films using SXSW as a launchpad either, and will be joined at this year's iteration by movies like Harmony Korine's comedy The Beach Bum and Olivia Wilde's feature directing debut, Booksmart.
More than that, Paramount's decision to unveil Pet Sematary at SXSW suggests they're confident they have a winner on their hands. The studio did the same thing with A Quiet Place and their strategy paid off in spades, allowing the movie to generate enthusiastic early word of mouth ahead of its theatrical release and no doubt contributing to its bigger-than-expected box office opening, in the process. We'll have to wait and see if lightning strikes twice for Paramount, but the studio's clearly hopeful it will. Either way, this is encouraging news for King's fans.
- Pet Sematary (2019) release date: Apr 05, 2019
- The Curse of La Llorona (2019) release date: Apr 19, 2019