LOS ANGELES - From Canoe Jam - Stephen King's grand opus "The Stand" is finally getting the big-screen treatment.
Warner Bros. and CBS Films are teaming to adapt the novel, which in many ways set the bar for a generation of post-apocalyptic stories.
One of the biggest books of all time, "The Stand" is a story of good vs. evil after a virus wipes out most of the American population. While it features dozens of characters (such as the Trashcan Man and Mother Abigail) and overlapping story lines running over many years, the struggle boils down to a group of survivors fighting the Antichrist-like Randall Flagg.
The novel was originally published in 1978, but by the time it was rereleased in 1990 with King adding and revising portions of the story, it had achieved cult-like status.
Horror director George Romero and Warners separately tried in vain to launch a movie adaptation in the 1980s, and a toned-downed version was produced as a six-hour miniseries by ABC in 1994. In recent years, Marvel Comics has been adapting the story to great acclaim.
King's stories made for popular Hollywood adaptations in the 1980s and '90s, but that love seemed to lose steam in the past decade. But with Universal mounting an ambitious take on "The Dark Tower," and now "The Stand," King may be getting ready to return to the throne as the novelist the town loves the most.
The studios and producers will sit down with writers and directors in the coming weeks in an attempt to find the right take on the material. One thing to be determined is whether to attempt the adaptation in one or multiple movies. King will be involved in some capacity.
CBS has held the rights for many years but recently realized the best way to undertake the project was with a partner. Warners beat out Fox and Sony in a tight bidding war for the gig, and will handle worldwide marketing and distribution.
CBS, meanwhile, gets a chance to be involved in an ambitious big-budget tentpole with little downside. The company just released its fourth movie, "The Mechanic," which performed better than expected this weekend with an opening of $11.4 million.