Stephen and Tabitha King hosted a Bangor premiere of the 1984 adaptation of "Firestarter," with star Drew Barrymore and director Dino de Laurentiis in attendance. Credit: BDN File Photo

The trailer for the new movie adaptation of Stephen King’s horror classic “Firestarter” was released last week, and while the new film looks both intriguing and thrilling, it’s hard not to recall the special place that the original 1984 film has for Bangor.

The original adaptation, directed by Dino de Laurentiis and starring a 9-year-old Drew Barrymore as the pyrokinetic Charlie McGee, had its official premiere on May 9, 1984 in King’s adopted hometown of Bangor, at what was then known as the Bangor Cinema, and today is known as the Bangor Opera House.

Stephen and Tabitha King, always ardent supporters of various organizations in Bangor, hosted a screening, open to the public at $25 a ticket, to benefit Northeast COMBAT, a consumer protection organization. It was followed by a reception at the Bangor Civic Center, on the site of what is now known as the Cross Insurance Center.

Stephen and Tabitha King hosted a Bangor premiere of the 1984 adaptation of “Firestarter,” with star Drew Barrymore and director Dino de Laurentiis in attendance. Credit: BDN File Photo

Aside from the Kings, young star Barrymore and director de Laurentiis were in attendance, though fellow stars including Martin Sheen, George C. Scott and Heather Locklear did not make it to Bangor. Barrymore was decked out in a frilly red party dress, and there were tuxedos on the men, including Northeast COMBAT director John Supranovich, who posed for a Bangor Daily News photo in front of the Kings’ famous home on West Broadway.

According to an article that ran in the BDN the day after the premiere, national entertainment press, including reporters from People magazine, showed up, and during the reception the Kings were presented with a painting of their home by Maine artist Arthur Taylor.

Stephen King has a long history of hosting premieres of his films in Bangor, from “Firestarter” to Maine-shot movies like “Pet Sematary” and “Graveyard Shift,” to 2017’s mega-hit “IT,” which was held at Bangor Mall Cinemas.

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The new “Firestarter” adaptation, starring Zac Efron as Charlie McGee’s dad, Andy, and newcomer Ryan Kiera Armstrong as Charlie, is set to come out on May 13, almost exactly 38 years to the day after the original premiered in Bangor. It’s not known if there will be a Bangor premiere, though the King-owned local classic rock station WKIT 100.3 FM has hosted premieres of a number of different King films and TV shows at Bangor Mall Cinemas over the years, so keep your eyes peeled. 

Watch the newest “Firestarter” trailer:

Emily Burnham

Emily Burnham is a Maine native and proud Bangorian, covering business, the arts, restaurants and the culture and history of the Bangor region.