Stephen King’s Net Worth In 2023 Shows Why He’s the King of Horror

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The man is so rich, it's scary.

Stephen King's net worth shouldn’t exactly shock you—not like one of his novels at least! The “King of Horror” has become one of the most prolific writers in modern history. In fact, you would be hard-pressed to name a more well-known or successful horror author out there.

In addition to the millions of books he’s sold, many of King’s novels have been turned into film and TV adaptations, earning him paydays along the way. With book sales topping 350 million worldwide and counting, we have to know—how much is Stephen King worth?

Here is everything you need to know about Stephen King’s net worth.

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How did Stephen King become famous?

It’s hard to think of a world where Stephen King wasn’t famous. Unless you’ve been living on a different planet, it probably won’t surprise you to find out that King is famous for being a horror novelist. In 1967, he sold his first professional short story to Startling Mystery Stories, a short called “The Glass Floor.”

He continued to sell short stories to make a living after he graduated from the University of Maine with a certificate to teach high school but failed to secure a position. In 1971, King did manage to find a position at Hampden Academy in Hampden, Maine, but he continued selling short stories in his free time.

King’s fourth novel, Carrie, was his first to be published when it was accepted by the publishing house Doubleday in 1973. Early on during the process of writing Carrie, King actually tossed the first three pages in the trash and had them fished out by his wife, Tabitha. She encouraged him to finish the story and offered her help with the novel’s female perspective.

Carrie went on to be a huge hit, making its mark in the horror world. It was even adapted into a now-classic movie in 1976. Following Carrie’s success, King successfully published Salem’s Lot in 1975, The Shining in 1977 and The Stand in 1978. With these novels, he secured himself as the master of horror as we know him today, a title he still holds as he continues to write new novels.

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What is Stephen King's net worth in 2023?

In 2023, according to Celebrity Net Worth, Stephen King has a net worth of $500 million. He has earned this fortune through his highly successful career as a novelist, in addition to his work as a screenwriter, TV producer, actor, writer, columnist and film director. King has successfully sold the rights for several of his books and stories to have them made into film and/or TV adaptations, which is also a lucrative source of income.

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How much does Stephen King make a year?

It has been reported that Stephen King earns as much as $20 million a year. Of course, this amount depends on the number of projects he has undertaken and their respective successes and paydays.

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How much does Stephen King make per book?

It is not known exactly how much Stephen King makes per book or has been paid as advances for publishing his books. It has been estimated that King earns between $1 and $3 for each of his book copies that are sold. As he has sold over 350 million copies of his books worldwide, it would make sense that he has such a large net worth.

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How much does Stephen King make per movie?

It has not become public knowledge how much Stephen King earns per movie or TV adaptation of his work. It has been said that many authors earn up to $50,000 a movie for adaptations of their world. However, because King is so well-known and so successful, it is likely he earns a lot more—potentially in the millions with a possible share of the backend profits in his contract.

King also has his “Dollar Baby” program where he sells the rights to his short stories for just $1—under a very specific set of circumstances. The program does not allow for distribution, for instance. Frank Darabont actually began his career by making a "Dollar Baby" movie out of The Shawshank Redemption.

Here is what King had to say about the program.

"Over the objections of my accountant, who saw all sorts of possible legal problems, I established a policy which still holds today. I will grant any student filmmaker the right to make a movie out of any short story I have written (not the novels, that would be ridiculous), so long as the film rights are still mine to assign," he said. "I ask them to sign a paper promising that no resulting film will be exhibited commercially without approval and that they send me a videotape of the finished work. For this one-time right, I ask a dollar. I have made the dollar deal, as I call it, over my accountant’s moans and head-clutching protests 16 or 17 times as of this writing.”

Stephen King holds the distinction of having had more books adapted or optioned than any other living author.

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How much did Stephen King make from Carrie?

Sissy Spacek in the movie "Carrie," based on the Stephen King novel of the same name<p>SILVER SCREEN COLLECTION/GETTY IMAGES</p>
Sissy Spacek in the movie "Carrie," based on the Stephen King novel of the same name


For his first published novel, Carrie, in 1973, King received an advance of $2,500. The paperback rights to the book later sold for $400,000, which was split between publishers, King and others. It is not known how much he was paid for the right to adapt the novel into a film. It is likely he earned anywhere from $50,000 to several hundreds of thousands for the film rights.

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How much did Stephen King make from The Shining?

Jack Nicholson in the movie adaptation of "The Shining"<p><a href="" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Archive Photos/Getty Images;elm:context_link;itc:0" class="link ">Archive Photos/Getty Images</a></p>
Jack Nicholson in the movie adaptation of "The Shining"

Archive Photos/Getty Images

It is not known publicly how much Stephen King was paid as an advance for the novel The Shining or how much he earned through the sales of the book. It’s also not known how much he was paid for the film rights, specifically for 1980’s The Shining. It is known that King was initially less than thrilled with the results of the Stanley Kubrick film adaptation of the work.

King has warmed to the movie, but still has his criticisms. In 2016, he said of the film, “I think The Shining is a beautiful film and it looks terrific and as I’ve said before, it’s like a big, beautiful Cadillac with no engine inside it. In that sense, when it opened, a lot of the reviews weren’t very favorable and I was one of those reviewers. I kept my mouth shut at the time, but I didn’t care for it much.”

Related: The Best and Worst Stephen King Movies, Ranked

How much did Stephen King make from The Shawshank Redemption?

Tim Robbins and Morgan Freeman in the movie "The Shawshank Redemption," based on Stephen King's short story "Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption"<p>Castle Rock Entertainment/Getty Images</p>
Tim Robbins and Morgan Freeman in the movie "The Shawshank Redemption," based on Stephen King's short story "Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption"

Castle Rock Entertainment/Getty Images

Stephen King sold the movie rights to his novella “Rita Hayworth and The Shawshank Redemption” under his “Dollar Baby” program for $1 to a then-unknown filmmaker named Frank Darabont, but that did not include distribution. It was adapted into 1994’s The Shawshank Redemption.

Darabont was offered $3 million for the film rights by Rob Reiner, but refused in order to make the film himself. King had agreed to give Darabont the film rights for $5,000, but King never cashed the check given to him by the fledgling filmmaker. Instead, several years after the film came out, King had it framed and sent to Darabont with a note inscribed, “In case you ever need bail money. Love, Steve.”

King said the adaptation, “When I first saw it, I realized he’d made not just one of the best movies ever done from my work, but a potential movie classic. That turned out to be the case.”

When all is said and done, it is not known how much King has made from the sales of the novella and/or the film adaptation.

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How much did Stephen King make from the book It?

It is not public knowledge how much Stephen King has made from his book It. The amount he was paid as an advance is not known, nor is the amount he has earned from the book’s sales. It is likely he received quite a sizable advance as he was already successful when he sold the novel. It went on to become the best-selling hardcover book of that year, 1986, in the United States. We can imagine he made millions from the book alone.

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How much did Stephen King make from It?

Bill Skarsgård as Pennywise the Clown in "It"<p>Warner Bros.</p>
Bill Skarsgård as Pennywise the Clown in "It"

Warner Bros.

As is said above, it is not known exactly how much Stephen King has earned from the book It. It is also not known how much he was paid for the TV rights for the famous It miniseries starring Tim Curry or the two recent film adaptations, 2017’s It and 2019’s It Chapter Two.

Both of the theatrically-released It movies were hits, with It earning over $700.3 million globally, making it the highest-grossing horror movie in history as of September 2022. It has been estimated King earned $60 million for the movie series, but this is unsubstantiated.

Next, find out Ozzy Osbourne's net worth.