New ‘The Shining’ Prequel Axed Due to Poor ‘Doctor Sleep’ Box Office, Director Says

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A new prequel film based on “The Shining” has been axed by Warner Bros. Discovery due to the poor box office performance of 2019’s “Doctor Sleep,” according to the film’s director Mike Flanagan.

“We were SO CLOSE. I’ll always regret this didn’t happen,” Director Mike Flanagan tweeted.

When asked by a Twitter user why the movie wasn’t happening, Flanagan responded, “Because of DOCTOR SLEEP’s box office performance, Warner Bros opted not to proceed with it. They control the rights, so that was that.”

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In the sequel to “The Shining,” “Doctor Sleep” centered on Danny Torrance is in his 40s (played by Ewan McGregor) when he encounters the same demons his father did in the previous book and subsequent film adaptation. Stephen King published “Doctor Sleep” in 2013 as a sequel to his 1977 bestseller “The Shining.”

“Doctor Sleep” opened soft at the box office in October 2019 grossing only $14 million on opening weekend. The film would go on to gross only $31 million domestically and would tap out at $72 million worldwide. “Doctor Sleep” had a budget of $45 million. Not taking into account the cost of the film’s marketing, it is safe to say the film lost money.

The axed prequel film would have centered on Dick Hallorann, which was played by Scatman Crothers in “The Shining” and recently by Carl Lumbly in “Doctor Sleep.”

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Back in 2020, Flanagan described the potential prequel would entail on the ReelBlend podcast.

“Hallorann was always more about Dick as a younger man learning about the shining,” Flanagan said. “And the ‘Doctor Sleep’ novel tees up a prologue for it perfectly with the story of his grandmother and his grandfather. Which he tells a little bit of in this [movie]. But the idea was to open with him as Carl Lumbly, and then to find a way to go back into the past and kind of tell this other story that inevitably would, very much in the way ‘Doctor Sleep’ did, inevitably bring us back to a familiar hotel.”