The prequel to the 1980’s horror movie The Shining was axed because the sequel Doctor Sleep tanked at the box office, revealed director Mike Flanagan.
Doctor Sleep was released in theatres in 2019, where it grossed an underwhelming $72 million against a reported budget between $45 million and $55 million. The film’s financial underperformance was even more surprising because it arrived on the back of solid reviews, and renewed interest in Stephen King’s work after the blockbuster success of Warner Bros.’ own It adaptations, reports The Collider.
Flanagan took to social media and responded to a fan-made poster of a hypothetical Hallorann film. While the director admitted that the film was “close” to happening, it ultimately was the disappointing box office numbers of Doctor Sleep that caused the studio to scrap the picture.
In a tweet replying to fans, the director explained they were “so close” to making a prequel happen, but the studio “opted not to proceed.”
“Because of DOCTOR SLEEP’s box office performance, Warner Bros opted not to proceed with it. They control the rights, so that was that,” he tweeted.
This isn’t the first time that Flanagan has spoken about his Hallorann movie. In a 2020 appearance on the ReelBlend podcast, the filmmaker appeared to be cautiously optimistic about the project. He suggested that if the movie draws audiences on streaming and other non-theatrical platforms, there could still be hope. However, he also admitted that conversations about the film had “understandably cooled off”.
Doctor Sleep was based on the 2013 Stephen King novel of the same name, and it’s unlikely that the iconic author will be penning a proper The Shining prequel anytime soon.