I’ve never understood those who thought Doctor Sleep, a sequel to Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining and an adaptation of Stephen King’s novel, would be a hit. Did Warner Bros. not see what happened with Blade Runner 2049, another sequel to a classic that appeals to a niche audience? Obviously they didn’t, and had already begun talks with director Mike Flanagan for a followup.
In a recent THR piece on Doctor Sleep‘s disappointing box office, it was revealed that a sequel was in the works with director Mike Flanagan, and we have some idea where the story might’ve gone…
Warners was so keen on Doctor Sleep that movie studio chief Toby Emmerich had already struck a deal with director Mike Flanagan and his Intrepid Pictures to script a sequel whose working title is Hallorann, drawn from the character who appears in both The Shining and Doctor Sleep.
Seriously, when studios go bust it’s because of bone-headed decisions like this. Doctor Sleep was NEVER going to be a hit. Sure, horror fans and those who love classic movies were looking forward to it, just as the sci-fi nuts turned out for Blade Runner 2049, but your average moviegoer, particularly the younger ones, could care less. Better to create an original property at a lower cost.
That said, a sequel would’ve been pretty interesting, especially one that likely would’ve followed the character Dick Hallorann, played by Scatman Crothers in The Shining and Carl Lumbly in Doctor Sleep. Hallorann was the cook at the Overlook Hotel, and one who also shared the “shining” gift. A mentor to Danny Torrance, he appears as a ghost in Doctor Sleep, and alludes to a troubled, abusive past that could be prime material for exploration. He also has ties to Stephen King’s It, and since both are under the Warner Bros. umbrella there’s some crossover potential.
However, a sequel is unlikely to happen. Doctor Sleep opened with a sad $14M and currently sits at just $35M worldwide. The budget wasn’t astronomical or anything, but it’s probably not going to break even and that’s a shame because not only is it a really good film that combines the best of King and Kubrick, but Flanagan could still do so much more.