'The Shining' Prequel Was Scrapped Because Of 'Doctor Sleep's Poor Box Office Performance

Mike Flanagan's Doctor Sleep underperformed, earning $72 million against a reported budget between $45 million and $55 million.

Cover Image Credits: Twitter | Doctorsleepfilm

Doctor Sleep director Mike Flanagan revealed that The Shining's prequel will not be happening owing to Doctor Sleep's poor performance at the box office.

Flanagan's Doctor Sleep underperformed, earning $72 million against a reported budget between $45 million and $55 million. The film’s financial underperformance was even more surprising because it was backed by solid reviews. Furthermore, it arrived amidst renewed interest in Stephen King’s work after the blockbuster success of W.B’s own It adaptations.


Responding to a fan-made poster of the unmade movie, Flanagan tweeted, “We were so close. I’ll always regret this didn’t happen.” When asked by one user why the prequel wasn’t going to be made, 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.”  The prequel would have revolved around the telepathic character Dick Hallorann, played by Scatman Crothers in The Shining and by Carl Lumbly in Doctor Sleep.


Doctor Sleep, based on Stephen King’s novel of the same name and starring Ewan McGregor as an older Danny Torrance, opened in theaters in October 2019 to mixed reviews but disappointing box office numbers. 

Flanagan revealed in 2020 that his second The Shining movie was supposed to go into development right after he wrapped up Doctor Sleep, telling the ReelBlend podcast (via Collider), “We actually had quite a bit worked out for that one. That was meant to be the thing I went right into off of Doctor Sleep. … It was very much its own [story]. I don't want to spoil anything. At the same time, I'm like, ‘Hmmm, maybe if this doesn't happen, it'd be fun to talk about it.’ I'd be happy to come back. I'd be honored to come back. Hallorann was always more about Dick as a younger man learning about the shining."


"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. But I don’t know. I don’t know what we would do with it. I love it, though. And it was something we were real excited about. So I hope there’s a new life for it out there somewhere.” he added.

The news is a big bummer for many, and sadly since Warner Bros. owns the rights, Flanagan can’t shop the idea elsewhere.