On paper, Doctor Sleep looked like a sure fire hit for Warner Bros… a sequel to one of the most acclaimed horror movies of all time in The Shining, released during a Stephen King renaissance which had seen Warner and New Line’s two-part It adaptation grossing a combined $1.163 billion at the global box office.
However, the reality proved far different, with the Mike Flanagan-helmed Doctor Sleep debuting to just $14.1 million at the North American box office last weekend (around half of tracking estimates).
The film’s underpeformance certainly proved a shock – not least to Warner Bros., with THR revealing 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.”
One would have to imagine that Hallorann is no longer a priority for Warners, given that analysts are now predicting that Doctor Sleep will lose upwards of $20 million – generating around $149 million once the dust settles on its theatrical run, along with revenues from home entertainment, streaming and TV releases, against a total cost of $171 million including marketing and distribution.
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“Doctor Sleep” continues the story of Danny Torrance, 40 years after his terrifying stay at the Overlook Hotel in The Shining. Ewan McGregor, Rebecca Ferguson and newcomer Kyliegh Curran star in the supernatural thriller, directed by Mike Flanagan, from his own screenplay based upon the novel by Stephen King.
Still irrevocably scarred by the trauma he endured as a child at the Overlook, Dan Torrance has fought to find some semblance of peace. But that peace is shattered when he encounters Abra, a courageous teenager with her own powerful extrasensory gift, known as the “shine.” Instinctively recognizing that Dan shares her power, Abra has sought him out, desperate for his help against the merciless Rose the Hat and her followers, The True Knot, who feed off the shine of innocents in their quest for immortality.
Forming an unlikely alliance, Dan and Abra engage in a brutal life-or-death battle with Rose. Abra’s innocence and fearless embrace of her shine compel Dan to call upon his own powers as never before—at once facing his fears and reawakening the ghosts of the past.
Doctor Sleep features a cast that also includes Ewan McGregor, Kyliegh Curran, Carl Lumbly, Zahn McClarnon, Emily Alyn Lind, Bruce Greenwood, Jocelin Donahue, Alex Essoe and Cliff Curtis.