Acclaimed horror filmmaker, Mike Flanagan explained on his Twitter account yesterday why the planned follow-up to his 2019 The Shining sequel, Doctor Sleep, is no longer happening. The latter drama’s writer-director said the project’s dismal box office performance is the main reason why Warner Bros. decided not to proceed with a prequel to Stanley Kubrick’s 1980 classic psychological horror movie.
The Shining‘s prequel was set to focus on the character of Dick Hallorann, Variety is reporting. The character was played by Scatman Crothers in the original film, and by Carl Lumbly in Doctor Sleep.
“We were so close,” Flanagan wrote on Twitter about getting the The Shining prequel movie made. “I’ll always regret this didn’t happen.”
The filmmaker also shared a fan-made poster for the scrapped The Shining prequel. When asked by another fan why his Doctor Sleep follow-up 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.”
Doctor Sleep, which is based on Stephen King’s 2013 novel of the same name, starred Ewan McGregor as an older version of Danny Torrance. The drama opened in theaters in October 2019 to mixed reviews and disappointing box office numbers.
The movie opened to only $14 million at the domestic box office. Its final gross only tallied $31 million, far below its reported $45 million production budget. The film went on to only earn $72 million at the worldwide box office.
Flanagan revealed last year that his second The Shining follow-up was scheduled to go into development right after he wrapped Doctor Sleep. He told the ReelBlend podcast (via Collider), “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,” the filmmaker added.
Flanagan’s planned Dick Halloran prequel isn’t the only Shining-related project that was cancelled after Doctor Sleep failed to live up to expectations at the box office. A long-in-the-works television series set at the Overlook Hotel was initially set to move forward as an HBO Max original project, but was officially dropped last year.