Doctor Sleep

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    [Total: 25 Average: 2.9]
  • Directed By: Mike Flanagan
  • Written By: Mike Flanagan
  • Release Date: November 8, 2019
  • Domestic Distributor: Warner Bros
  • Cast: Ewan McGregor, Rebecca Ferguson, Kyliegh Curran

Box Office Info:
Budget: $47 millionFinanced by: Warner Bros
Domestic Box Office: Still in releaseOverseas Box Office: Still in release

doctor sleep 2019
In 2012, Warner Bros began early development on a prequel to The Shining called Overlook Hotel.  This project was to be based off of a prologue in the Shining novel called Before the Play, which Stephen King cut before the book’s publication in 1977.  During this period, King was writing a sequel to The Shining called Doctor Sleep and stated that WB might not even own the rights to the decades old excised prologue.  After the publication of Doctor Sleep in 2013, WB also began development on the sequel and the prequel was still gestating as well.

Both projects remained in development hell for 4 years, until WB scored a massive hit with Stephen King’s It (2017) and then fast tracked Doctor Sleep to production.  In January 2018, Mike Flanagan was hired to direct and re-write Akiva Goldsman’s screenplay.  The budget for Doctor Sleep was $47 million after tax rebates and WB fully financed.

WB first dated Doctor Sleep for January 24, 2020 but the studio became very high on the movie and moved it forward to November 8, 2019.  Expecting a blockbuster, WB Chairman Toby Emmerich hired Flanagan to continue work on another Shining sequel/spinoff called Hallorann.

In the weeks up to release, buzz was strong and the reviews that eventually posted were lukewarm.  The picture was commercially handicapped by a bloated 2 1/2 hour runtime, though that did not severely impact the box office for the even longer It: Chapter 2 released in September.  All signs were still pointing to Doctor Sleep becoming a major hit.  It bowed against Midway, Last Christmas and Playing With Fire.

Tracking was pointing to a $30M opening, so it became quite the surprise that Doctor Sleep will close its domestic run with only $30M.  The picture tanked opening weekend with $14,114,124 — placing #2 for the slow frame led by Midway.  The film played out like standard genre fare at the box office and was heavily front loaded and sank 57.4% to $6,006,949 in its second session. It plummeted 69.5% to $1,834,377 in its third weekend.  More after the stateside run ends…

Whether it was younger audiences lack of awareness of the original Kubrick picture, or just a complete rejection of the concept of continuing a classic property — Doctor Sleep has also seen poor attendance around the globe.  The overseas run is nearly exhausted and every market has already opened.  The offshore numbers are currently at $36.5M.  The worldwide numbers will likely stall around $70M.  WB would see returned about $38.5M after theaters take their percentage of the gross — which would leave at least $40M worth of global P&A coin in the red and the budget untouched by the theatrical receipts.

4 Comments

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  1. The Shining is known among the college crowd enough, but Doctor Sleep didn’t appeal to them in the same way other films like It did.

  2. I was saddened by the failure of ‘Doctor Sleep’ as I consider it one of the best horror films of 2019. It’s a shame it was snubbed by the public. I believe one of the reasons for the failure was lack of marketing, because here in Brazil , I hardly saw any ads for this movie.

  3. I don’t usually feel bad when a movie bombs. But this is one of those rare, different occasions. Enjoyed every minute of the film, and deserved far better..

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