The Shining Prequel Didn’t Happen For A Depressing Reason

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The Shining prequel film never came to fruition because of Doctor Sleep’s disappointing box office returns.

By Joshua Jones
| Published

Doctor Sleep director Mike Flanagan recently revealed why his Stephen King Shining prequel never happened. Flanagan took to social media and responded to a fan-made poster of a hypothetical Hallorann film. While the director admitted that the film was “close” to happening, it ultimately was the disappointing box office numbers of Doctor Sleep that caused the studio to scrap the picture.

It was reported last year that a Shining spinoff series, Overlook, was canceled after being set to premiere on HBO Max. Deadline reported that the spinoff wasn’t a good match with the content on HBO Max. The report also mentioned that Bad Robot was shopping the series around and called Netflix a “likely destination.”

While it appears no content from The Shining may be coming our way, at least Mike Flanagan can say he made Doctor Sleep. Sadly, the film wasn’t a box office success as it only managed to make $72 million worldwide on a $45-$55 million budget. In comparison, Stephen King’s other recent film adaptation, Pet Sematary, pulled in $113 million on a $21 million budget.

Regardless, it seems fans may be ready to move past The Shining and dive into a new Stephen King adaptation. On September 15th, Deadline reported that King’s latest novel Fairy Tale was already getting adapted for the screen. Director Paul Greengrass is reportedly behind the helm.

And to be fair, The Shining sequel from Mike Flanagan isn’t the only film to tank at the box office. The Shawshank Redemption only managed to pull in $16 million at the box office, failing to recoup its $25 million budget. Despite being a box office bomb, it’s still considered one of today’s great films.

Ewan McGregor in Doctor Sleep (2019)

Mike Flanagan’s next outing in The Shining world isn’t even the most recent Stephen King project to run into problems. Warner Bros. Discovery’s reshuffling of release dates meant that Salem’s Lot was no longer on the calendar. The studio cited the pandemic as a reason for the film’s delay.

One has to wonder if Stephen King recently testifying on behalf of the Justice Department under the current Biden administration has something to do with all of these delays. The Shining author was involved in an anti-trust lawsuit against publishing house Penguin Random House. King stated that “consolidation is bad for competition.”

Whatever the case, it appears Mike Fanaglan’s take on The Shining character Dick Hallorann will never see the light of day. For those unaware, Hallorann is the head chief of the famous Overlook Hotel who meets with Danny Torrance in the film. Hollorann appeared briefly in Fanaglan’s Doctor Sleep to help guide an older Danny.

Although Fanaglan’s Shining prequel may be stuck on the shelves, at least one of the props for The Shining sold for an incredibly huge amount of money. The infamous axe wielded by Jack Nicholson’s character sold for $175,000 at the GottaHaveRockandRoll auction house. Fans may remember the axe used in the iconic “Here’s Johnny” scene.

Regardless of what happens with The Shining prequel future, at least The Shining continues to be one of the most celebrated horror films in history. Perhaps someday Mike Flanagan will be able to tell his Dick Hallorann story.