‘Shining’ Prequel Canned at Warner Bros. Over Dismal ‘Dr. Sleep’ Numbers

Director Mike Flanagan says a prequel starring the Overlook Hotel’s psychic chef was canceled due to a poor “Dr. Sleep” showing

Horror fans desperate for more Dick Hallorann, the avuncular psychic in Stephen King’s classic The Shining, had their hearts crushed as if a burgundy-jacketed lunatic had just swung an axe into their chests when director Mike Flanagan revealed that his Hallorann-focused prequel is as dead as a corpse frozen in a topiary maze.

“We were so close,” Flanagan tweeted Monday about getting a follow-up made to his 2019 Shining sequel Doctor Sleep. “I’ll always regret this didn’t happen.”

He told one user that Warner Bros. had killed the project based on its predecessor’s poor ticket sales. “Because of ‘Doctor Sleep’s’ box office performance, Warner Bros. opted not to proceed with it,” Flanagan wrote. “They control the rights, so that was that.”

A reported $45 million production, Doctor Sleep opened to domestic box office sales of $14 million and peaked at $31 million, earning just $72 million worldwide.

Flanagan accompanied his baleful post about the sequel’s demise with a fan-made poster for a putative sequel titled ShineA Dick Hallorann Story, showing a full-length portrait of the saturnine, head-shaved head chef that Scatman Crothers played so indelibly in the Stanley Kubrick film—and who Carl Lumbly played less indelibly in Flanagan’s film, which faithfully adapted a sequel novel of the same title King published decades after The Shining.

Doctor Sleep explores the adult life of Danny Torrence, the psychic child protagonist of The Shining, played in the film by Ewan McGregor, a damaged man called to help a child beset by recognizably horrific visions. He’s guided in this quest by visits from the benign ghost of Dick Hallorann, the sole person who ever recognized in Danny a spectral sixth sense he calls “the shine.”

In 2020, Flanagan revealed that the Hallorann-focused prequel was meant to begin production right after Doctor Sleep had wrapped.

“Hallorann was always more about Dick as a younger man learning about the shining,” Flanagan told the ReelBlend podcast.“And the ‘Doctor Sleep’ novel tees up a prologue for it perfectly with the story of his grandmother and his grandfather.

He added: “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.”

That familiar hotel was also slated to star in the long-gestating original series The Overlook Hotel, before HBO Max officially pulled the plug on it last year.

“I don’t know what we would do with it,” Flanagan said of Halloran’s story in 2020. “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.”

For now, it remains a trace of itself, like when someone burns toast—something only people with shine can see.

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