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Why did DOCTOR SLEEP fizzle?

This one I would not have expected. Projected to open to a relatively paltry 25 million, it instead only raked in 14 million. With a budget of 50 million, that’s quite an underperformance. Why? Stephen King remakes are all the rage right now. Both of the IT movies were huge hits. PET SEMATARY was a big hit. Why would the sequel to THE SHINING, arguably the best movie ever made based on a Stephen King novel, not have likewise proven successful? I can only hazard a guess or two. Primarily, I think we can, again, chalk this one up to audience stupidity. To be more precise, I don’t think a large percentage of the potential audience for this one knew that DOCTOR SLEEP was a sequel to THE SHINING. I honestly think, if they’d called the movie THE SHINING 2, it would have done a lot better.

The same thing is true of the new TERMINATOR: DARK FATE movie. I think it underperformed at the box office because the last Terminator movie was so lousy and the average moviegoer isn’t educated enough about the films he goes to see to have known to expect this latest Terminator flick, with Linda Hamilton and series creator James Cameron back at the helm, to be better.

Should the studio have changed the title of DOCTOR SLEEP? Would Stephen King have even let them? And will the dismal box office net for the film cool off the amour for Stephen King at the cinema houses? Probably not, but it sure won’t help, either. At least that SALEM’S LOT remake is already underway.

TheCheezman • November 15, 2019

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  1. Ty Moore November 23, 2019 - 1:08 am Reply

    I agree that it’s baffling as to why Doctor Sleep failed at the box office. It’s an excellent film and the trailers made it clear that it was essentially “The Shining 2”. I had never read the novelization, but the first trailer had me hooked and I wasn’t disappointed. Seeing it twice has convinced me it’s the best horror film of the year and a shame it is going to be the least earning of them all.

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