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Ewan McGregor in Doctor Sleep

Just as all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy, a disappointing opening weekend and lackluster box office makes Doctor Sleep a major money loser. After debuting well below expectations in its debut frame, coming in second to Roland Emmerich’s World War II film Midway, the sequel to Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining is looking like it could lose some serious money at the box office.

Doctor Sleep just debuted in theaters last weekend, but already things are looking bleak for it. According to Deadline, sources indicate that Mike Flanagan’s Stephen King adaptation could lose $20 million after all ancillaries. That’s assuming that Doctor Sleep hits $100 million worldwide at the box office over the course of its run. Anything under that and those losses begin to mount.

If Doctor Sleep finishes in the $80 million range worldwide, it would stand to lose around $30 million or more. Where Doctor Sleep will end up, it’s too early to say. The film starring Ewan McGregor debuted in second place at the domestic box office box office last weekend with $14.1 million, well below the $20-$30 million the film was tracking at. To date, Doctor Sleep has made almost $39.3 million worldwide, according to Box Office Mojo.

So Doctor Sleep will essentially have to double its current box office earnings if it is to lose only $30 million. The film has its work cut out for it in that regard, but the hope is obviously that it will do a bit better than that and mitigate those losses. Doctor Sleep does still have a few international markets yet to open in. The film is beginning its run in Poland and Norway on November 15, with Turkey and Japan still to come later in the month.

Doctor Sleep wasn’t a hugely expensive film, but it wasn’t a low-budget Blumhouse horror movie either. The sequel to the Stanley Kubrick classic rang up in the mid-$50 million range for production, but after the global P&A, residuals, participations and the home entertainment costs, it will total out to around $171 million. Unfortunately, the estimates figure that after the theatrical run and ancillary revenues from home entertainment, streaming, pay TV, etc., Doctor Sleep will only bring in $149 million. So yeah, nobody is getting a bonus for this one.

This is just the latest box office disappointment for Warner Bros. after The Goldfinch and Edward Norton’s Motherless Brooklyn. Fortunately for the studio, despite these duds, a couple of huge hits pay for them all. The tremendously profitable Joker and another Stephen King adaptation, IT Chapter Two, are set to deliver $600 million or more in profits after all ancillaries.

Still, even though WB can afford it, the performance of Doctor Sleep is a huge disappointment to say the least, and one that was completely unexpected and largely unexplained. The film was well reviewed and had a solid CinemaScore, indicating that those who saw it liked it. We’ve mused on why it bombed, and it could range from a long running time to marketing to a lack of name recognition for the film or its connection to The Shining, which itself may not have enough cultural cachet to get people into the theater.

Stephen King is hoping the disappointing box office won’t define Doctor Sleep, and with any luck the film will have a second life once people discover it on home video. Nevertheless, a $20-$30 million loss does not bode well for the sequel that was apparently being considered.

Doctor Sleep is now playing. Check out our 2019 Release Schedule to see what other movies are headed to theaters the rest of this year.

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