Doctor Sleep was released in cinemas this past week to mostly positive reviews from critics. The film has a 74% on Rotten Tomatoes (average critic rating: 6.9/10). While I didn’t love the film myself — “This could’ve been a horror film of epic proportions, but instead, we’re left with a horror film of epic potential,” I said in my review — most people who watched it, seemed to like it a lot. The film has a 90% audience score on Rotten Tomatoes as well as a B+ Cinemascore.
Unfortunately, it looks like not many people actually went out and saw it. The film grossed a shocking $US 14 million in North America and $US 20 million outside of North America, bringing its global cume to a disappointing $US 34 million, which is $US 10 million short of its production budget. Weird, considering how well horror flicks, especially the ones to come out of big studios, do at the box office, regardless of how they’re reviewed. In 2019, Pet Sematary grossed $US 24 million opening weekend in North America, while Jordan Peele’s Us and Andy Muschietti’s It: Chapter Two smashed it out of the park with US$ 70 million and $US 91 million respectively.
I think one of the reasons why it underperformed at the box office is because of the way it was marketed. Doctor Sleep was marketed as some sort of niche film for fans of The Shining as opposed to a haunting supernatural fantasy flick. I don’t think the general masses really cared about watching a sequel to a film that came out in the 80s. It brings back memories of Blade Runner 2049, another sequel to a film that came out in the 80s that crashed and burnt at the box office.
At this rate, I doubt Doctor Sleep will even cross the $US 80 million mark worldwide by the end of its run which would be a damn shame. While I don’t love the film, I definitely think it’s something worth checking out and one that horror junkies would definitely enjoy.