‘Doctor Sleep’ Is Latest Stephen King Movie To Receive Release Date As Studios Chase ‘It’ Success Into 2020

Another Stephen King property has received an official release date. Doctor Sleep – a direct sequel to The Shining – is set for release on January 24, 2020, and will be helmed by director Mike Flanagan (Oculus, Ouija: Origin of Evil). According to Box Office Mojo, Doctor Sleep’s release confirmation comes amid a bit of a shakeup for other upcoming Warner Bros. releases, including a one year delay of The Six Billion Dollar Man and a two-month pushback for Godzilla: King of Monsters.

In 1980, influential director Stanley Kubrick (A Clockwork Orange, Full Metal Jacket) released his adaptation of The Shining, opening initially to mixed reviews and the scorn of Stephen King himself. Since that time, the film boasts an iconic performance by Jack Nicholson and has grown to become regarded as one of the greatest horror movies of all time by various outlets, including Rolling Stone. The Shining, however, remains an outlier, as film and TV adaptations of King’s work have grown to become synonymous with a generally negative critical reception and modest box office performance. Only 11 out of 60 Stephen King adaptations have received the “Certified Fresh” label from movie review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes.

In 2017 Warner Bros. released It, outdoing a 1990 made-for-tv mini-series of the same name, both in terms of critical reception and profitability. While the mini-series claims a memorable performance from Tim Curry, It (2017), boasts an 85 percent on Rotten Tomatoes, as well as a worldwide box office total of over $700 million. Now the single highest grossing horror movie of all time, It seems to have set a new precedent.

Author Stephen King and the late horror director Wes Craven (A Nightmare on Elm Street) pose at New York Comic Con in 2007.

After dethroning M. Night Shyamalan’s 1999 Oscar-nominated film The Sixth Sense as the quintessential horror movie to outperform, It has been the defibrillating jolt of energy Stephen King fans have been waiting for. Prospects of big-budget adaptations for the author’s printed works, once considered unlikely, are becoming a priority for movie studios. In 2019, audiences are set to receive Paramount Pictures’ second attempt at capturing the horror of the writer’s novel Pet Sematary, as well as the Warner Bros. sequel, It: Chapter Two. Doctor Sleep locks down the trend of major film studio Stephen King adaptations as a certainty going all the way into 2020. Audiences and critics alike wonder which property will get the next Hollywood treatment.

As rumors for new film adaptations of The Stand, Hearts in Atlantis, and Firestarter continue to circulate, it’s becoming clear that Stephen King books are a new gold rush amid film production companies.

Which Stephen King property will be the next to get a release date?