James Wan and David F. Sandberg are filmmakers currently at the centre of two highly anticipated, relatively new cinematic universes – the individual nature of which could not be more different from each other. One is the DC Extended Universe – with Wan at the helm of Aquaman, and David F. Sandberg set to direct Shazam! – and the other is The Conjuring universe, which has just unleashed Annabelle: Creation into cinemas.
The main difference between the two is that the latter is an entirely original creative property. There are no comic books upon which these films are based – although there are some allegedly “true stories.” That this horror film universe is on track to become one of the more profitable in recent history means that James Wan, who directed the first two, core Conjuring movies, is clearly onto something in terms of compelling narrative.
For further proof of that, you need only look at the latest box office numbers for both Creation and the franchise as a whole. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Sandberg’s prequel, which hit theatres last week, has already taken in $160 million worldwide – off a $15 million budget, might we add. While that’s damn impressive in and of itself, what’s even more incredible is that The Conjuring franchise (comprised of only four films at the moment), now sits at a global haul of $1 billion.
Given that these movies are relatively cheap to produce, with The Conjuring 2 being the most expensive at $40 million, that makes this a mighty profitable venture for the studio and with more spinoffs already in the works in the form of The Nun and The Crooked Man, their cinematic universe is only going to get even bigger and more lucrative. And honestly, that’s refreshing to see, given that so much of Hollywood is dominated by superheroes and supervillains at the moment.
There’s nothing wrong with what Marvel and DC are currently doing, of course, but those films certainly aren’t for everyone and this burgeoning new franchise has proven that you don’t need to base something off a comic book for it to spawn a successful cinematic universe. Nor do you need a $100 million plus budget attached to it.
Annabelle: Creation is now playing in theatres everywhere, and for those eager for more from The Conjuring franchise, you can look forward to The Nun, which will be the next instalment to arrive and is set for release on July 13th, 2018.