James Wan’s throwback supernatural horror film The Conjuring has spawned an unlikely franchise, including a successful sequel and the spinoff Annabelle series. All three films proved to be hugely profitable for Warner Bros. and New Line Cinema, grossing nearly $900 million worldwide. The upcoming sequel to Annabelle is directed by David F. Sandberg (Lights Out) and written by Annabelle scribe Gary Dauberman.
Annabelle 2 will focus more on the doll’s maker, who invites a nun and a group of young girls into his home after they are forced to leave an orphanage. That’s when the titular demonic doll begins to terrorize the maker’s family and their guests. The story of the evil doll’s creator is ostensibly the basis for the sequel’s new official title.
As first reported by Deadline, Warner Bros. announced at its CinemaCon session in Las Vegas on Wednesday that Annabelle 2 is now titled Annabelle: Creation. August 11 remains the sequel’s release date, which Warner Bros. moved back from May 19 back in December. Though Dauberman is returning after writing the original Annabelle, he’s scripting for a whole new cast including Miranda Otto, who is known for playing Eowyn in the Lord of the Rings franchise.
Little is known about the characters in Annabelle: Creation to this point. But the new cast also includes Stephanie Sigman (Narcos), Lulu Wilson (Ouija: Origin of Evil), and veteran character actor Anthony LaPaglia (Without A Trace). A Cure For Wellness composer Benjamin Wallfisch is also among the new faces in the Annabelle: Creation crew.
Annabelle: Creation has a lot of box office success to live up to, and with Sandberg at the helm it has a good chance of keeping the Conjuring franchise’s surprising success going strong. Sandberg’s Lights Out delivered the right kinds of scares for a film series like Annabelle, ratcheting up the tension and leaving a lasting impression while breathing fresh life into the supernatural horror subgenre. His talents have a good chance to serve Annabelle: Creation well.
Warner Bros. and New Line may not have to worry about Annabelle: Creation’s commercial prospects, but the sequel does have to overcome the first Annabelle’s relative disappointment for critics. While Annabelle did feature some effective scares for fans of the franchise, it lacked the freshness and pure visceral thrills that made The Conjuring such a big hit. The talent assembled for Annabelle: Creation gives hope that the franchise can rebound with the sequel – and continue to succeed at the box office.
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