While the horror genre tree has many branches, perhaps the most successful of this decade is the ghost/haunting film. Movies like Paranormal Activity, The Conjuring, and Insidious really hit a sweet spot for Hollywood, costing little to make but absolutely raking in the bucks at the box office. This was also true for 2014's Annabelle, a spin-off of The Conjuring starring the demonic haunted doll that managed to capture the attention of audiences during her short supporting role in the original film.
Annabelle made an astounding $256 million at the worldwide box office on a $6.5 million budget, and a sequel seemed almost inevitable at that profit margin. Sure enough, it seems that Annabelle 2 is already in active development at Warner Bros.
The Tracking Board reports that Warner Bros. is bringing back Annabelle screenwriter Gary Dauberman to pen her sequel, although it looks like original director John Leonetti might not be returning. His status is apparently not 100% certain yet, but Warner Bros. has reportedly begun a search for his potential replacement just in case.
Of course, one wonders whether the world at large really wants a sequel to Annabelle in the first place. Profits notwithstanding, Annabelle was critically ravaged, and even many who liked it admitted that the film fell far short of the horrific heights hit by The Conjuring.
To be fair, the blame for Annabelle's relative mediocrity might not entirely fall at the feet of Dauberman and Leonetti. Following the surprisingly huge success of The Conjuring, Annabelle was rushed into production, going from first draft of the script to premiering in theaters in just over a year. That kind of hurried development rarely works out well for a movie, and is all too commonplace in horror especially. Not that the practice is anything new to the genre; many of the worst slasher sequels of the 80s and 90s were released barely a year after their predecessor.
The above report doesn't specify anything about a planned release date for Annabelle 2, but Warner Bros would be wise to avoid making the same mistakes that were made with Annabelle this time around. Though it made a lot of money, word of mouth has not been kind to Annabelle, and the horror faithful may choose not to return to a franchise that's already burned them once. That said, horror fans are also a forgiving lot - just ask Chucky or the Children of the Corn. If Warner Bros. takes the time to make Annabelle 2 great, the money will probably follow.
Annabelle 2 is in development, and has no current release date.
Source: The Tracking Board