Director James Wan's 2013 horror film The Conjuring earned a lot of critical acclaim and took in $318 million worldwide on a $20 million budget, and a spinoff (titled Annabelle) has already released in theaters. The planned Conjuring sequel, however, hit a snag when it ran into legal issues earlier this year; cut to the present and New Line Cinema has pushed The Conjuring 2 back from its original October 2015 launch date and filled that spot with another, currently untitled horror film.
Conjuring 2 is being penned by The Conjuring scribes Carey and Chad Hayes; though they didn't appear in Annabelle, Vera Farmiga and Patrick Wilson are expected to reprise their roles as the Warrens for the next Conjuring installment (which may revolve around a pair of possessed sisters in 1970s England). The sequel currently does not have a director but, as THR notes in its report, the release date delay to an unspecified date in 2016 could allow for Wan to return as helmsman, after he wraps post-production on Fast & Furious 7.
Wan previously swore off making horror movies - at least, for a while. However, it's possible that after making the seventh Fast and the Furious - something that was all the greater a challenge due to Paul Walker's passing - Wan is ready to jump back into the low-budget horror movie pool, with his scary filmmaking batteries having been recharged (so to speak). The more experienced Wan would also be all the better equipped to deliver a Conjuring sequel that matches or exceeds the original movie in both the scares and character development departments.
... On the other hand, Wan might also prefer to just hand the Conjuring franchise reins off to someone else, much as he did with the upcoming Insidious: Chapter 3 (after he directed the first two Insidious films). Insidious: Chapter 3 is being directed by Leigh Whannell (writer and costar of Wan's Insidious movies) based on his own script, and below we have a gallery of new production images showing Whannell and his cast filming the supernatural horror sequel (click the images for the full-size versions).
Insidious: Chapter 3 takes place before the events depicted in the previous Insidious movies, as a still-living Elise (Lin Shaye) and her ghost-busting team (Angus Sampson and Leigh Whannell) must help a father (Dermot Mulroney) whose teenage daughter (Stefanie Scott) has been targeted by a dangerous supernatural entity from The Further.
Insidious: Chapter 2 producer designer Jennifer Spence is also working on Chapter 3, and it would as though she and Whannell aren't breaking from the aesthetic of the Insidious universe under Wan's direction (in terms of its gloomy atmosphere and overall unwelcoming look). That said, it remains to be seen if Whannell can deliver a creepy and unnerving story with Insidious: Chapter 3, though.
One would assume that Whannell, who's been collaborating with Wan for more than decade now, has over time picked up a few tricks about how to effectively stage jump scares and spooky set pieces for his directorial debut. As for The Conjuring 2, we just hope either Wan or an equally capable filmmaker is recruited to call the shots. We don't need another lackluster addition to the Conjuring franchise, after Annabelle.
Insidious: Chapter 3 opens in U.S. theaters on May 29th, 2015. The Conjuring 2 arrives in theaters in 2016.