Malignant, the new horror film from director James Wan, has now received a release date. This is a development sure to please fans of the genre , especially considering that Wan once claimed he was finished with directing horror for good.
Wan introduced audiences to one of contemporary cinema's most iconic horror villains, Billy the Puppet, via 2004's unlikely hit Saw. Since then, he's ascended to the level of "the new blockbuster king" with his work on The Conjuring franchise, the Insidious franchise, and the Aquaman franchise. Of course, he also worked on perhaps the most tragic installment of the Fast & Furious franchise, Fast & Furious 7. While an official plot synopsis isn't available, this new project seems likely to be based on Wan's own graphic novel, Malignant Man, which he created in 2012. He wrote the screen adaptation with his fiancée - and executive producer - Ingrid Bisu. Bisu is best known to US audiences for her turn in Toni Erdmann, which won an Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film in 2017, although she's not a part of Malignant's ensemble cast. Right now, Jake Abel, Michole Briana White, Annabelle Wallis, and Maddie Hasson have all been announced as attached to the movie, as well as Jacqueline McKenzie and George Young.
According to Deadline, Warner Bros Pictures has set Malignant's release date for August 14, 2020. It'll be made under the auspices of Wan's own Atomic Monster Productions, and received a California Film Commission Film & Television Tax Credit, so will be filmed in the Golden State. The article points out that this choice positions the film in direct competition at the box office with Escape Room 2, The One and Only Ivan, and Nobody.
So far, very little confirmed information about the film is available, but if Wan and Bisu's likely source material is any indication, Malignant will fall more on the supernatural side of the director's oeuvre, while also incorporating elements of science fiction and body horror. Based on the amount of potential source material, as well as Wan's proven track record of spawning and steering lucrative franchises, Malignant might have the potential to become the next Insidious or The Conjuring.
Even if Malignant doesn't take off as a franchise, and instead gets grouped with some of his less-well-received efforts like Dead Silence and Death Sentence, Wan will likely be just fine: He's already slated to helm the Aquaman sequel, and it's hard to imagine that not being a hit. One film that Malignant definitely won't be competing with at the multiplex is Chris Rock's Saw reboot. That's now headed to theaters in May of 2020, a few months ahead of Malignant's mid-summer release.