— James Wan (@creepypuppet) January 6, 2016
Made for a modest $20 million budget, it's fairly safe to say that Hollywood at large never really saw the massive success of James Wan-directed 2013 ghost flick The Conjuring coming. Based on a purportedly true case investigated by the (in)famous husband and wife paranormal investigation team of Ed and Lorraine Warren (Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga) in the early 1970s, The Conjuring proved that whether a fright flick works is a lot more about the execution than the originality of the concept. The film didn't do much of anything that hadn't been done in dozens of haunting movies before it, but everything it did do was pulled off exceedingly well. Critics enjoyed it, and audiences seemingly felt the same way, earning The Conjuring a gargantuan $318 million at the worldwide box office.
When a film makes that kind of enormous profit, a sequel becomes all but inevitable, and The Conjuring 2 was given the greenlight mere months after the original's theatrical run ended. Wanting to strike while the iron was hot, Warner Bros. even rushed a spinoff film about Annabelle the demonic doll into production, presuming that audiences' love of her brief appearance in The Conjuring would be enough to sustain a solo film. For the most part the studio was right, as Annabelle once again broke the box office bank, although to say the follow-up was much less warmly received by critics would be an understatement. Thankfully, The Conjuring 2 hasn't suffered from a similarly rushed fate, and fans have been given little reason to expect that the sequel will disappoint.
Perhaps the main factor that suggests a better prognosis for the quality of The Conjuring 2 than Annabelle is the welcome return of now-superstar director Wan. Following the release of The Conjuring -- and later Insidious: Chapter 2 the same year -- Wan made it known that he intended to step away from horror and direct more mainstream fare. He managed to do that via the hit 2015 sequel Furious 7, but it would appear that the lure of continuing The Conjuring franchise was too much to resist, even for a filmmaker who says he never wanted to be pigeonholed into the horror genre.
With The Conjuring 2's summer release date drawing ever closer, today brought with it two brand new images from the film, as well as a short teaser comprised of clips from the first installment. According to James Wan's Twitter, a full-length trailer for the sequel will arrive tomorrow. The new photos come courtesy of Yahoo Movies.
The Conjuring 2 is based on the well-known Enfield Poltergeist incident, another case investigated by the Warrens during the '70s, this time in the titular London borough. The alleged haunting victims in this case were a single mother and her four children, although as with many of the Warrens' cases, researchers later claimed to have evidence that some of the phenomena may have been faked. It's still unclear as of yet just how closely The Conjuring 2 will stick to the real-life account of events, as the first film took several liberties with the case it was based on. In the end though, moviegoers will almost certainly forgive any inaccuracies if the final product manages to terrify as often as did its predecessor.
The Conjuring 2: The Enfield Poltergeist hits theaters on June 10th, 2016.