Filmmaker James Wan says he originally intended to called the hit horror film The Conjuring from 2013 The Warren Files. Annabelle: Creation, the latest film in The Conjuring universe, is making its debut in theaters this weekend, and by all indications, it looks to be a huge moneymaker like the three stories before it.
Telling the origins story of a demonically-possessed vintage doll, Annabelle: Creation's "main character" was introduced in The Conjuring; the film's opening scenes told how real-life demonologists Ed and Lorraine Warren (Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga) came into possession of the malevolent plaything and eventually encased it in glass in their occult museum.
And while the scenes with the creepy doll (based on a real-life incident) merely kicked off The Conjuring before the film moved on to its main narrative, the impact of the twisted toy story was impactful enough for The Conjuring director Wan and Warner Bros. to produce the spinoff film. Annabelle made an astonishing $256.8 million globally against a $6.5 million budget, throwing the door wide open for a follow-up story, which in this case is framed as a prequel.
Since all roads from The Conjuring, its hit sequel The Conjuring 2, Annabelle, and Annabelle: Creation lead back to Ed and Lorraine Warren, it shouldn't come as a huge surprise that Wan had more of an all-encompassing name for the first film in the cinematic universe - The Warren Files. In an interview with THR, Wan says:
"Very early on, I wanted to call the Conjuring films The Warren Files. And so that was going to be a more encompassing sort of umbrella name for this whole world. We didn't end up going with that title, obviously, but I guess that spirit has always sort of lingered around."
While Wan didn't explain exactly why he ended up going with The Conjuring over The Warren Files, it was likely a decision made to better hint at the film's underlying horror; the final title definitely suggests a scarier film.
Ultimately, The Conjuring, as box office numbers proved (globally it scared up $318 million in ticket sales against a $20 million budget), did quite fine with its replacement title, and Annabelle and The Conjuring 2 effectively solidified the foundation that has come to be known as The Conjuring Universe with similarly told tales that all originate from Ed and Lorraine Warren's case files.
As well as planned spinoffs for characters like The Nun and The Crooked Man on the way, The Conjuring 3 is in development, which will bring viewers back to the Warren files for what is sure to be another frightening look into the couple's remarkable encounters.
- Annabelle: Creation (2017) release date: Aug 11, 2017
- The Nun (2018) release date: Sep 07, 2018