While fans of “The Conjuring” will have to wait till October 2015 for a proper sequel, they might have one film to hold them over this year. Warner Bros and New Line have officially announced that the “Annabelle” spinoff movie will release this year.
If you saw “The Conjuring”, you might remember the Annabelle doll that plays a crucial role throughout the film. That doll will now be getting its own film directed by John R. Leonetti, cinematographer on “The Conjuring” and “Insidious 2”, and written by Gary Dauberman (“Swamp Devil”). Not much else is known about the film at this time except that it won’t be a prequel or sequel, it’ll simply be its own stand-alone film.
“Annabelle” is expected to hit theaters on October 3, 2014. Personally, I’m a bit apprehensive about this film. Given that it has no strong connections to “The Conjuring”, I’m worried that it’ll feel like a crash grab. I’m also concerned about some of the talent behind the camera. Leonetti doesn’t have a strong record when it comes to directing, having handled films like “Mortal Kombat: Annihilation” and “The Butterfly Effect 2.” I don’t have a problem with his cinematography, so the film will at least look good.
The other problem is the writer who has previously worked on B-movie projects like “Swamp Devil” and “Blood Monkey.” It just doesn’t seem like the kind of writer you bring on to work on the spinoff to your massively popular horror film. Still, plenty of people got their start working on strange projects. Look at Scott Derrickson (“Sinister”), he wrote and directed “Hellraiser: Inferno” and now he’s attached to “Doctor Strange.”
Though the only connection to “The Conjuring” is the doll, I have to wonder if this film presents a potential risk to the “The Conjuring 2.” If “Annabelle” bombs and doesn’t do well, will it tarnish people’s anticipation for a new “Conjuring” film? The general public won’t see something like “Annabelle” as a separate entity and will, instead, draw the connection to “The Conjuring.” If they decide that “Annabelle” isn’t worth watching, will that influence their decision to see the actual sequel? This whole project sounds like a risky proposition and I hope it pays off for WB, because I’d like to see if “The Conjuring” can grow as a franchise.