The term "cinematic universe" has become somewhat ubiquitous in recent years, but few franchises have truly mastered it yet. Sure, superhero films have it down to a science at this point, but there's one other major film series that has thrived as a cohesive unit when other franchises of a similar ilk have faltered: The Conjuring. The brainchild of horror master James Wan, the series started out as little more than an unexpected horror hit in 2013. However, it has since spawned an ever-expanding world of ghouls and supernatural terror, which will continue with the release of Annabelle: Creation on August 11 and continue with solo films for The Nun, as well as The Crooked Man.

With the theatrical release of Annabelle: Creation set for this weekend, and with the fourth entry in The Conjuring universe already garnering some great critical buzz, we think now is the right time to dive in and examine why this franchise is actually one of Hollywood's most promising cinematic landscapes. Check out our reasons, and give us your thoughts on this spooky franchise in the comments section below!

Annabelle

Low Budgets Allow Them To Take Risks

Conventional wisdom dictates that a movie with a higher budget will usually take a more traditional (and less risky) approach to its narrative. The reason for this is simple: a studio doesn't want to risk a nine-figure budget on a film that might not earn its money back. In the case of The Conjuring (and most horror movies, for that matter), the studio hasn't encountered that issue. Filmmakers can make these movies on shoestring budgets, which means each entry in the ever-expanding Conjuring universe can tinker with the genre, setting, visual style and level of graphic intensity. Even the original Annabelle (the worst reviewed entry in the franchise) made its meager $6.5 million budget back almost 40 times over. Horror lends itself to a smaller budget, and that creates an environment where risk and innovation are rewarded rather than punished.

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