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You might not have realized it, but David F. Sandberg's hit horror film Annabelle: Creation expanded an existing Conjuring Cinematic Universe. It's not quite Marvel, or even DC (with all of its numerous changes). But slowly and surely, Warner Bros. -- with the help of The Conjuring director James Wan -- has laid the groundwork for a series of films that are loosely connected... and that connection will grow through future films. Wan now says that these movies almost had a stronger connecting thread, starting with the first Conjuring movie, that would have appeared in their shared titles. He 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.
The "Warren" referenced in that Warren Files title would have been Ed (Patrick Wilson) and Lorraine Warren (Vera Farmiga), paranormal investigators whose real-life, extensive case files inspired two Conjuring movies so far, and will trigger a third one down the line. But the mentions of side characters in the Conjuring films also, to date, have inspired two Annabelle movies and will soon inspire The Nun and The Crooked Man stories.
But, as James Wan explains to The Hollywood Reporter, using The Conjuring as the over-arching umbrella title for this cinematic universe creates confusion when movies like Annabelle: Creation or The Nun don't use "Conjuring" anywhere in their title or marketing. Were there some audience members who went to see Annabelle: Creation who had no idea that it connected to the Conjuring universe? Probably. And was it even important for Annabelle: Creation to connect to the exploits of Ed and Lorraine Warren? Probably not.
Not every franchise needs a Cinematic Universe. But with James Wan's guiding hand, Warner Bros. could create a Family Tree of terrifying horror films that stem from the case files of the Warren duo. And they don't all have to be traditional Conjuring sequels. However, BoxOfficeMojo does back up the fact that putting the word "Conjuring" in the title helps sell tickets (so far), as the two Conjuring movies have outearned the two Annabelle movies, domestically and internationally.
We ran down all of the upcoming titles in the Conjuring Cinematic Universe, so scan this list and prepare your calendars for the upcoming chills. James Wan, meanwhile, will be taking his talents over to the DCEU, where he's helming Aquaman and giving some slack to new creative talents in the horror realm. Which movies in the series are you most looking forward to? Vote in our poll below!