James Wan is officially set to direct “The Conjuring 2.”
After yesterday's revelation that Warner Bros. and New Line had pushed back the fright sequel's release date from Oct. 23, 2015 to 2016 – leading to speculation that the change was a way of working with Wan's “Fast and Furious 7” schedule – the studio and Wan are now confirming his attachment to Deadline.
“It was during the editing of 'Fast & Furious 7' that my brain started sparking ideas for 'The Conjuring' sequel,” Wan said. “Taking a break from horror has allowed me to be creatively rejuvenated. I”m excited to tell the story of the next case-file of Ed & Lorraine Warren and expand on this world we”ve created.”
“We had a great experience with James on 'The Conjuring,' and we give him a lot of credit for that movie working so well,” said New Line president/COO Toby Emmerich. “He worked on the screenplay and came to the table with very inventive things that were not in the script and cast it fantastically well. Add to that his work in producing 'Annabelle,' and he is one of the masters of the genre and we”re happy to have him. You go through the list of possible directors of 'The Conjuring' sequel, and his is the name you stop at, which is why we tried so hard to make this work.”
“Annabelle,” of course, is the “Conjuring” spinoff that has so far grossed more than $160 million worldwide off a $6.5 million budget. “The Conjuring,” meanwhile, took in more than $318 million during its run last year.
In addition to confirmation of Wan's involvement as director, it's also been revealed that the Aussie filmmaker – whose other directing credits include the first “Saw” and “Insidious” Parts 1 and 2 – has made a first-look producing deal with New Line Cinema, the former mini-major and current Warner Bros. label that was behind “The Conjuring” and “Annabelle,” along with other recent efforts like “If I Stay” and “Tammy.” The deal will see him producing “modest budget films in the science fiction, horror, and comedy genres” through his Atomic Monster production shingle.
Added Emmerich: “New Line has always been a big believer in great filmmakers emerging from the horror genre, and he has the potential to grow like Frank Darabont did, from writing 'A Nightmare On Elm Street 3' to writing and directing 'The Shawshank Redemption.' James will make an important movie for New Line and Warner Bros or DC, and that is definitely part of the plan, and a reason for bringing him into the family. He”s the only overall director with a deal here, because we see him as a class of one.”
Wan is currently prepping “Fast and Furious 7” for release on April 3, 2015. Deadline notes that no deal has been reached with Wan to continue with the Universal action franchise at this time.
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