Warner Bros.-New Line's horror pic has the potential to scare up summer box office

In a major vote of confidence this past fall, Warner Bros. elected to move director James Wan’s “The Conjuring” from January to the tentpole battleground of July 19 after test screening scores came back through the roof.

This creepy new trailer might explain why.

Based on a true story, New Line’s “The Conjuring” centers on a family who claimed they “lived among the dead” in the 1970s as spirits both friendly and sinister inhabited their Rhode Island farmhouse. Vera Farmiga and Patrick Wilson star in the film.

More eye-popping than the pic’s premise though, is “The Conjuring’s” shot of becoming something of an anomaly in the horror genre : a summer hit.

With one blockbuster after another, midsummer is often a B.O. killer for ghoulish fare, but Wan, the mastermind behind several low-budget horror hits like “Saw” and “Insidious,” has a proven track record for profit margins, not to mention auds’ demand.

“New Line and Warner Bros. have been so supportive,” Wan recently told Variety. “It’s a testament to their support that they’re willing to take a chance and open it next summer right in the heart of big films.”

On July 19, “The Conjuring” will square up against two major releases: DreamWorks Animation’s “Turbo” and Universal’s 3D actioner “R.I.P.D.,” starring Ryan Reynolds.

The $13 million “Conjuring”, formerly titled “The Warren Files,” co-stars Lili Taylor and Ron Livingston.

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