You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

New Line Counts on ‘Conjuring’ to Raise Its Lagging B.O. Spirits

After box office failures of 'Incredible Burt Wonderstone,' 'Jack the Giant Killer,' shingle looks to rebound with exorcism film

Following the back-to-back box office failures of “The Incredible Burt Wonderstone” and “Jack the Giant Killer,” New Line Cinema is looking to rebound with a film that at first blush would seem to offer an unlikely shot at redemption — a midsummer horror title.

Yet buzz for its July 19 release “The Conjuring” appears to be promising — which is why New Line parent Warner Bros. wasn’t afraid to let its $19 million frightener swim with the costly summer blockbusters.

The studio had originally dated director James Wan’s demonic possession thriller for Jan. 25, but decided last fall to move it back to summer as a result of off-the-charts test screening results it received from audiences who rated the film either “excellent” or “very good.”

Set in Rhode Island in 1971, the story is based on the work of real-life paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren, portrayed by Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga, and their work in a house occupied by a family named the Perrons.

SEE MORE: Film Review: ‘The Conjuring

Reviews so far have been strong (87% “fresh” on Rotten Tomatoes) for this latest entry in the exorcism subgenre. Though no such pic has approached the $400 million-plus global gross of 1973’s “The Exorcist,” “The Exorcism of Emily Rose” (2005) scared up $140 million.

For New Line, “The Conjuring” marks a return to the company’s roots.

“Horror is very much a part of the DNA of New Line — ‘Nightmare on Elm Street,’ ‘Friday the 13th,’ ‘The Rite,’ and the ‘Final Destination’ films,” notes New Line president Toby Emmerich. Emmerich, who tends to eschew overstatement, says, “This is as good a horror movie as we’ve ever made. … We think it will have great playability.”

SEE MORE: James Wan Takes a Break From ‘Fast 7’ to Attend ‘The Conjuring’ Premiere

That assessment, of course, has opened the door to the question of building a franchise based on the Warrens’ extensive investigations, which also involved the principals in “The Amityville Horror” and “The Haunting in Connecticut.” “We have Lorraine’s permission and support, and we are working on developing another film,” Emmerich acknowledges.

Warner Bros. debuted the film — which Wan (“Insidious,” “Saw”) shot in February 2012 in North Carolina — on June 22 at the Los Angeles Film Festival; that generated the first wave of strong reviews.

During a Q&A session, Wan admitted he was aware of similar demonic possession films of the era, particularly “The Exorcist” and “The Amityville Horror,” and wanted to avoid going over the top. “I didn’t want to make an action film,” he noted. “I was trying to exercise restraint — I wanted to stay true to the Warrens and the Perron family, and show this
through their point of view.”

More Film

  • Hugh Jackman Sings Happy Birthday to

    Hugh Jackman Leads Massive One-Man Show Crowd in 'Happy Birthday' for Ian McKellen

    Hugh Jackman may have had to skip Ian McKellen’s birthday party to perform his one-man show, “The Man, The Music, The Show,” but that didn’t mean he couldn’t celebrate his “X-Men” co-star’s 80th. Jackman took a moment at the Manchester Arena Saturday to lead the sold-out audience — some 50,000 strong — in a rendition [...]

  • Netflix, Shmetflix: At Cannes 2019, the

    Netflix, Shmetflix: At Cannes 2019, the Movies Needed Every Inch of the Big Screen

    In the May 24 edition of The New York Times, there was a column by Timothy Egan, entitled “The Comeback of the Century: Why the Book Endures, Even in an Era of Disposable Digital Culture,” that celebrated those things that come between two hard covers as a larger phenomenon than mere nostalgia. The column keyed [...]

  • Aladdin

    'Aladdin' Dominates International Box Office With $121 Million

    Disney’s “Aladdin” is showing plenty of worldwide drawing power with $121 million overseas for the weekend, opening in first place in nearly all international markets. The reboot of the 1992 animated classic has received strong family attendance with a significant gain on Saturday and Sunday. China leads the way with an estimated $18.7 million for [...]

  • Aladdin

    Box Office: 'Aladdin' Taking Flight With $105 Million in North America

    Disney’s live-action “Aladdin” is flying high with an estimated $105 million in North America during the four-day Memorial Day holiday weekend. It’s the sixth-highest Memorial Day weekend total ever, topping the 2011 mark of $103.4 million for “The Hangover Part II.” The top total came in 2007, when “Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End” [...]

  • Agustina San Martin Talks Cannes Special

    Agustina San Martin Talks Cannes Special Mention Winner ‘Monster God’

    CANNES – An exploration of the ramifications of God, “Monster God,” from Argentina’s Agustina San Martín, took a Special Mention – an effective runner’s up prize – on Saturday night at this year’s Cannes Film Festival short film competition. It’s not difficult to see why, especially when jury president Claire Denis own films’ power resists [...]

  • Atlantics

    Netflix Snags Worldwide Rights to Cannes Winners 'Atlantics,' 'I Lost My Body'

    Mati Diop’s feature directorial debut “Atlantics” and Jérémy Clapin’s animated favorite “I Lost My Body” have both been acquired by Netflix following wins at Cannes Film Festival. “Atlantics” was awarded the grand prix while “I Lost My Body” was voted the best film at the independent International Critics Week. The deals are for worldwide rights [...]

  • Stan Lee, left, and Keya Morgan

    Stan Lee's Former Business Manager Arrested on Elder Abuse Charges

    Stan Lee’s former business manager, Keya Morgan, was arrested in Arizona Saturday morning on an outstanding warrant from the Los Angeles Police Department. The LAPD’s Mike Lopez confirmed that the arrest warrant was for the following charges: one count of false imprisonment – elder adult; three counts of grand theft from elder or dependent adult, [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content