James Wan has closed a big two-pronged deal with New Line Cinema. He will return to direct The Conjuring 2, with shooting to begin next summer. In addition, the hit-making Australian who had a major hand in launching the Saw and Insidious franchises and The Conjuring and most recently Annabelle, has made a first-look producing deal with the Warner Bros-based film label. The directing deal follows New Line taking The Conjuring sequel off its October 23, 2015 slot and moving it to 2016, which gives Wan time to promote the film he just finished, Fast & Furious 7.
At New Line, Wan will develop and produce modest budget films in the science fiction, horror, and comedy genres through his Atomic Monster production banner. The overall deal comes after the latest hit for New Line, Annabelle, which Wan produced. It’s the only filmmaker deal that New Line has with a director, and the hope of the Warner Bros label is that this leads to Wan continuing to grow as a filmmaker there. Universal had options on Wan for more Fast & Furious installments and that studio allowed him to go direct The Conjuring 2 as his next film.
“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.”