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.
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. No final decisions have been made about Wan’s involvement in future installments of Universal’s street racing film series, I’m told.
“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.”
The overall deal is for producing, but Emmerich said the studio sees him as an emerging major filmmaker and they hope he will grow in that capacity on the Warner Bros lot. “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,” Emmerich told me. “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.”