The Conjuring's Focus On Spinoffs Is Hurting The Series

The Conjuring franchise has seen better days, and a big reason for that is Warner Bros. and New Line's constant drive to create new spinoffs. When director James Wan unleashed the original Conjuring movie on the world in 2013, it's doubtful most involved foresaw how expansive a franchise it would spawn. Ostensibly based on the real-life paranormal cases investigated by Ed and Lorraine Warren, The Conjuring universe has become one of the biggest brands in horror over the last eight years.

So far, there have been three main-line Conjuring movies starring Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga as Ed and Lorraine, while no fewer than five spinoffs set in the same world have also been produced. Three of those spinoffs have focused on the possessed doll known as Annabelle, while one starred The Nun from Conjuring 2. The oddest was The Curse of La Llorona, which didn't directly spinoff from the main Conjuring movies, but still had small amounts of crossover with them.

Related: Conjurverse: Every Short Film Explained (Are They Canon?)

While the responses to the spinoff movies have been varied, the main Conjuring movies have always been received warmly. That was until 2021's The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It, which became the first main-line installment to receive a "rotten" score on Rotten Tomatoes, and even drew worse reviews than spinoff Annabelle Comes Home. The response among fans has also been less enthusiastic, a sharp contrast to the largely glowing takes The Conjuring and The Conjuring 2 received. There are several likely reasons for this downturn, but a big factor is that future spinoff opportunities are always dancing around like The Crooked Man in the back of Warner Bros.' mind.

This continued push for spinoff material was recently illustrated by the reveal of a demon that was ultimately cut from The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It, despite some behind the scenes seeing potential for a spinoff about the monster. Pictured above, the demon does look pretty cool, albeit a bit like WWE's The Undertaker, but considering the plot of The Devil Made Me Do It already ended up somewhat overstuffed, cutting him was probably a good move. Since The Devil Made Me Do It ended up such a mixed bag, one could argue that more time should've been spent on getting the movie's story up to snuff, instead of workshopping new spinoff stars.

While The Conjuring 3 turning out underwhelming already isn't good for the overall franchise, the spinoffs themselves haven't done much for it either. Some of them may have been big financial hits upon release, but the first Annabelle, The Nun, and The Curse of La Llorona were all outright bad, hated on by both fans and critics after the box office dust had settled. The Curse of La Llorona was even bizarrely attempted to be excommunicated by the franchise earlier this year, with the sudden claim being made that it wasn't a Conjuring movie after all, despite sharing a character and being directed by Conjuring 3's Michael Chaves. These lackluster spinoffs are chipping away at the cultural cache of the Conjuring universe and, in turn, making the main-line movies look worse by association, and feel like less of a big event.

More: What The Conjuring 3 Adds To The Warrens' Occult Museum



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