James Wan

How the evil doll in 'Annabelle: Creation' helped unlock the 'Conjuring' horror cinematic universe

How the evil doll in 'Annabelle: Creation' helped unlock the 'Conjuring' horror cinematic universe

Cinematic universes are all the rage these days, thanks to the billion-dollar bounties of Marvel’s Avengers-verse and the competing DC squad led by Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman. But as Hollywood’s franchise-making scheme du jour has crept into other genres, it’s also proven that you can’t guarantee success, as evidenced by Universal’s recent Dark Universe-launching clunker “The Mummy,” the diminishing returns of Paramount’s “Transformers: The Last Knight” and Sony’s disappointing “The Dark Tower.”

Yet in Warner Bros. and New Line’s “Conjuring” films and the spinoff prequel “Annabelle,” contemporary horror has made a potent first stab at interconnected...

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