Annabelle is a 2014 American supernatural horror film directed by John R. Leonetti, written by Gary Dauberman and produced by Peter Safran and James Wan. It is a prequel to 2013's The Conjuring and the second installment in the Conjuring Universe franchise. The film was inspired by a story of a doll named Annabelle told by Ed and Lorraine Warren. The film stars Annabelle Wallis, Ward Horton, and Alfre Woodard.
|Directed by||John R. Leonetti|
|Written by||Gary Dauberman|
|Edited by||Tom Elkins|
|Music by||Joseph Bishara|
|Distributed by||Warner Bros. Pictures|
|Box office||$257.6 million|
A spin-off focusing on the origins of the Annabelle doll that was introduced in The Conjuring was announced shortly after The Conjuring's release, mainly due to its worldwide box office success and the positive reception towards the depiction of the doll. Principal photography began in January 2014 in Los Angeles.
Annabelle premiered at the TCL Chinese Theatre in Los Angeles on September 29, 2014, and was theatrically released in the United States on October 3, 2014, by Warner Bros. Pictures and New Line Cinema. Annabelle received generally negative reviews from critics, many of whom felt the film inferior to its predecessor but was a box office success, grossing over $257 million against its $6.5 million production budget. A prequel, titled Annabelle: Creation, was released on August 11, 2017. A sequel, titled Annabelle Comes Home, was released on June 26, 2019.
In Santa Monica, California, John Form, a doctor, presents his expectant wife Mia with a rare vintage porcelain doll as a gift for their first child, which is to be placed in a collection of dolls in their child’s nursery.
That night, the couple is disturbed by the sounds of their next door neighbors, the Higgins, being murdered during a home invasion. John goes to investigate and returns covered in blood, telling Mia call the police. While Jonn goes back to investigate again, Mia hears a woman's voice from the nursery and is attacked from behind by a man, who stabs her. John rushes in and fights the man, but he is overpowered and knocked unconscious. As the man tries to stab Mia again, the police arrive just in time and shoot him, while the woman commits suicide by slitting her throat inside the nursery while holding the doll. News reports identify the assailants as the Higgins' estranged daughter, Annabelle, and her unidentified boyfriend, both of whom are members of The Disciples of the Ram.
In the days following the attack, a series of paranormal activities occur around the Forms' residence. Afterwards, Mia gives birth to a healthy baby girl, who Mia & John decide to name Leah. The family move to an apartment in Pasadena and, after finding the doll that John had previously discarded in one of their boxes, another set of paranormal events plague Mia and Leah. The next night Mia is haunted by a malevolent presence in the apartment. She believes it to be Annabelle's ghost after she encounters a dark and terrifying figure in the building's basement. The demonic figure begins pursuing her before she escapes by running out the emergency exit and ascending the stairs.
Mia calls back Detective Clarkin to gather more information about Annabelle and her cult and learns that the cult mainly summons supernatural beings. With the help of bookseller and fellow tenant Evelyn, Mia realizes that the cult practiced devil worship, which conjured a demon that followed the family after they moved to their current apartment in order to claim a soul. Upon returning home, Mia and Leah are attacked by the demon who reveals itself while manipulating the doll. Terrified and worried for their daughter’s safety, Mia and John contact their parish priest, Father Perez. He informs them that demons sometimes attach themselves to inanimate objects as an advantage so as to accomplish their goals and that a human soul must be offered for a purpose. Without any hopes of exorcising the demon out of the doll, Father Perez decides to take it away to seek help from the Warrens for further investigation. However, before he can enter the church, the demon impersonating Annabelle's spirit attacks him and grabs the doll.
Father Perez is hospitalized as a result and when John checks on him, he warns the latter that he has sensed the demon’s powerful presence and that its true intention is to claim Mia's soul. John immediately calls Mia to warn her and urges her to leave the apartment, but she doesn’t get the message due to static interference. That same night, the demon uses Father Perez's physical form to sneak into the apartment and abduct Leah for her mother's soul. To spare her daughter, Mia attempts to jump out of the window with the doll but John arrives just in time along with Evelyn to stop her. Evelyn decides to jump in Mia's place instead as atonement for causing a car accident that resulted in the death of her daughter, Ruby, years ago. While Evelyn lays dead, the doll disappears, and Leah is safely back inside her crib.
Six months later, the doll is bought from an antique shop by a mother as a birthday gift for her daughter who is a nursing student.
- Annabelle Wallis as Mia Form
- Ward Horton as John Form
- Alfre Woodard as Evelyn
- Tony Amendola as Father Perez
- Kerry O'Malley as Sharon Higgins
- Brian Howe as Pete Higgins
- Eric Ladin as Detective Clarkin
- Ivar Brogger as Dr. Burgher
- Gabriel Bateman as Robert
- Shiloh Nelson as Nancy
- Geoff Wehner as Neighbor
- Tree O'Toole as Annabelle "Janice" Higgins
- Keira Daniels as 7-year-old Annabelle Higgins
- Robin Pearson Rose as the Mother
- Camden Singer as Clerk
- Morganna May as Debbie
- Amy Tipton as Camilla
- Zach Pappas as Rick
- Sasha Sheldon as Nurse
- Christopher Shaw as Fuller
- Joseph Bishara as Demon
The film is a spin-off of the 2013 horror film The Conjuring, focusing on the origins of the Annabelle doll found in that film. The film was designed to be stand alone yet collectively catering to fans of The Conjuring who would already be familiar with the latter film. To Backstage.com, the film was one of the first in a new strategy by distributors Warner Bros. and New Line Cinema "that capitalizes on the built-in fan bases for successful films, allowing for smaller budgets and production time with a bigger payout on the back end."
Principal photography began on January 27, 2014, at The Book Shop in Covina, California. On February 25, 2014, filming continued at an apartment on South Normandie Avenue in Los Angeles County, where the 55-member crew shot for several days. Director Leonetti and producer Safran told reporters that the Annabelle set was "haunted" and that they thought "supernatural phenomena" had occurred there. The film was shot in sequence so that the actors were always aware of their emotional arcs.
Annabelle grossed $84.3 million in North America and $172.8 million in other territories, for a worldwide total of $257 million, against a production budget of $6.5 million. In the United States and Canada, Annabelle is the fourteenth highest-grossing horror/supernatural film.
Early tracking projected Annabelle would gross around $25–27 million in its opening weekend. However, estimates declined shortly after to a range between $20–22 million. Annabelle was released on October 3, 2014, in 3,185 theatres in North America. It topped the box office in its opening day earning $15.4 million (including its $2.1 million midnight previews). In its traditional three-day opening the film debuted at #2 at the box office with $37.1 million, at an average of $11,659 per theater from 3,185 theaters after a neck-and-neck competition against Gone Girl that earned $37.5 million. The two releases were separated by $378,854. Its opening weekend gross is the eleventh highest in October and the biggest for a horror genre film of 2014, surpassing The Purge: Anarchy's $28.9 million opening. Dan Fellman, president of domestic distribution at Warner Bros., said about the opening box office performance, "we had a wonderful campaign for the film and a good date"; she added "being a spinoff of The Conjuring set it up really well and we just hit the right note." It is the second time that an October weekend has produced two $30 million or more debuts; the first was in 2008: High School Musical 3 ($42 million) and Saw V ($31 million). To Rentrak, the opening weekend crowd was evenly split between females with 51% and under 25 years with 54%. The film's theatrical run ended on December 18, 2014, and it earned a total of $84 million, becoming the thirty-fifth highest-grossing movie of 2014 in the US.
The film was released in Russia on September 26, 2014, a week prior to its wide release and earned $2.1 million on its opening weekend, debuting at No. 3 at the Russian box office. Overseas, in its opening weekend the film earned $23.6 million from nearly 3,300 screen and 39 foreign markets for a first-weekend worldwide total of $60.8 million.
High openings of Annabelle internationally were reported in France ($3.4 million), Brazil ($3 million), the UK ($3.1 million), Argentina ($1.2 million), Spain ($1.45 million) and Germany ($1.14 million). In India Annabelle debuted at #2 behind Bollywood blockbuster Bang Bang! and collected $1.3 million. It set an all-time opening record for a horror film in Peru with $1.34 million which is also Warner Bros. second biggest opening weekend of all time there overall. In Mexico, the film earned $10.9 million (including previews) on its opening weekend and broke the record for the biggest debut ever for a horror movie, and the best 2D opening. Its opening weekend gross is also the third-biggest opening overall of 2014 behind Maleficent and Transformers: Age of Extinction there. In total, the film took 59% of the total market share.
As of October 13, 2014, Annabelle has become the highest-grossing horror film in the Philippines, earning over ₱121.33 million. The film surpassed Insidious: Chapter 2's record (₱113 million), doing so after 12 days of release. The film has also become the highest-grossing horror movie in Lebanon after staying atop the box office for two weekends.
Annabelle received generally negative reviews from critics, many of whom felt the film inferior to its predecessor. The review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes reports an approval rating of 29% based on 130 reviews, with an average rating of 4.41/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "Annabelle borrows unabashedly from better horror films, content to leave viewers with a string of cheap jolts that fail to build on the far more effective The Conjuring." On Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 37 out of 100, based on 27 critics, indicating "generally unfavorable reviews". Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film a grade of "B" on an A+ to F scale.
Frank Scheck of The Hollywood Reporter criticized the film for its cheap production and screenplay, but was positive towards the performances of the cast and saying, "the film is ultimately so scary and formulaic that you won't forget it."
Scott Foundas of Variety gave the film a positive review, calling the film "inspired" but periodically cheap. He added "a cut-rate spinoff from James Wan's superlative haunted-house hit The Conjuring that (partly) makes up in crude shock effects, but lacks in atmosphere. Designed mainly as a starring vehicle for the eponymous, creepy-as-hell doll (who easily outclasses her human co-stars), this WB/New Line quickie is the thirst of die-hard genre fans and is by the far the best horror movie of the year".
Pete Hammond of Deadline gave the film a positive review and said that the scary doll show has left him pining for Chucky in Child's Play. He further added, "Annabelle may still draw horror fans in this Halloween month, and they will be quaking over the scares in this film."
|2014||Fright Meter Awards||Best Supporting Actress||Alfre Woodard||Nominated|
|2015||Empire Awards||Best Horror||Annabelle||Nominated|
|Fangoria Chainsaw Awards||Worst Film||Annabelle||Nominated|
|Golden Trailer Awards||Best Horror Poster||New Line Cinema / Ignition Print||Nominated|
|iHorror Awards||Best Horror Character||Annabelle doll||Won|
|Best Horror Director||John R. Leonetti||Won|
|Best Mainstream Horror||John R. Leonetti||Won|
|MTV Movie & TV Awards||Best Scared-As-S**t Performance||Annabelle Wallis||Nominated|
|People's Choice Awards||Favorite Thriller Movie||Annabelle||Nominated|
|Saturn Awards||Best Horror Film||Annabelle||Nominated|
In October 2014, Fellman told The Washington Post that the studio was considering a series based on the film, with a sequel already in the works. In October 2015, it was reported that Gary Dauberman would be returning to write the script. On March 22, 2016, Warner Bros. slated the film for release on May 19, 2017, with Lights Out director David F. Sandberg directing the film.
In June 2016, Miranda Otto and Stephanie Sigman were cast to star in the prequel. The story centers on a dollmaker, and his wife (Otto) whose daughter tragically dies. Twelve years later they decide to open their home to a nun (Sigman) and several girls from a shuttered orphanage. When the dollmaker's possessed creation Annabelle sets her sights on the children, it turns their shelter into a storm of horror.
In April 2018, Warner Bros. announced July 3, 2019, as the release date for an as-yet untitled new film in The Conjuring franchise. Later that month, it was announced that the film would be a third Annabelle film, with Gary Dauberman signed on to write and direct, in his directorial debut. James Wan and Peter Safran would co-produce the project. The film's title, Annabelle Comes Home, was revealed in March 2019. In May 2019, the film's release date was changed to June 26, 2019.
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