It seems everyone in Hollywood is caught up in the trend of trying to create a shared cinematic universe in a bid to emulate the huge commercial success of Marvel Studios' own MCU - Warner Bros. and DC have been struggling to establish their own comic book based universe the DCEU, as have Universal Pictures with their Dark Universe. Paramount Pictures are also hoping to create a Transformers universe, as are Sony with Spider-Man. With the exception of Marvel, the only studio/production company to have any real success with extending their franchise into a wider narrative is Lucasfilm with the surprise success of Last Christmas' Rogue One a Star Wars story.
Malaysian/Australian director James Wan has become recognized as one of the most talented and acclaimed directors in Hollywood, which is quite an achievement considering Wan's directorial debut was only seventeen years ago, and that he is mostly known for directing horror movies. Having brought fans the notorious Saw and Insidious franchises Wan won critical acclaim in 2013 with the release of The Conjuring. The movie starred Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga as real-life paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren and recounted the reportedly "true" events of the Perron Family's Rhode Island ordeal of 1971.
With The Conjuring earning $318 million at the box office against a $20 million production budget, the release of its 2016 sequel was inevitable. Recounting the reportedly "true" events of the Hodgson Family's Enfield ordeal of 1977, Wan, Wilson, and Farmiga returned to more critical acclaim, earning $320 million against a more generous $40 million production budget. A third movie has not yet been confirmed but is likely inevitable considering the success of the first two installments. Prior to The Conjuring 2's release, in 2014 a spin-off was released featuring the demonically possessed doll Annabelle from the opening moments of The Conjuring. Although Annabelle did not receive high praise from critics it was a commercial success earning $256 million against a tiny $6.5 million production budget. A prequel; Annabelle: Creation (trailer featured below), which tells of the origins of the doll will likely follow in the same vein and is due for release this August.
While fans of Wan wait for his return, either as director or producer to The Conjuring 3, they can sate their appetite with two more Wan-produced spin-offs. The first of these spin-offs The Nun will feature the Demon Nun "Valak" that was featured in The Conjuring 2 and is scheduled to be released next July. The second spin-off The Crooked Man will feature the entity of the same name that also featured in The Conjuring 2; a release date has yet to be announced.
The Conjuring movies and their spin-offs are all based on reportedly "true" events investigated by the Warrens, whose most famous case, that of the Amityville Horror is featured in the opening moments of The Conjuring 2. Throughout the 1970's and 80's the Warrens investigated a wealth of paranormal cases, with many supernatural "artifacts" said to be on display in the Warren's Occult Museum at their home in Connecticut. With such a wealth of source material to draw inspiration from and a foundation of six movies, it looks as though director/producer Wan is creating an "inspired by true events" shared universe or the WCU (Wan or Warren Cinematic Universe), chronicling the many investigations of the Warrens. This WCU could see Wan cement himself as a master of modern horror cinema, having received critical acclaim for its two primary installments while making household names of its stars Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga.