The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It Review

Remember those Brady Bunch episodes when they went to Hawaii and Bobby found the evil tiki that ruined part of their vacation? Similar happenings occur in The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It to the Warren bunch – our happily married demonologists Ed (Patrick Wilson) and Lorraine (Vera Farmiga). It involves a satanic totem that wreaks even more havoc than Greg wiping out while surfing or Alice throwing her back out during a hula lesson. The latest Conjuring franchise pic delves deeper into the occult than previous entries and it is again based loosely on a true story.

This centers on the 1981 case of Arne Johnson (Ruairi O’Connor), who was the first American to claim demonic possession as a defense during trial. As we learn in the pretty effective opening sequence, his curse was passed like a hot potato from 8-year-old David Glatzel (Julian Hilliard). That little boy is exorcised by the Warrens and church officials in a body twisting procedure, but his malady is transferred to his sister’s boyfriend. That results in Arne returning home from work and his dogs are barking. His feet are fine. Arne works in a boarding kennel and those pups know something is off with him. The rest of Connecticut figures it out shortly after when he brutally stabs his boss.

Ed and Lorraine are naturally sympathetic to Arne’s forthcoming legal proceedings and seek to discover the backstory of how this came to be. Lorraine’s clairvoyant abilities unveils a tale of witchcraft. Meanwhile, Ed is hampered by heart problems. In fact, he experiences more ticker palpitations than you might as a viewer.

In 2013, the original Conjuring emerged as one of the finest horror pics in recent years. None of the official sequels or spinoffs have come too close to matching it and that holds. Michael Chaves takes over directorial duties from James Wan. Like the first two, this is well-made and doesn’t suffer from the cheap knockoff vibe that, say, Annabelle had. To be fair, even the Annabelle follow-ups improved. The last time we saw the Warrens was in 2019’s Annabelle Comes Home and I would say it had more pure entertainment value than this.

That’s not to say Devil is bad. It’s just another so-so example of creaking sound effects and jump scares that intermittently possesses a genuine scare. This even gets a little gooey towards the conclusion with its love conquers all theme. You can’t blame the filmmakers. Ed and Lorraine, in real life apparently and certainly on screen, have been through a lot. It’s too bad they weren’t in Hawaii back in the seventies. Maybe Alice would have had a far more pleasant hula lesson.

**1/2 (out of four)

Annabelle Comes Home Review

The first Annabelle spinoff in 2014 felt like a cheap and quick money grab after the success of The Conjuring the year before and I’d say it stands as the worst experience in this cinematic universe. Three years later, Annabelle: Creation managed to slightly improve on its predecessor as it told the 1950s set backstory of the demonic doll. Some horror aficionados felt it was a significant improvement, but I wouldn’t go that far. Annabelle Comes Home, which takes place about a year after the events of The Conjuring, accomplishes what very few trilogies can. I think this is the best of the trio and about on the level with The Conjuring 2 as far as effectiveness. That means it’s nowhere near the quality of the film that kicked the whole shebang off, but it’s well-crafted and feels like some effort got put into it.

Paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren (Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga) are back and they basically bookend this latest haunting. The real focus is their daughter Judy (Mckenna Grace) as she deals with that supremely creepy looking title doll. Her parents have recently acquired Annabelle and locked her in a case that explicitly warns others to keep it closed. When the Warrens go off somewhere investigating what will probably be a Conjuring flick someday, Judy is left in the care of high school babysitter Mary Ellen (Madison Iseman). Her friend Daniela (Katie Sarife) joins the party and is curious if there are evil spirits lurking in the Warren household. She’s also desperate to connect with her recently deceased father.

As we know, Daniela has found the right house to do just that. Her actions unlock a whole lotta spirited occurrences which come with the franchise’s now well-known and precise sound effects editing. Home marks the directorial debut of Gary Dauberman, who wrote the first two Annabelle‘s and The Nun (he also penned both It pics). This walks a sometimes pleasurable line between the terrorized babysitter premise while being steeped in Conjuring lore. We briefly see several other spirits awakened and that includes a dog who’s a bad boy and a board game with a mind of its own.

Yet Annabelle Comes Home never turns into Ouija or Cujo. Most of the focus is on Annabelle. And despite her still scary appearance, no Conjuring sequel/spinoff has quite nailed the key objective: being consistently scary itself. With the exception of Annabelle’s first 2014 starring role, they look good and sound really good. They’re also far cries from what started it all.

**1/2 (out of four)

The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It Box Office Prediction

America’s favorite paranormal investigating peeps The Warrens (Vera Farmiga and Patrick Wilson) are back in theaters and on HBO Max next week in The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It. This is the second sequel to the 2013 horror hit and the eighth overall entry in the Conjuring Universe. Michael Chaves (who made the previous series effort The Curse of la Llorona) takes over directorial duties from James Wan, who produces and shares a story credit. Costars include Ruairi O’Connor, Sarah Catherine Hook, and Julian Hilliard.

Originally scheduled for a September 2020 premiere before its COVID delay, Devil will attempt to reach an opening weekend gross commensurate with its predecessors. That could be a helluva task. Both pics with Conjuring in the title made just over $40 million for their starts. The first two Annabelle spin-offs took in over $30 million out of the gate. Another spin-off, The Nun, actually holds the series record with $53 million. Yet the past two flicks couldn’t match up. The third Annabelle made just over $20 million while the aforementioned la Llorona hit $26 million.

Those dwindling earnings could continue here. I’m a bit surprised that Warner Bros is releasing this just one week after A Quiet Place Part II, which should still be making loud noises at multiplexes. Furthermore, some fans with Max subscriptions will opt to view it in the comfort of their home. This franchise, on the other hand, has often shown an ability to over perform (The Nun hitting $50 million plus was not anticipated). Yet for the reasons described, I believe Devil could end up having the lowest domestic debut of the whole bunch.

The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It opening weekend prediction: $19.8 million

For my Spirit Untamed prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2021/05/27/spirit-untamed-box-office-prediction/

July 12-14 Box Office Predictions

The newcomers this weekend are a bit low key and not your weekly dose of wannabe blockbusters as the alligator horror flick Crawl and Kumail Nanjiani/Dave Bautista action comedy Stuber debut. Neither have much of a shot of bitIng into the dominance of SpiderMan: Far From Home. You can peruse my detailed prediction posts on the newbies here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2019/07/03/crawl-box-office-prediction/

https://toddmthatcher.com/2019/07/04/stuber-box-office-prediction/

Crawl hopes to snag a sizable portion of moviegoers who have recently feasted on shark tales. I think that’ll equate to low to mid teens and third place.

As for Stuber, its rather generic ad campaign and middling reviews may mean it struggles to hit teens. That likely means fourth place.

After a terrific start, Far From Home should easily hang onto first position. It’s worth noting that predecessor SpiderMan: Homecoming fell a steep 62% in its sophomore outing. While I don’t see this dipping that much, a drop of over 50% seems feasible.

Barring a surprising performance from the fresh players, Toy Story 4 will play in second with Yesterday rounding out the top five.

And with that, my take on the weekend ahead:

1. SpiderMan: Far From Home

Predicted Gross: $43.6 million

2. Toy Story 4

Predicted Gross: $20.7 million

3. Crawl

Predicted Gross: $14.2 million

4. Stuber

Predicted Gross: $10.8 million

5. Yesterday

Predicted Gross: $6.4 million

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=VE0k-Yq_YVQ

Box Office Results (July 57)

The Marvel Cinematic Universe ruled the long holiday weekend as SpiderMan: Far From Home kept the gravy train rolling for Disney. Since its debut on Tuesday, the sequel has made $185 million. That’s just a tad under my $190.4 million projection. For the Friday to Sunday traditional frame, it made $92.5 million. My estimate? $92.5 million!!!

Toy Story 4 was second at $33.8 million, topping my $28.9 million prediction. In ten days, the Pixar pic crossed the triple century mark at $306 million.

Yesterday displayed a sturdy hold in third with $10 million (I said $11.2 million). Total is $36 million.

Annabelle Comes Home was fourth with $9.4 million, a bit more than my $8.1 million take for $49 million overall.

I incorrectly left Aladdin outside the top five, but that’s where it was with $7.5 million. The impressive tally has risen to $320 million.

Finally, acclaimed horror entry Midsommar was sixth with $6.3 million from Friday to Sunday and $10.9 million since its Wednesday start. That’s below my respective estimates of $7.8 million and $13.2 million.

And that does it for now, folks! Until next time…

 

July 5-7 Box Office Predictions

The box office could use some fireworks this weekend and they should come courtesy of the MCU with tomorrow’s release of SpiderMan: Far From Home. On Wednesday, the critically acclaimed horror pic Midsommar hits the market. You can peruse my detailed prediction posts on both of them here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2019/06/25/spider-man-far-from-home-box-office-prediction/

https://toddmthatcher.com/2019/06/26/midsommar-box-office-prediction/

Spidey will easily dominate the long holiday weekend and I have it slinging nearly $200 million over its six-day rollout with just over $90 million of that coming in the traditional Friday to Sunday frame.

As for Midsommar, I’m a bit more skeptical that a large audience will turn up. I’m putting it at low teens for the five day period with under $10 million for the regular weekend.

Toy Story 4 should relinquish the top spot and fall to second place after two weeks in first. Yesterday, after a healthy start, should continue to ride solid word of mouth and remain in third. That would vault it over Annabelle Comes Home in its sophomore outing and that demented doll sequel is likely to duke it out with Midsommar for fourth place.

And with that, my patriotic forecast for the week ahead:

1. SpiderMan: Far From Home

Predicted Gross: $92.5 million (Friday to Sunday); $190.4 million (Tuesday to Sunday)

2. Toy Story 4

Predicted Gross: $28.9 million

3. Yesterday

Predicted Gross: $11.2 million

4. Annabelle Comes Home

Predicted Gross: $8.1 million

5. Midsommar

Predicted Gross: $7.8 million (Friday to Sunday); $13.2 million (Wednesday to Sunday)

Box Office Results (June 2830)

Toy Story 4 played again atop the charts with $59.7 million, in line with my $60.3 million prediction. The Pixar fourquel stands at $238 million after ten days of release.

Annabelle Comes Home opened in second and with a bit less than anticipated. The Conjuring Cinematic Universe entry took in $20.2 million from Friday to Sunday with $31.1 million since the Wednesday start. That’s less than its predecessors, but not too shabby considering the reported $30 million budget. I went higher with respective projections of $27.4 million and $38 million.

Yesterday had a rocking start in third at $17 million, blowing away my $9.1 million forecast. With a sturdy A- CinemaScore grade, I expect this to stick around for a while.

Aladdin reached the triple century mark ($306 million overall) and was fourth with $10.1 million (I said $9.7 million).

Finally, The Secret Life of Pets 2 held the five spot with $7.3 million compared to my $5.7 million prediction. Total is $131 million.

And that does it for now, folks! Until next time…

June 28-30 Box Office Predictions

Another creepy doll looks to hit the runner-up spot while Toy Story 4 stays in first place this weekend as Conjuring Cinematic Universe entry Annabelle Comes Home debuts. We also have the high concept musical comedy Yesterday out and you can peruse my detailed prediction posts on both newcomers here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2019/06/18/annabelle-comes-home-box-office-prediction/

https://toddmthatcher.com/2019/06/21/yesterday-box-office-prediction/

It seems awfully risky in the summer of 2019 to project that a sequel will come close to meeting expectations. Not even Toy Story 4 managed to do that (more on that below), but that’s where I’m at by saying Annabelle will gross in the high 20s for its Friday to Sunday earnings and high 30s when taking in the Wednesday and Thursday money.

As mentioned, Pixar’s fourth pairing of Woody and Buzz should have no trouble maintaining top position. Toy Story 3 dipped 46% in its sophomore frame and I look for this to lose around half its volume.

Yesterday, in my view, once had breakout potential. However, so-so reviews don’t help. My estimate for The Beatles themed pic puts it just behind Aladdin in fourth place. The Secret Life of Pets 2 may stay put in fifth as I figure the drops for Child’s Play and Men in Black: International will be more severe.

And with that, my top five for the weekend:

1. Toy Story 4

Predicted Gross: $60.3 million

2. Annabelle Comes Home

Predicted Gross: $27.4 million (Friday to Sunday), $38 million (Wednesday to Sunday)

3. Aladdin

Predicted Gross: $9.7 million

4. Yesterday

Predicted Gross: $9.1 million

5. The Secret Life of Pets 2

Predicted Gross: $5.7 million

Box Office Results (June 2123)

Pixar scored yet another hit with Toy Story 4. Yet the acclaimed sequel (arriving nine years after part three) unquestionably made less than anticipated at $120.9 million. While that’s $10 million over its predecessor, that’s a far cry from my $167.5 million forecast. And even if you think I was being generous, the floor for most projections was around $140 million. I wouldn’t feel too bad for Disney as they’re having a terrific year thus far.

The return of Chucky was met with ambivalence as Child’s Play was second with $14 million compared to my $17.6 million prediction. Look for it to fade fast, especially with that other dastardly doll arriving Wednesday. The reboot only cost a reported $10 million to make so United Artists shouldn’t be too upset either.

Aladdin was third with $13.2 million (I said $13 million) and it’s up to $288 million in the coffers.

Men in Black: International tumbled from first to fourth with $10.7 million, below my $13.1 million projection for just $52 million. This reboot, like Dark Phoenix before it, looks to come in under $100 million domestically.

The Secret Life of Pets 2 rounded out the top five with $10.2 million. I was higher at $12.6 million. The three-week tally is $117 million.

Finally, the Luc Besson action thriller Anna was a flop in ninth with $3.6 million. My prediction? $3.6 million! That almost makes up for being $40 million plus off Toy Story 4! Ok maybe not…

That’s all for now, folks! Until next time…

Annabelle Comes Home Box Office Prediction

2019 has seen a number of franchises stumble hard with their sequels and reboots. Yet Warner Bros has one of the sturdiest series in recent memory with the Conjuring Cinematic Universe. Next week brings the third edition of the Annabelle entries and I don’t see fatigue among horror fans happening here.

Annabelle Comes Home marks the directorial debut of Gary Dauberman, who penned both predecessors and last fall’s spin-off The Nun. Mckenna Grace and Madison Iseman star and this time Conjuring leads Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga join the doll party.

As mentioned, this has been a mighty profitable franchise for its studio. After five pictures, the lowest opening belongs to Annabelle: Creation at $35 million two summers ago. However, it legged out better than 2014’s Annabelle ($102 million vs. $84 million). Any thought of the series dwindling was dispelled last fall when The Nun took in $53 million for the best premiere of all.

What might give this Annabelle the lowest debut yet is a matter of logistics. This one opens on Wednesday and that will certainly eat into its traditional weekend haul. I still foresee a high 20s Friday to Sunday gross and high 40s when factoring in the extra two days.

Annabelle Comes Home opening weekend prediction: $27.4 million (Friday to Sunday); $38 million (Wednesday to Sunday)

For my Yesterday prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2019/06/21/yesterday-box-office-prediction/

The Curse of La Llorona Box Office Prediction

Next weekend could provide an interesting answer to a question not posed before – how much can a Conjuring series picture gross if a lot of moviegoers may not be aware it’s actually part of the franchise? I give you The Curse of La Llorona, the sixth entry in this scary supernatural cinematic universe. The 1970s set ghost tale is directed by Michael Chaves in his feature-length debut (he’s slated to be behind the camera for the third official Conjuring flick next year). Linda Cardellini headlines a cast that includes Raymond Cruz, Patricia Velásquez, Tony Amendola (reprising his Annabelle role), and Sean Patrick Thomas.

Llorona premiered last month at the South by Southwest Festival. Early reviews are mixed to negative with a current 44% Rotten Tomatoes score. At the time of its unveiling, it was a bit of a surprise that this even existed in the billion dollar worldwide franchise. It’s a legitimate question as to whether the marketing campaign has had enough time to establish that fact.

In my view, that almost certainly means this will experience the lowest debut of the series so far. Horror fans have certainly had options lately with Us and Pet Sematary. That said, it’s a risky group of films to bet against. Just last fall, The Nun unexpectedly set the franchise opening weekend high mark at $53 million. The lowest start belongs to Annabelle: Creation at a still impressive $35 million. That creepy doll, by the way, is back this June with Annabelle Comes Home.

Tracking currently has this at $20 million and that sounds about right.

The Curse of La Llorona opening weekend prediction: $20.1 million

For my Breakthrough prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2019/04/09/breakthrough-box-office-prediction/

For my Penguins prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2019/04/10/penguins-box-office-prediction/