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‘Malignant’: Two Months Is Enough Time For Warner Bros. To Sell James Wan’s Latest

By News Creatives Authors , in Business , at January 1, 1970

Judging by the absolute deluge of trailers this morning, I’m starting to think that M. Night Shyamalan’s Old may slightly “overperform” (whatever the hell that means on a Covid curve). However, that Warner Bros. went and dropped the first poster and trailer for New Line’s Malignant to tie in with Old is no surprise. James Wan is as much a marquee filmmaker, especially in terms of horror movies, as is M. Night Shyamalan.

This is Wan’s first non-sequel horror flick since The Conjuring back in 2013. So, yeah, this is a big horror event no matter how the film turns out. Set for September 10, the same post-Labor Day weekend that worked wonders for It, The Nun and It: Chapter Two, this romp in a giallo sandbox looks like (simplification alert) a gruesome riff on Drop Dead Fred. The elevator pitch is that Annabelle Wallis’ childhood “imaginary friend” comes back into her life and starts dropping bodies.

Beyond that, you don’t really need to know anything else, and offhand I’d argue the trailer doesn’t seem that spoiler-y. I’ve written before, way back when Malignant was going to open in summer 2020, that Wan’s return to original horror was likely to be a big deal, especially considering he’s also the only filmmaker save for James Cameron who has helmed two $1 billion-grossing movies (Aquaman and Furious 7) in two different franchises.

What’s… interesting is that we’ve only now gotten any hard marketing for the picture, even with a release date just seven weeks away. That’s soon even by streaming/Covid standards for a big movie like this, although I will maintain that two months is enough time if the movie delivers. After all, this snazzy little trailer will play before Old as well as Don’t Breathe 2, The Suicide Squad and other adult-skewing flicks like The Green Knight, Reminiscence and Paw Patrol.

It’s no secret that the vast majority of the moviegoing populace only really starts paying attention around five weeks before release. Almost everything else before that, especially for big movies or buzzy flicks, is mostly being about preaching to the converted. For example, Jordan Peele’s Us dropped a trailer on Christmas 2018 just three months before a late-March debut. It opened with $71 million, second only to Avatar among “not based on anything” live-action debuts.

Nobody is expecting Malignant to open with even Get Out’s $33 million debut, as this is without question a “one for me” play for the guy who helped birth the first post-Avengers cinematic universe and gave DC Films a $1.148 billion-grossing smash with a character otherwise considered a pop culture joke. Hell, even if Malignant is lousy and/or bombs (I actually like Dead Silence more than Saw), I’m guessing Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom will make up for the shortfall.

“Malignant” is the latest creation from “Conjuring” universe architect James Wan (“Aquaman,” “Furious 7”). The film marks director Wan’s return to his roots with this new original horror thriller.

In the film, Madison is paralyzed by shocking visions of grisly murders, and her torment worsens as she discovers that these waking dreams are in fact terrifying realities.

“Malignant” stars Annabelle Wallis (“Annabelle,” “The Mummy”), Maddie Hasson (YouTube’s “Impulse,” TV’s “Mr. Mercedes”), George Young (TV’s “Containment”), Michole Briana White (TV’s “Black Mafia Family,” “Dead to Me”), Jacqueline McKenzie (“Palm Beach,” TV’s “Reckoning”), Jake Abel (TV’s “Supernatural,” the “Percy Jackson” films) and Ingrid Bisu (“The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It,” “The Nun”).

Wan (“Aquaman,” “Furious 7”) directed from a screenplay by Akela Cooper (“M3GAN,” upcoming “The Nun 2”), story by Wan & Ingrid Bisu and Cooper. The film was produced by Wan and Michael Clear, with Eric McLeod, Judson Scott, Bisu, Peter Luo, Cheng Yang, Mandy Yu and Lei Han serving as executive producers.

Behind the scenes, Wan was joined by his frequent collaborators, director of photography Don Burgess and editor Kirk Morri (“Aquaman,” “The Conjuring 2”), production designer Desma Murphy (art director, “Aquaman,” “Furious 7”), as well as costume designer Lisa Norcia (“Insidious: The Last Key”). The music is by Joseph Bishara, who has composed the score for all seven films in “The Conjuring” Universe, among many others.

New Line Cinema Presents, In Association With Starlight Media Inc. and My Entertainment Inc., An Atomic Monster Production, a James Wan Film, “Malignant,” will be released by Warner Bros. Pictures on September 10, 2021 in theaters nationwide and on HBO Max via their Ad-Free plan in 4K UHD, HDR10, and Dolby Vision on supported devices; it will be available on HBO Max for 31 days from theatrical release.

“Malignant” has been rated R for strong horror violence and gruesome images, and for language.


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