Even though it’s a spinoff prequel to the main series of films in James Wan’s Conjuring movie-verse, The Nun already is poised to storm the box office on a scale none of its predecessors has managed — at least if it keeps up the pace already set with its beatific Fandango sales numbers.
Via Variety, the popular ticketing service has revealed that pre-sales for The Nun already have eclipsed those of all the other movies in the Conjuring series combined. That means The Nun, a spinoff movie based on the demonic Valak nun character in The Conjuring 2, has moved more advance tickets than The Conjuring, The Conjuring 2, Annabelle, and Annabelle: Creation all put together.
To what does the Conjuring franchise owe such an earthly pleasure? It’s hard to say, although the horror genre has seen an overall surge in popularity that goes back at least as far as February of last year, when Jordan Peele’s Get Out returned a box office of more than $250 million on a production budget of less than $5 million. For an encore, horror fans thronged to theaters last September to anoint Stephen King’s IT as one of the highest-grossing R-rated movies of all time.
There’s also the viral marketing campaign that’s kept The Nun's online buzz fresh in the weeks leading up to release. Despite YouTube’s removal of a controversial jump-scare ad (which flashed Valek’s sinister visage over what was purported to be a glitchy computer volume setting), even the banned ad’s impostor — a fan-saved rendering of the original — has amassed more than 3 million views to date.
Finally, it’s hard to dismiss the possibility that the horror universe spawned by the first Conjuring movie has finally achieved for The Nun a critical mass (get it?) in popular culture, converting more and more fans with each new installment over the course of the series' five-year run.
Whatever the reason for its unprecedented pre-sales, The Nun has never been more ready for her frightful close-up. The Corin Hardy-directed fifth film in the Conjuring franchise stations itself in theaters beginning Sept. 7.