WonderCon 2016: Warner Bros. Sheds Light on Lights Out and The Conjuring 2


The air in the Microsoft Theater was tense with anxious anticipation Saturday, March 26th, the second day of WonderCon 2016. Most everyone was there for the same reason, a love of horror. Whether that be through James Wan and The Conjuring 2 or David Sandberg and Lights Out, it didn’t matter. Horror brought everyone together, and we were waiting with bated breath.

First to arrive was James Wan. He spoke for a time on The Conjuring 2 as a lead-in to the new trailer that was premiering at the event. Wan described the difficulty in choosing single cases to focus on from Ed and Lorraine Warren’s 4,000+ they had investigated in their lifetimes. While many interest him, he decided both with The Conjuring and now The Conjuring 2 to go with their most famous cases. The ones that the vast majority of fans will be excited to witness. The trailer for the sequel was incredibly action-packed and dramatic, which sparked a cacophonous level of applause from the audience in attendance. If you haven’t seen the trailer yet, definitely check it outThe Conjuring 2 releases in the US on June 10, 2016, and June 17 for UK fans.

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James Wan went on to answer fan questions, which gave some interesting peeks into his particular style of filmmaking. Wan mentioned that he loves filmmaking with a passion, no matter the genre. Of course he loves making horror, but we shouldn’t be surprised to see him working in other genres. But in line with his current genre of choice, one fan asked if there were any horror classics Wan would love to re-work in his own style. Wan’s response was that while it might be enjoyable, what he really thrives on is creating his own original stories. Crafting worlds and characters that no one has ever seen before is where his true passion lies.

And speaking of characters and passion, Wan later explained that no matter what the budget for his films, from very small indies all the way to multi-million dollar blockbusters, the most important thing for him is the characters and the story. Without putting those first, it doesn’t matter if your budget is $2,000 or $2,000,000.

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On possibly the lowest end of any budgetary standards was the viral short Lights Out, co-created by David Sandberg and Lotta Losten. The two have been making short films for quite some time and have always struggled with budgets. Sandberg quipped to the audience that it was difficult at times to even raise a few grand via Swedish investors for short films. However, in the case of Lights Out, in swooped James Wan with all of Hollywood’s millions behind him. Wan noted that with his new production company, Atomic Monster, he hopes to help even more new directors like Sandberg.

And help Sandberg Wan did. Sandberg told the audience in the Microsoft Theater a great behind-the-scenes story from filming Lights Out. There’s a scene in the film where one of the main characters, Martin, is holding a candle in the dark, frightened of whatever might be out there. During the planning for this scene, Sandberg mentioned that he would love to use only the candlelight to illuminate Martin’s face. The rest of his crew scoffed dramatically and referred to typical Hollywood lighting, “You can’t do that; you have to light him with more than just the candle,” they cried. Sandberg gave in and agreed. The day the scene was to be filmed, Wan was on hand and, when he saw the setup, mentioned that they should light the boy with the candle. The immediate response was a unanimous, “Great idea! That sounds brilliant!” Sandberg chuckled at this and said it was these moments when he was glad for Wan’s assistance in making the film.

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Maria Bello, actress from Lights Out, commented that thanks to the Internet, it’s become much easier to discover directors like Sandberg that would otherwise go unnoticed. We’re glad he did get noticed since there were rumblings during the event about Lights Out possibly growing into another popular franchise. Lights Out will be in theaters July 22nd, and if the trailer is any indication, it should be a thrilling good time.

All in all, The Conjuring 2 and Lights Out event at the Microsoft Theater felt like a casual talk with fans. Sandberg mentioned that he’d never been in front of such a big crowd but seemed incredibly relaxed all the way through. Wan answered questions with an earnest honesty that can be hard to come by. It was a real treat for such a large crowd to experience this together.



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