35 Years After Freddy, ‘It: Chapter Two’ and ‘Conjuring’ Take New Line Into New Horror Golden Age

The House That Freddy Built has been refurbished by Annabelle and Pennywise

New Line Cinema is currently enjoying a multi-year horror movie hot streak continued this weekend with “It: Chapter Two,” the sequel to a Stephen King adaptation that redefined what a horror film is capable of making at the box office. “It: Chapter One” was not only the first horror film to gross over $100 million in its opening weekend, it also went on to earn $700 million worldwide, and this month’s “Chapter Two” opened to $91 million and $185 million worldwide.

But New Line’s horror goldmine is familiar territory for a studio which was saved from failure 35 years ago by one of the most iconic franchises in the genre’s history.

In the early 1980s, New Line was in trouble. The distributor that had brought John Waters and Werner Herzog to theaters was trying to get into production, but its early films were struggling, and founder Robert Shaye needed a big hit to turn things around. Around the same time, top Hollywood studios were saying no again and again to horror auteur Wes Craven’s new idea for a movie about a monster that murders children in their dreams. But Shaye heard Craven’s pitch and he jumped to make it a…

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Jeremy Fuster

Box Office Reporter • jeremy.fuster@thewrap.com