What's the best order to watch The Conjuring Universe movies?

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(Pocket-lint) – The Marvel Cinematic Universe has dominated the box office for a decade, and many have tried to recreate that success by coming up with cinematic universes of their own – and Warner Bros with New Line Cinema is no exception.

In 2013, they released a supernatural horror movie called The Conjuring, which generated over $300 million worldwide at the box office. Naturally, it spawned a direct sequel and then five more spin-off films. The Conjuring 3: The Devil Made Me Do It is expected to debut in September and should bring The Conjuring Universe over the $2-billion mark at the box office.

The Conjuring films themselves tell the story of Ed and Lorraine Warren, a real-life couple who began investigating paranormal activities in the 1960s. The first two Conjuring films are based on files from some of their most terrifying experiences, while the other films in the universe, including Annabelle and The Nun, serve as origin stories for the demonic entities haunting the Warrens.

You can watch all The Conjuring Universe movies in the order that they released in theatres. That’s always fun. But a more interesting and perhaps even horrifying viewing experience is to watch them in the order of events that happen (aka chronologically). Allow us to explain.

The Conjuring Universe: Chronological order

To skip the spoilers, check out our at-a-glance version of this guide at the bottom.

NOTE: THERE ARE SPOILERS BELOW.

Warner Bros. Pictures

The Nun (2018)

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The Nun takes place first in The Conjuring Universe – in 1952 at a monastery in Romania. After a local finds the body of a nun at the footsteps of the monastery, the Vatican dispatches Father Burke (Demian Bichir) and Irene (Taissa Farmiga), a young nun who has yet to take her vows, to investigate. Once there, the pair must explore the centuries-old complex and the origins of a demon named Valak.

Now, this isn’t official, but the internet seems to believe Irene may be Lorraine Warren. The actors playing both characters are sisters and look alike. The characters themselves would be the same age, are both religious, and they experience visions. As we said, this hasn’t been confirmed, but it’s something to keep in mind as you watch The Conjuring Universe and connect dots.

Gary Dauberman wrote The Nun, and it was directed by Corin Hardy. Dauberman is also known for wring the new IT and IT: Chapter Two.

Warner Bros. Pictures

Annabelle: Creation (2017)

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Set in 1955, Annabelle: Creation is actually a prequel to 2014’s Annabelle. It tells the story of a dollmaker named Samuel Mullins (Anthony LaPaglia) and his wife (Miranda Otto). After the closing of a local orphanage, they open their home to six orphans and Sister Charlotte (Stephanie Sigman). But, this being a horror film, the orphans are asked not to go into the room of the Mullins’ deceased daughter. Almost immediately, one polio-stricken girl, Janice (Talitha Bateman), finds a way in and releases a once-contained evil.

Keep an eye out for clues and tie-ins to other films in the universe. For instance, we spotted Valak, as the demon nun, in a photograph.

Also, Gary Dauberman wrote Anabelle: Creation and Annabelle, while David Sanberg, who also did Shazam and Lights Out, directed this film.

Warner Bros. Pictures

Annabelle (2014)

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Set 12 years after Anabelle: Creation, the first Annabelle film is directed by John Leonetti and begins with a young doctor (Ward Horton) who gives his pregnant wife, Mia (Annabelle Wallis), a rare doll – Annabelle – that she’s wanted to complete her incredibly creepy doll collection. Soon after, the couple experience a horrible tragedy, forcing them to trash the doll and flee to a new apartment. But Annabelle follows them.

Janice, the girl with polio in Anabelle: Creation, also makes an appearance in this film, though she is nothing like her former self.

Warner Bros. Pictures

The Conjuring (2013)

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The first film in The Conjuring Universe is actually the fourth film, chronologically. It’s also the first to focus on Ed (Patrick Wilson) and Lorraine Warren (Taissa Farmiga). They come to the aid of the Perron family, who’ve moved into an old farmhouse and begun to experience violent paranormal attacks. We also see a bit of Annabelle, who is stored in Warrens’ artifact room.

James Wan, co-creator of the Saw and Insidious franchises and a producer on most of The Conjuring Universe films, directed The Conjuring. But the film’s script was written by brothers Chad and Carey Hayes.

Warner Bros. Pictures

Annabelle Comes Home (2019)

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Annabelle Comes Home shows the immediate aftermath of the Warrens taking Annabelle from nurses who were gifted the doll and now claim it’s the source of paranormal activity they’ve been experiencing. The story then jumps to the future, about a year after the events in The Conjuring, and we see the Warrens hire Mary Ellen (Madison Iseman) as a babysitter for their daughter Judy (Mckenna Grace).

Because babysitters can never have a nice quiet evening in horror films, Annabelle and several other spirits and demons locked in the artifact room accidentally escape during the course of a single night – and all while the Warrens are away from home.

Gary Dauberman once again wrote this Annabelle installment, along with James Wan, and he directed it, as well.

Warner Bros. Pictures

The Curse of La Llorona (2019)

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The Curse of La Llorona is set in 1977 and follows widowed social worker Anna Garcia (Linda Cardellini). After Anna investigates the home of a traumatised family, she recommends that two young boys are taken from their mother, Patricia (Patricia Velásquez). When the boys turn up dead that night, she soon learns their mother was protecting them from a vengeful Mexican spirit who is now after her children, Samantha (Jaynee-Lynne Kinchen) and Chris (Roman Christou).

There’s a priest in this film who also appeared in Annabelle. We also briefly hear about the Warrens in one scene. But, other than that, the Curse of La Llorona is more of a standalone production that’s technically part of The Conjuring Universe, but it doesn’t quite feel like one.

Michael Chaves wrote this film, while Mikki Daughtry and Tobias Iaconis directed it. 

Warner Bros. Pictures

The Conjuring 2 (2016)

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The Conjuring 2 picks up with the Warrens in the aftermath of an investigation into the Amityville murders and a media firestorm that ensued. It’s mostly set in the London suburb of Enfield and features a single mother, Peggy Hodgson (Frances O’Connor), and her family. They begin to experience paranormal events after Peggy’s daughter, Janet (Madison Wolfe), plays with an ouija board. Thankfully, the Warrens can help.

The Conjuring 2 really ties into The Nun, but we don’t want to give too much away, so you’ll just have to watch them both to find out how.

Also, James Wan returned to direct The Conjuring 2. It was written by Chad and Carey Hayes, David Leslie Johnson-McGoldrick, and Wan.

Warner Bros. Pictures

The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It (2020)

The next installment in The Conjuring Universe is slated to release 11 September 2020. It’ll see Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga return as the Warrens. It’s based on the trial of Arne Cheyenne Johnson, who, in 1981, proclaimed his innocence against a murder charge by claiming he was possessed by a demon.

Michael Chaves, who did The Curse of La Llorona, directs this movie, with David Leslie Johnson-McGoldrick serving as the writer.

Julian Terry

Bonus: Conjuring Shorts

As part of the release of Annabelle: Creation in 2017, Warner Bros Pictures announced a contest for participants to create their own short films that could exist within The Conjuring Universe. The winners are available on YouTube.


The Conjuring Universe at a glance

Chronological order

Here is the same list as above, but spoiler-free.

  • The Nun (2018)
  • Annabelle: Creation (2017)
  • Annabelle (2014)
  • The Conjuring (2013)
  • Annabelle Comes Home (2019)
  • The Curse Of La Llorona (2019)
  • The Conjuring 2 (2016)
  • The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It (2020)

Theatrical release order

If you prefer to watch The Conjuring Universe movies in the order that they released in theatres, follow this list:

  • The Conjuring (2013)
  • Annabelle (2014)
  • The Conjuring 2 (2016)
  • Annabelle: Creation (2017)
  • The Nun (2018)
  • The Curse Of La Llorona (2019)
  • Annabelle Comes Home (2019)
  • The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do it (2020)

Did you like this?

Then maybe you’ll like our other movie order viewing guides:

We also have these rumour round-ups on upcoming movies:

Writing by Maggie Tillman.

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