Even aside from its massive box office draw, Avengers: Endgame was more than a movie. It was a bonafide social phenomenon, with people from all walks of life coming together to share in the stories of their favorite characters.
To a certain extent, this anticipation makes sense. Superheroes have been crowdpleasers for nearly a century now, and Captain America, Iron Man, and other heroes in the Marvel Cinematic Universe have been building a following almost as long. Furthermore, Endgame and its predecessors enjoy both consistently competent (if sometimes unremarkable) filmmaking and the full marketing machine of Disney, one of the world’s most powerful corporations.
But as demonstrated by the failure of Universal’s Dark Universe and Warner Bros. so-called DCEU, no one does shared universes like Marvel. Well, Marvel and The Conjuring. Sprung from the 2013 meat-and-potatoes horror film directed by James Wan, The Conjuring Universe has blossomed into an interconnected story across seven films and counting, pitting Catholic heroes against demonic forces.
With the most recent entry Annabelle Comes Home pulling together each of those parts, we might have something like the Endgame phenomenon in a darker, scarier hue.