IT Writer Gary Dauberman To Help Turn Screen Gems Into A House Of Horror

The filmmaker behind some of horror’s biggest franchises has signed a first-look deal with the Sony Pictures division.

By Ryan Scott · @RyanScottWrites · December 4, 2023, 6:31 PM EST
Image courtesy of Warner Bros.

One of the filmmakers responsible for some of the biggest horror hits of the last decade is now going to be responsible for turning Sony’s Screen Gems into a player in the genre space. Gary Dauberman, the writer of the blockbuster It films and director of Annabelle Comes Home, has signed a first-look deal with the studio, per The Hollywood Reporter. But the deal is part of a later push by the studio, and Dauberman now figures to be a big part of what comes next.

The report notes that Sony is trying to get the Screen Gems to become more productive overall. The label focuses on lower-budget films and, as it happens, horror tends to fit that bill. Plus, horror has been the most reliable thing at the box office over the last couple of years. As such, this deal with Dauberman is expected to help jumpstart the initiative, as Sony (via Screen Gems) will have the first bite at the apple for any future feature projects from the mind of Dauberman. Screen Gems president Ashley Brucks had this to say about it:

“Involved in some of the biggest horror franchises in the last 10 years, Gary has an extraordinary ability to create and build out terrifying worlds and create a visceral experience through thoughtfully crafted story and characters. He’s a force in the horror genre space and we are thrilled to be partnering with him at Screen Gems as he continues to come up with new and creative ways of entertaining and scaring audiences.”

Dauberman had this to add:

“I am thrilled to be part of the exciting new chapter of horror at Sony Pictures and Screen Gems. I’m truly inspired by Ashley’s energy, instincts, and vision for the genre space, and I thank Josh and Sanford for their trust and support, and their commitment to horror fans.”


Dauberman has an impressive resume, to be certain. As a screenwriter, he has shaped some massive franchises, most notably The Conjuring universe. Dauberman wrote the Annabelle trilogy as well as The Nun, ensuring that the franchise could have a future outside of the main installments. He also wrote It and It Chapter Two, which rank as some of the biggest horror movies ever. Dauberman has been dabbling with directing more in recent years. Aside from Annabelle Comes Home, he directed an adaptation of Stephen King’s Salem’s Lot, which is currently sitting on the shelf at Warner Bros.

Every studio in town is trying to lock down big-name talent to keep the horror coming. Zach Cregger (Barbarian) has a deal with New Line Cinema, with multiple projects such as Companion and Weapons in development under his watch. Paramount, meanwhile, has cut a deal with Parker Finn (Smile), and part of that deal includes Smile 2, which is due to hit theaters in 2024.

We’ll see if Dauberman can continue to work his magic at his new home. Either way, it means more investment in horror from another major studio. That can only be a good thing.