Here is my review of Annabelle, posted elsewhere when I watched it back in April:
Annabelle - Dull, cliche-ridden horror tale set in the late 1960's. Young couple Mia (Annabelle Wallis) and John (Ward Horton) are expecting their first child. One dark night, right after seeing a TV story about the Manson family no less, the couple are attacked in their own home by a pair of deranged cult members. One cultist is shot by police, while the other, a young woman named Annabelle, kills herself, and her blood drips on a large, rather ugly, doll belonging to Mia. After Mia and John's baby daughter is born, the couple begin experiencing menacing supernatural occurrences, seemingly tied to the doll. Also featuring Tony Amendola and Alfre Woodard.
This was a quickie spin-off to the hit 2013 film The Conjuring, where the doll was seen in the artifact room of that film's psychic investigators. This film seems underwritten, chock full of ghost movie tropes from the past decade, and with dull and uninteresting characters. Sometimes it seems the plot may be going somewhere different, but it never does, and everything that happens is predictable. However, this was made cheaply enough, and released at the right time, to become highly profitable for Warner Brothers, with a worldwide gross of over 250 million on a budget of 6.5 million. Naturally there's a sequel on the way, to go along with the proper sequel The Conjuring 2 released in 2016, and there's an announced spin-off from that movie, too! 4/10
I tend to agree. They played it safe, and a twist, involving the supporting characters, would have been welcome. You hit the nail on the head on the profitability of these films.