AIP's first logo.
AIP's second logo.
American International Pictures (AIP) was a B-Movie
production company based in Los Angeles
. It was founded in 1954 by James H. Nicholson (no relation to Jack Nicholson
, who appeared in several AIP movies) and Samuel Z. Arkoff as American Releasing Corporation, and changed its name to American International Pictures two years later.
AIP's 1950s films, released as double features to drive-in theaters
, were largely targeted towards the youth market, and included many teenage melodramas and science fiction movies. Many of these were produced or directed by Roger Corman
or Bert I Gordon
, and had lurid but memorable titles and a focus on "edgy" youth subcultures
and trends like Rock & Roll
and hot rod culture. This was hardly an accident: coming up with a title and subject matter
was how production usually began at AIP. In an interview in the '80s, Arkoff described the so-called "ARKOFF
formula" that AIP had used during the height of its popularity, which went as follows:
- Action (exciting, entertaining drama),
- Revolution (anti-establishment themes and ideas),
- Killing (just that),
- Oratory (highly memorable and quotable dialogue and lines),
- Fantasy (Wish Fulfillment),
- and Fornication (sex appeal).
The studio's marketing strategy was likewise known as "Peter Pan
Syndrome", which stated that targeting young men in their teens and early twenties was the best way to appeal to the greatest audience. The logic was that little kids will watch pretty much anything that older kids will, but older kids won't watch "kiddie" movies
; likewise, girls will watch pretty much anything that boys will, but boys won't watch "chick flicks"
In the early 1960s, AIP produced a series of horror films inspired by works of Edgar Allan Poe
, and began releasing many dubbed foreign films (primarily lowbrow Italian movies and Japanese Kaiju
films) in the US.note
In the mid '60s, AIP launched the "beach party" genre, which helped turn Annette Funicello and Frankie Avalon into teen idols
. The beach movies were succeeded later in the decade by movies about bikers and hippies. With the formation of the American International Television (AIP-TV) unit in 1964, television became as important a market as movie theaters for AIP's films.
James H. Nicholson resigned from the company in 1972 (and died soon later). AIP caught the Blaxploitation
trend around this time, but in the middle of the decade tried to move into higher-budget fare, with little success. Arkoff sold AIP in 1979 to Filmways
, and under other names AIP continued to exist as units of Filmways and Orion Pictures
. Today, MGM
owns the rights to most of AIP's films.
Films produced by AIP include:
Foreign films dubbed and/or released by AIP include: