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Creator / American International Pictures

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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 did coincidentally enough appear 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.

No less than 34 of their films have ended up on Mystery Science Theater 3000, which is the highest for any single source on that show.

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.

In 2020, MGM revived AIP as as a label for films acquired by MGM for distribution (both digitally and theatrically).

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    Films produced and/or distributed by AIP (pre-1980) 

    Foreign films dubbed and/or released by AIP 

     Films distributed by American International Pictures (post-2021) 

Alternative Title(s): AIP