Between about 1932 and 1950, American movie theaters generally showed two feature-length films for the price of admission: a “double feature.” One of the films would be a major production and the other, a “B movie,” was a cheaply-made filler.
“B movies” rented for a flat fee, regardless of ticket sales. “A movies” commanded a percentage of ticket sales. Unlike “B movie” and “B picture,” the term “A movie” was rarely if ever used, and there was no ”C movie.” There was little risk in producing B movies, but little profit, and the major studios soon stopped making them. A number of independent studios specialized in B movies.
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Last revised: 28 August 2004.