Cinedigm to Reinvent AIP Exploitation Films as Part of Shared Universe

Cinedigm is partnering with producers Lou Arkoff, Jeff Katz and Hal Sadoff to reinvent 10 classic exploitation films from the American International Pictures library.

The novel approach calls for the 10 movies, all written by Katz (Snakes on a Plane), to be part of one larger, interconnected story arc. The films are scheduled to be shot contiguously beginning in September, with directors and stars to be announced shortly.

“In a unique twist on the current fil-making model, all 10 films will shoot back-to-back and share a single movie universe with a big recurring cast of antiheroes, monsters and bad girls,” Arkoff, son of AIP founder Samuel Arkoff, said in a statement. “This format will allow our casts and directors to build a strong relationship with the characters – and our audience – over the course of several films.”

Founded in 1954 as American Releasing Corporation, American International Pictures was among the first production companies to realize the buying power of a teenage audience, and tapped into that with low-budget comedy, action, sci-fi and horror films, frequently packaged as double features. Many of its early releases embraced the juvenile-delinquent genre, rock 'n' roll and drag racing, while its '60s output moved into horror, with Roger Corman's adaptations of Edgar Allan Poe.

Cinedigm's project will feature films based on Girls in Prison (1956), The Saga of the Viking Women and Their Voyage to the Waters of the Great Sea Serpent (1957), The Brain Eaters (1958), The She Creature (1956), Teenage Cave Man (1958), Reform School Girl (1957), The Undead (1957), War of the Colossal Beast (1958), The Cool and the Crazy (1958) and Day the World Ended (1955).

The company will distribute the movies across multiple platforms, including limited theatrical release, DVD, television, digital and CONtv, Cinedigm's planned digital network aimed at the comic convention market.

"It's been a very exciting opportunity to experiment with this hybrid format -- binge-viewing at the feature film level -- and it's something I think audiences are more than ready for,” Katz said. “Each movie in this series has a complete beginning, middle and end, yet watched over all 10 films we're really telling one larger, epic story. These are very much, at heart, indie comic book movies. Unpretentious. R-rated. It's fantastic to have a distribution model that fits that sensibility."

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