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  • Writer's picturePaul Mcvay

There's No Business Like Show Business When You Do Business With A.I.P-The 1975 Exhibitors Package

One of the most exceptional exhibitors packages ever sent out by American International Pictures was the 1975 Preview Of Coming Attractions. A bulky folder shaped like a colossal movie ticket measuring 9¾ X 14½. Inside are twelve equally sized advertisements, shaped like movie tickets, printed in the gaudiest print colors available at that time on quarter-inch cardboard stock. Eleven of these feature A.I.P.'s 1975 roster of pictures, and one is for Cinerama pictures to be distributed by A.I.P.

Each "ticket" has two sides, and each side is color mismatched from its flipside. It is an eye-popping display of not only the printing capability of the era but a sly mechanism used against the eyes intended to see them. Such was this device executed that theater owners probably could not help themselves from turning each movie ticket over again and again to take it all in.

I describe this package as exceptional because rarely would so much money be spent on this kind of advertising. Keep this in mind. Only Exhibitors (i.e., theater owners and managers) would see this. It was not created for the general public. This package would have also been handed out at meetings such as the NATO (National Association of Theater Owners) conventions held back then at far-flung locales like Kansas City, MO. Don't laugh. The theater owner conventions held in Kansas City, MO, were once an influential and integral part of the movie business. If theater owners attending cons in Kansas City didn't book your pictures, you would be dead in the water come opening day. Today, everything happens in Las Vegas. Alas, I digress.

American International was always at the forefront when it came to marketing, and they never skimped on the cost of advertising their pictures. Even their trade ads for movies (again, meant for the eyes of exhibitors only) made all of the other independents look bland. A.I.P. used splashes of color (extremely expensive at the time) to hawk their flicks in the pages of Variety and other trade mags, while other distributors went more economically—straight Black & White. It wasn't until Cannon began spending tens of thousands of dollars on promotion in the 1980s that A.I.P. was finally bested.

Here, then, in my estimation, is one of the most impressive and visually sumptuous exhibitor packages ever put together for the attention of a small group of individuals. It could have only been done by A.I.P. and only in the 1970s. These hi-rez scans attempt to stay true to the original color, but such were the absurd color combos; it was challenging to show them as they are. In the spirit of sharing this fantastic piece of movie marketing history, I assume you will forgive some of the tech shortcomings.

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