The ARKOFF Formula and the Peter Pan Syndrome


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Myself . By T.V. Antony Raj

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In 1954, James H. Nicholson, and Samuel Z. Arkoff, an entertainment lawyer founded American Releasing Corporation (ARC). They released their first film “The Fast and the Furious” starring John Ireland and Dorothy Malone in 1955.

From ARC, Nicholson and Arkoff launched a film production company, American International Pictures (AIP) in April 1954. Perceiving that other filmmakers were overlooking the lucrative teenage drive-in sector, AIP focused on producing several low-budget, youth-oriented movies. They exploited the up and coming juvenile delinquent genre with movies like Daddy-O, High School Hellcats, Female Jungle, Reform School Girl, Runaway Daughters, and Girls in Prison. Additionally they distributed independently produced low-budget films bundled as double features, particularly appealing to the teenagers of the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s.

In a 1980s talk show, Samuel Z. Arkoff spelled out his tried-and-true “ARKOFF formula” for producing a successful low-budget movie.

Action (exciting, entertaining drama)
Revolution (novel or controversial themes and ideas)
Killing (a modicum of violence)
Oratory (notable dialogue and speeches)
Fantasy (acted-out fantasies common to the audience)
Fornication (sex appeal, for young adults)

Soon after, the AIP promotion division envisaged a strategy known as “The Peter Pan Syndrome”:

a) A younger child will watch anything an older child will watch.
b) An older child will not watch anything a younger child will watch.
c) A girl will watch anything a boy will watch.
d) A boy will not watch anything a girl will watch.

Consequently, to capture the largest audience they zeroed in on the 19-year old male.

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One thought on “The ARKOFF Formula and the Peter Pan Syndrome

  1. Pingback: Sandra Dee and the Son of Cthulhu | Bill Chance

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