A new programming scheme developed that would soon become standard practice: a newsreel, a short and/or serial, and a cartoon, followed by a double feature.
The second feature, which actually screened before the main event, cost the exhibitor less per minute than the equivalent running time in shorts.
With the B films rented at a flat fee (rather than the box office percentage basis of A films), rates could be set virtually guaranteeing the profitability of every B movie.
As the average running time of top-of-the-line films increased, so did that of B pictures.
The "King of the Bs", Roger Corman, produced and directed The Raven (1963) for American International Pictures.
Vincent Price headlines a cast of veteran character actors along with a young Jack Nicholson.
The majors' "clearance" rules favoring their affiliated theaters prevented the independents' timely access to top-quality films; the second feature allowed them to promote quantity instead.
The additional movie also gave the program "balance"—the practice of pairing different sorts of features suggested to potential customers that they could count on something of interest no matter what specifically was on the bill.