Double feature

The double feature , Also Known As has double-bill , Was a motion picture industry phenomenon in qui theater managers Would Exhibit two movies for the price of one, supplanting year Earlier in size qui one feature movie shorts and various real subject Would Be shown.

Early opera use

Opera houses staged two operas together for the sake of providing long-lasting performance for the audience. This was related to one-act or two-act short operas that were otherwise commercially hard to stage alone. A prominent example is the double-bill of Pagliacci with Cavalleria rusticana first staged on 22 December 1893 by the Met . The two operas have already been performed on a double-bill, a peer group referred to in the operatic world colloquially as “Cav and Pag”. [1]

Origin and format

The double feature originated in the 1930’s. Previous to the 1930’s, the dominant presentation model of the following:

  • One or more live acts
  • An animated cartoon short subject
  • One or more live-action comedy shorts
  • One or more novelty shorts
  • A newsreel
  • The main feature film

With the widespread arrival of sound film in American theaters in 1929, many independent exhibitors dropping the then-dominant presentation model. Movie theaters suffered a downturn in business in the early years of the Great Depression .

They have two movies for the price of one. The tactic worked, the audience considered the cost of a theater of good fortune, and the practice became a standard pattern of programming.

In the typical 1930s double bill, the screening began with a variety program of trailers , a newsreel , a cartoon and / or a short film preceding a low-budget second feature (the B movie ), followed by a short interlude. Lastly, the high-budget main feature (the A movie) ran.

A neighborhood theater has a double feature won over a higher-priced first-run theater with only one feature film. The major studios took part of this, and began to make their own B features using the technicians and sets of the studio and featuring them on their way up or down their way. The major studios also made movie series featuring recurring characters. quote needed ]

Although the double feature put many short comedy producers out of business, it was the primary source of revenue for smaller Hollywood studios, such as Republic and Monogram , that specialized in B movie production. quote needed ]


The Astor Theater in Melbourne has had two features since its opening in 1936.

The double feature arose partly because of a studio practice known as ” block booking ,” a form of tying in which major Hollywood studios required theaters to buy B-movies along with the more desirable A-movies. The US Supreme Court Decided That Was this practice illegal in United States v. Paramount Pictures, Inc. in 1948, contributing to the end of the studio system .

Even after the studio requirements , especially in theaters , especially drive-in theaters , sought double patronage. By the end of the 1940s double features were regular policy at 29 percent of American cinemas with 36 percent having them part-time. After the Paramount Decree the sources of the second feature had changed. [2] The second feature could be:

  • a major studio re-release of an older feature,
  • year older feature re-released from firms That Specialized in Acquiring and rereleasing older movies Such As Realart and Astor Pictures ,
  • a low budget feature contracted from a smaller studio.

James H. Nicholson and Samuel Z. Arkoff FORMED Their American International Pictures with the idea of providing good double feature of two B pictures for Often less than the price of a single A feature, or Taking a lower percentage of the cinema’s larger than the Major studios. [3]

By the 1960s, a double feature of the film was exhibited in a single film feature. However, the James Bond and Matt Helm superspy genre and The Man With No Name and The Stranger spaghetti westerns were re-released together by the main studios.

While most cinemas have discontinued the practice of showing the double feature, it has nostalgia appeal. The Astor Theater in St Kilda , Melbourne , Australia , established in 1936, continues the tradition of the double feature.

Short films still occasionally precede the feature presentation ( Pixar films feature feature a short, for example), but the double feature is effectively extinguished in first-run movie theaters in the US

Following the success of Framed Roger Rabbit , three Roger Rabbit cartoon shorts were created to be shown as preludes to other Disney films, in an effort to revive the viewing of cartoon shorts before major films. Only three were made and the scheme failed. [4]

Many repertory houses continue to show two movies, usually related to some way, back to back.

During the 1990s, many VHS tapes that showed two movies on the same tape were self-named as “double features.”

In 2007, filmmakers Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez released their individual films Planet Terror and Death A double feature under the title Grindhouse , editing together with fake operating film trailers and 1970s-era snips in order to replicate the experience of viewing a dual feature in a grindhouse theater. Although Grindhouse received critical acclaim, it was a complete financial flop in the United States. The films were screened in international markets and on DVD.

Another recent double feature was the Duel Project , when Japanese directors Ryuhei Kitamura and Yukihiko Tsutsumi created competing films to be shown and voted on by the first audience.

More recently, two double features of re-released popular movies hit the big screen. The first re-release of Toy Story and Toy Story 2 that started October 2, 2009 before the release of Toy Story 3 in the following year. Both films were in Disney’s Digital 3D in select movie theaters. [5] The second double feature, and the most recent one, was a re-release of Twilight and The Twilight Saga: New Moon for one night only, on June 29, 2010, shortly before the midnight screening of The Twilight Saga: Eclipse in select theaters. [6] In February 2011, it was announced that the 14th Pokémonmovie Victini and the Black Hero: Zekrom and Victini and the White Hero: Reshiram , due in July, would be released as a double-feature, though both movies are actually “versions” of each other designs varying between the version being watched.


  1. Jump up^ Phillips-Matz, p. 196
  2. Jump up^ p.78 Schatz, ThomasHistory of the American Cinema: American Cinema in the 1940s. Boom and Bust Volume 6University of California Press
  3. Jump up^ p.124 Doherty,Unwin-HymanThomasTeenagers and Teenpics1988
  4. Jump up^ Double FeatureThe Dark Crystal + Who Framed Roger Rabbit, September 10, 2009
  5. Jump up^ Hartford Inform’Toy Story’ Re-Release Provides Trip Down Memory Lane [ permanent dead link ] , October 22, 2009
  6. Jump up^ “Twilight / New Moon Combo (one-night-only)” . Mojo Box Office . Retrieved 2011-11-22 .