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All established B units to provide films for the expanding second-feature market.Block booking became standard practice: to get access to a studio's attractive A pictures, many theaters were obliged to rent the company's entire output for a season.In either usage, most B movies represent a particular genre—the Western was a Golden Age B movie staple, while low-budget science-fiction and horror films became more popular in the 1950s.
These cheaper films (not yet called B movies) allowed the studios to derive maximum value from facilities and contracted staff in between a studio's more important productions, while also breaking in new personnel.
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.
Studios in the minor leagues of the industry, such as Columbia Pictures and Film Booking Offices of America (FBO), focused on exactly those sorts of cheap productions.
Their movies, with relatively short running times, targeted theaters that had to economize on rental and operating costs, particularly small-town and urban neighborhood venues, or "nabes".