In the aftermath of RKO taking heavy fi nancial losses on expensive productions, the studio hired Val Lewton to form a production unit tasked with producing low-budget horror fi lms to emulate the lucrative business in horror done by its rival, Universal. Between March 1, 1942, and August 17, 1945 the Lewton Unit at RKO produced eleven low-budget features, nine of them marketed as horror fi lms. The fi rst, Cat People , did remarkably good business, and the series as a whole fared well fi nancially.