[[quoteright:350:[[Series/{{Cheers}} http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/stagger_9346.jpg]]]]
Also known as "staggered" or "staggered but equal" billing. When two stars of equal prominence [[DuelingStarsMovie star in a movie together]], in posters and credits billing, the two names may be staggered next to each other on the same title card -- with the one on the left being lower, the one on the right being higher. This way, reading left to right gives one actor prominence, and reading top to bottom will give the other prominence. "Staggered but equal billing" serves to avoid causing tension between the two A-list lead actors over who is more important. Often, they will receive the same payment for their roles as well.

In FilmPosters, another result of a billing conflict could be a MisplacedNamesPoster. If it happens when their roles aren't equally important, it could be a case of BillingDisplacement.

Diagonal billing became popular when it was used in ''Film/TheToweringInferno'', with Creator/PaulNewman and Creator/SteveMcQueenActor. They also received the same salary and ''the same number of lines'' (at [=McQueen's=] insistence). The idea was originally proposed when it was thought that Newman and [=McQueen=] [[WhatCouldHaveBeen would star in]] ''Film/ButchCassidyAndTheSundanceKid'', but dropped when Creator/RobertRedford was cast instead of [=McQueen=].



* As detailed above, ''Film/TheToweringInferno'', starring Paul Newman and Steve [=McQueen=], is the TropeMaker in film. [=McQueen=]'s role as the fire chief was expanded from a smaller role at his insistence so as to equal Newman's character.
* ''Film/{{Jaws}}'' has a three-man variant of this, with Roy Scheider at lower left, Robert Shaw at center top, and Richard Dreyfuss at lower right.
* Robert [=DeNiro=] and Al Pacino in ''Film/RighteousKill''.
* The poster for ''Film/InsideMan'' manages to do something similar with ''three'' actors: Denzel Washington, Clive Owen and Jodie Foster. Washington's picture is furthest to the left while Owen's is nearest the top, while their names are angled in such a way that Foster's name is furthest to the left and Washington's is nearest the top.
* In the 2002 film of ''Film/{{Chicago}}'', Renée Zellweger and Catherine Zeta-Jones.
* In ''Film/SkyCaptainAndTheWorldOfTomorrow'', Jude Law and Gwyneth Paltrow get diagonal billing, while Creator/AngelinaJolie gets the honored AndStarring position on the same card. [[http://vimeo.com/17006903 See it here at 00:18.]]
* Yul Brynner and Richard Benjamin in ''Film/{{Westworld}}''.
* ''Boeing Boeing'' had the names of Tony Curtis and Creator/JerryLewis criss-crossed.
* Creator/LillianGish and Creator/BetteDavis, who combined for 131 years in the movie business when they co-starred together in ''Film/TheWhalesOfAugust'' (1987), get diagonal billing in the opening credits. Davis is billed first in the closing credits.
* ''Film/MadMaxFuryRoad'' doesn't feature this on the poster (where SupportingProtagonist Creator/TomHardy is billed before Creator/CharlizeTheron), but does in the actual opening credits.
* ''Film/HiroshimaMonAmour'' does this in the opening titles for leads Emmanuelle Riva and Eiji Okada, who together have approximately 99% of the spoken dialogue in the movie. (Posters invariably give Riva either top billing or sole billing.)
* This trope dates at least as far back as 1941. In ''Love Crazy'', Creator/WilliamPowell and Creator/MyrnaLoy, who were starring in [[ThoseTwoActors their tenth film together]] (eventually they made 14), were billed this way. That same year, co-stars Creator/CharlesBoyer and Creator/OliviaDeHavilland were billed this way in ''Film/HoldBackTheDawn''. Also that same year, Creator/HedyLamarr and [[Creator/JimmyStewart James Stewart]] were billed this way in ''Film/ComeLiveWithMe''.
* ''Film/OutrageousFortune'' had an unusual variation to ensure equal billing for its stars: Creator/ShelleyLong got top billing west of the Mississippi, and Creator/BetteMidler got it on the east side.
* Ralph Richardson and John Mills in ''Film/TheWrongBox''

* Adam Scott and Ken Marino in the closing credits of ''Series/PartyDown''.
* Penny Marshall and Cindy Williams in the ''Series/LaverneAndShirley'' opening title sequence.
* Ted Danson and Creator/ShelleyLong in ''Series/{{Cheers}}''.
* The Sprouse Brothers on ''Series/TheSuiteLifeOfZackAndCody''.
* In a related way, the VanityPlate for Mike and Bill Productions (as on ''Series/GroundedForLife'') alternated whose name was in huge letters on its own line: "mike and BILL" or "MIKE and bill".
* Creator/BellaThorne and [[Creator/ZendayaColeman Zendaya]] in ''Series/ShakeItUp'' and the [[Creator/DisneyChannel Disney Channel Original Movie]] ''Frenemies''.
* Jon Cryer and Creator/AshtonKutcher in ''Series/TwoAndAHalfMen''.
* On ''What Not To Wear'' Stacy and Clinton have diagonal billing first as host and then as stylist on the first and second frames of the closing credits.
* Mads Mikkelsen and Hugh Dancy in ''Series/{{Hannibal}}''.
* Emily Deschanel and David Boreanaz on ''Series/{{Bones}}''.
* Creator/MatthewMcConaughey and Creator/WoodyHarrelson on ''Series/{{True Detective}}''.
* Creator/SethGreen and Givoanni Ribisi on ''Series/{{Dads}}''.
* Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman on ''Series/{{Sherlock}}''.
* Creator/DianeKruger and Demian Bichir as detective partners on ''[[Series/TheBridgeUS The Bridge]]''; the names also ''alternate'' positions on the diagonal each episode. Especially appropriate for a series with a strong duality motif (crime on the two sides of the US/Mexico border).
* Creator/ChristianSlater and Steve Zahn as brothers and business partners in Series/MindGames.
* Gillian Jacobs and Paul Rust on Love.
* Creator/PaulGiamatti and Creator/DamianLewis on ''Series/{{Billions}}''.
* Drew Barrymore and Timothy Olyphant as husband and wife in ''Series/SantaClaritaDiet''.

* Posters for the 1936 Broadway musical ''Red, Hot and Blue!'' placed Creator/EthelMerman's and Creator/JimmyDurante's names in crisscrossing bands because of a billing dispute. (When the two starred again in the 1939 flop ''Stars in Your Eyes'', Merman was billed first.)

* Creator/{{Filmation}} utilized an interesting variant from 1969 to 1982 in the opening and closing sequences of its shows: the word "Produced By" or "Executive Producers" would be shown with the names of two of its three co-founders Lou Scheimer and Norm Prescott revolving around it. [[https://daytonward.files.wordpress.com/2013/10/endtitle.png?w=640]]