[[quoteright:170:[[WesternAnimation/TheNightmareBeforeChristmas http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/nightmare_8.png]]]]
[[caption-width-right:170:Wait, what ''did'' Creator/TimBurton do, then? [[note]]He wrote the story it was based on, created the designs and produced the film.[[/note]]]]

->''"It was nothing but producers then. Sam Goldwyn..." Willy started to wheeze at the name. "The ''Goldwyn'' touch. That's what his publicity people called his picture. ''His'' pictures? Finally, I said to him, "Sam, has there ever been a picture with the Goldwyn touch that I didn't direct?"''
-->-- '''Creator/GoreVidal''' (quoting Creator/WilliamWyler), ''Palimpsest''

When a work -- usually a film -- is better known as the work of its producer than as the work of its director. Often a result of marketing, as the name of a well-known producer may be used prevalently in advertising a film where the director is a rookie or largely unknown. In some cases, the director can also be displaced by the screenwriter if the writer is well-known (and neither the producers nor director are). More rarely, all of these can be displaced by an actor if the movie is seen as a star-vehicle.

This trope tends to happen more in America than elsewhere due to Hollywood being a very producer-focused system, as opposed to other countries where directors get much more clout. UsefulNotes/TheAuteurTheory was formed to avert and correct this trope however, and it has generally succeeded in giving more attention to the work of directors and craftsmen.



[[folder: Films -- Animated]]

* Creator/TimBurton's ''WesternAnimation/TheNightmareBeforeChristmas'' - actually directed by Henry Selick. Burton merely produced it. ...which helped confuse people fifteen years later when Selick's ''WesternAnimation/{{Coraline}}'' was being advertised. The marketing stated correctly that it was from the director of ''Nightmare''. Because of the earlier muddled marketing of ''Nightmare'', people mistakenly assumed ''Coraline'' was a Creator/TimBurton film (in reality, Burton had precisely nothing to do with it). It got to the point where Creator/NeilGaiman had to [[http://journal.neilgaiman.com/2009/02/by-way-of-preamble.html address this in his blog]]. This was probably intentional by the Marketing Team since Tim Burton's name pretty much sells to his own little niche, whereas the only people who have heard of Henry Selick tend to be hardcore animation fans.
* If you talk about the earlier films in the Franchise/DisneyAnimatedCanon, nearly everybody in the world will think about Creator/WaltDisney. Only hardcore animation fans know the names of the actual directors (Walt himself rarely directed cartoons and never directed any of the movies). It didn't help matters that when much of the early Disney animated films were released, they were generally made by a team of segment directors under the command of a supervising director, who was himself answerable to Walt. Under that system, each segment director would direct a single portion of the film, and then report back to the supervising director so he could edit all the portions into a single, cohesive film.
* Creator/JohnLasseter is given sole director credit on ''WesternAnimation/{{Cars 2}}'' despite the fact that he was brought in midway through production to replace original director Brad Lewis (who was fired due to lackluster material). Lewis still gets a separate co-director credit though.
* ''WesternAnimation/StrangeMagic'' is produced by Creator/GeorgeLucas and comes from Lucasfilm Animation, so naturally, Lucas' name overshadows that of director Gary Rydstrom, who is primarily a sound designer and never directed a full-length film before.


[[folder: Films -- Live-Action ]]

* Everything Creator/RayHarryhausen ever worked on.
* Creator/StevenSpielberg's involvement tends to overshadow the contributions of many films' actual directors.
** ''Film/{{Poltergeist}}'' was directed by Creator/TobeHooper. Most people think of it as a Spielberg film, though he was busy with ''Film/{{ET|The Extraterrestrial}}'' at the time. Spielberg was on set for much of the production (and even saved actor Oliver Robbins' life when the clown prop nearly choked him to death); Hooper was battling a cocaine addiction at the time, so he likely needed someone on set to keep an eye on him. Spielberg also came up with the story, wrote the screenplay and was the major producer, also taking part in the post-production. He said that he and Hooper had a very special relationship, as he had a lot of input, and he has gone out of his way to discredit the rumour that he actually directed the film.
** ''Film/TheGoonies'' was directed by Creator/RichardDonner but was produced by Spielberg. As an adventure starring children in the lead roles, it does seem typical of early-80s Spielberg movies.
** ''Film/{{Gremlins}}'' was directed by Creator/JoeDante, written by Creator/ChrisColumbus and produced by Steven Spielberg, but it is commonly thought to have been directed by Spielberg himself.
** ''Film/YoungSherlockHolmes'' was executive-produced by Spielberg, written by Columbus and directed by Barry Levinson.
** ''Film/BatteriesNotIncluded'' was also executive produced by Spielberg, yet directed by Matthew Robinson.
* Anything Creator/JuddApatow has produced (but not directed).
* Tim Burton also got this with the releases of ''Film/JamesAndTheGiantPeach'' and ''WesternAnimation/{{Nine}}.'' He served as a producer for both films, along with Creator/TimurBekmambetov on the latter. He also produced ''Film/CabinBoy'', which was directed by Chris Elliott. He ''was'' supposed to direct, but he was busy with ''Film/EdWood''.
* Creator/GeorgeLucas:
** ''Film/TheEmpireStrikesBack'' and ''Film/ReturnOfTheJedi'' are viewed as Lucas's works (and they are, in a way), but they were directed by Irvin Kershner and Richard Marquand, respectively. However, this has been less true of ''Empire'' in recent years; Lucas had a very hands-off role in its production, leaving those duties to Kershner and producer Gary Kurtz. In the wake of the prequel trilogy, his critics have been fond of pointing out that the movie he had the least creative involvement with is also considered the best.
** ''Film/ReturnOfTheJedi'' is even more contested. After ''Empire'' went WAY over budget and schedule, Lucas decided to be part of ''Jedi''. He was on set for the whole film and some say his relationship with director Marquand was at points bad (to the extent that original DP Alan Hume is said to have quit the last week in protest) and there are talks about how he wanted credit as a second unit director for it.
** ''Film/TheStarWarsHolidaySpecial'' is frequently blamed on Creator/GeorgeLucas, even though he had nothing to do with it beyond writing a basic story outline for CBS.
** For that matter, Lucas gets most of the blame for ''Film/HowardTheDuck'' (Willard Huyck), ''Film/{{Willow}}'' (Creator/RonHoward), ''Film/TheRadiolandMurders'' (Mel Smith) and ''Film/RedTails'' (Anthony Hemingway); he executive produced all four and did come up with the stories for ''Willow'' and ''Radioland Murders'', but he didn't write the scripts or direct them.
* With the exception of ''Film/TheShining'', which everybody knows as the work of Creator/StanleyKubrick, and ''maybe'' ''Film/StandByMe'' (Creator/RobReiner), all of the films based on Creator/StephenKing novels are more popularly associated with him than their directors. Unsurprising if you look at [[BilledAboveTheTitle what happens to his novels]]... With that in mind it makes one wonder how ''Literature/TheLangoliers'' isn't commonly affiliated with its director considering the DVD cover where, in massive ''outlined, metallic'' letters, the name of Creator/TomHolland can be seen clear as day, taking over two-thirds of the credits.
* ''Film/{{District 9}}'': Creator/PeterJackson's involvement in the film was a major selling point leading up to the release, due to it being Creator/NeillBlomkamp's directorial debut. Since its release, however, Blomkamp's stock as risen, and ''District 9'' is recognized as his film. It helps that the film is set in and about Blomkamp's native South Africa, while Jackson is famously Kiwi.
* Victor Fleming is the credited director of both ''Film/GoneWithTheWind'' and ''Film/TheWizardOfOz'', but they each went through several different directors and are now mostly remembered as the work of their producers: David O. Selznick for ''Gone With The Wind'' and Mervyn [=LeRoy=] for ''The Wizard of Oz''.
* The primary creative force behind ''Film/{{Casablanca}}'' was producer Hal B. Wallis, and not director Michael Curtiz.
* Creator/ValLewton produced a series of classic horror films for RKO in the 1940s (''Film/CatPeople'', ''Film/IWalkedWithAZombie'', ''Film/TheLeopardMan'', ''The Curse Of The Cat People'', ''Film/TheBodySnatcher'', ''Film/IsleOfTheDead'', ''Film/TheSeventhVictim'' and ''Film/{{Bedlam}}''). These are almost universally referred to as 'Creator/ValLewton films' rather than being referred to by their directors names.
* ''Film/{{Hero}}'' (Creator/ZhangYimou) and ''Film/{{Hostel}}'' (Creator/EliRoth) were both marketed as "Creator/QuentinTarantino Presents (film name)", owing to his production role in those films although in the case ''Film/{{Hero}}'' his role was limited to "presenting" it to the US audience.
* ''Film/{{Cloverfield}}'' is more commonly associated with Creator/JJAbrams than its director, Creator/MattReeves.
* Creator/NimrodAntal directed ''Film/{{Predators}}'', not Creator/RobertRodriguez
* Creator/MichaelBay has had this happen a lot in recent years, being the producer of horror remakes like ''Film/FridayThe13th2009''. The 2014 ''Film/{{Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles|2014}}'' reboot was directed by Jonathan Liebesman, but was largely seen as a Bay film.
* UsefulNotes/ThomasEdison had a habit of putting his name, and ''only'' his name, in the films he produced.
* When ''Film/FromDuskTillDawn'' came out, some people confused it for a Creator/QuentinTarantino directorial effort, given that he wrote and appears in it, but it was directed by Creator/RobertRodriguez. Since that time, Rodriguez has become more famous as a director and screenwriter, and the film is recognized as part of his oeuvre. Some people even now forget that it was penned by Tarantino, given how uncharacteristic it is of Tarantino's other work.
* ''Film/TheDilemma'' was directed by Creator/RonHoward but you would think that Creator/VinceVaughn was the driving force of the film (seeing how it looks like a lot of Vaughn's other films).
* The Creator/JamesCameron
** The Cameron-produced film ''Film/{{Sanctum}}'' was directed by a first-time director from Australia but many are convinced that Cameron actually directed the film. This has created the same amount of {{Hatedom}} that ''Film/{{Avatar}}'' suffered.
** Cameron co-wrote and co-produced ''Film/StrangeDays'', but it was directed by his then-wife Creator/KathrynBigelow.
** Cameron also co-wrote ''Film/RamboFirstBloodPartII'', though George P. Cosmatos actually directed.
* The Film/JamesBond films are rarely ever viewed as the works of anyone other than Albert Broccoli and Harry Saltzman, and later Michael G. Wilson and Barbara Broccoli. If you want to see a Bond fans head explode, inform them that ''Film/{{Goldeneye}}'' and ''Film/CasinoRoyale2006'' was directed by the same guy, Martin Campbell. When it came to Creator/SamMendes, let's say he put [[SignatureStyle his fingerprints]] all over ''{{Film/Skyfall}}'' and ''{{Film/Spectre}}''.
* Creator/JohnHughes
** Howard Deutch directed ''Film/PrettyInPink'' and ''Film/SomeKindOfWonderful'', but they're viewed as Hughes films (Hughes was the screenwriter).
** This also applies to the four theatrically released ''Film/NationalLampoonsVacation'' films, which were respectively directed by Creator/HaroldRamis, Amy Heckerling, Jeremiah S. Chechik, and Stephen Kessler.
** In addition, it applies to the first three ''Film/HomeAlone'' films, which were directed by Creator/ChrisColumbus (1&2) and Raja Gosnell (3).
* Creator/JonFavreau wrote and starred in ''Film/{{Swingers}}'', and then went on to direct a number of other films, including its SpiritualSuccessor ''Film/{{Made}}'', but it was Creator/DougLiman who actually directed ''Swingers''.
* Some movies that had more than one director tend to get this, especially if one of the directors is more well-known than the other. These examples include:
** ''Film/SlumdogMillionaire'' (directed by Creator/DannyBoyle and Loveleen Tandan)
** ''Film/CityOfGod'' (directed by Fernando Meireilles and Katia Lund)
** ''WesternAnimation/FantasticMrFox'' (directed by Creator/WesAnderson and Mark Gustafson, this is notable in the fact that the film's cinematographer mentioned that Gustafson spent much more time on set working on the animation and with crew while Anderson would direct scenes by e-mail and therefore felt that Anderson's credit shouldn't have been as high as it was)
** ''[[WesternAnimation/BeavisAndButtheadDoAmerica Beavis and Butt-Head Do America]]'' (directed by Creator/MikeJudge and Yvette Kaplan)
** ''Film/CloudAtlas'' (Directed by Creator/TheWachowskis and Tom Tykwer)
* Creator/TylerPerry's ''Film/DiaryOfAMadBlackWoman'' was directed by Darren Grant, but many people believed that Perry directed it himself.
* ''Film/TheMuppets'': The film seems better known for its writing from Jason Segel than Director James Bobin. This partly seems due to the fact that as a professed Muppet fan, he had the ambition of bringing them to the forefront again.
* ''Film/TheCabinInTheWoods'' was co-written and produced by Creator/JossWhedon, but the actual director was Drew Goddard (who was also the other co-writer).
* Though the director of the infamous film ''Film/TheOogielovesInTheBigBalloonAdventure'' was a documentary filmmaker named Matthew Diamond, the real brainchild behind the film was Kenn Viselmann, whose SmallNameBigEgo was so rampant that he even ''named the movie's production company after himself'' (despite no one really knowing who he was).
* ''Film/AustinPowers'' is better known as the work of Creator/MikeMyers, who wrote and starred in the films, than Jay Roach, who directed.
* Due to the success of ''Film/TheDarkKnightSaga'', many people assume Creator/ChristopherNolan has a great deal of control over the ''Superman'' reboot ''Film/ManOfSteel''. In reality, he's just the film's producer, and has said his direct involvement ended pretty much at the stage of story development because he knew director Creator/ZackSnyder was more suited to the ''Superman'' material than he was. Unlike many examples, [[DownplayedTrope this died down over time]], due to [[Film/ThreeHundredRiseOfAnEmpire other movies]] promoting Snyder as "the director of ''Man of Steel''" and Snyder's name being front and center in the campaign for the sequel, ''Film/BatmanVSupermanDawnOfJustice'', with Nolan's name nowhere in sight despite being an executive producer.
** Snyder would later end up being a publicity usurper himself, with his name outshining director Noam Murro's in the promotion of ''Film/ThreeHundredRiseOfAnEmpire'', due to having directed the original film and being the producer.
* ''Film/GentlemenOfFortune'' is often viewed as Creator/GeorgiDanelia movie, but the actual director was much lesser-known Aleksandr Seryj. Georgi Danelia was a co-writer and art director.
* The '50s classic ''Film/TheThingFromAnotherWorld'' was officially directed by Christian Nyby, but is often seen as Producer Creator/HowardHawks's film. How directly Hawks was involved in production has long been debated, even by people who actually worked on the film.
* Though it was directed by Creator/DavidFincher, many still see ''Film/TheSocialNetwork'' as Creator/AaronSorkin's movie.
* The Music/BobDylan documentary ''No Direction Home'' is a messy case. Creator/MartinScorsese is credited as director, and most people just assume he was the driving force behind it. But it was actually Dylan's longtime manager Jeff Rosen who instigated the project and conducted and filmed the interviews and gathered the raw footage. Scorsese's job was to assemble everything into a finished film. Rosen is credited as a co-producer.
* ''Film/MyFavoriteWife'' was billed as "A LEO [=McCAREY=] PRODUCTION [-Directed by Garson Kanin-]." Creator/LeoMcCarey also received credit for co-writing the story.
* ''Film/PlayItAgainSam'' starred Creator/WoodyAllen and was written by him, but the movie was directed by Herbert Ross.
** Allen's BreakthroughHit ''Film/WhatsNewPussycat'' was written by him, but directed by Clive Donner.
** He also starred in ''Film/TheFront'', yet neither wrote, nor directed it.
* Any movie that comes from Ghost House Pictures will be more associated with Creator/SamRaimi than the directors, similar to Creator/MichaelBay and his Platinum Dunes studio mentioned above.
** The trailer for the former company's ''Film/ThePossession'' has an extreme example. In addition to Raimi, it puts more emphasis on the film's ''screenwriters'', Juliet Snowden and Stiles White, over director Ole Bornedal (who's name is basically buried at the end of the trailer).
* ''Film/TheLongestDay'' has only one name in the Blu-Ray cover, that of producer Darryl F. Zanuck. It helps the thing is an EpicMovie with an AllStarCast and ''five'' directors, that only came out because of Zanuck's guidance.
* Knowingly averted by Creator/MelBrooks, who kept his name out of promotional efforts for ''Film/TheElephantMan'' despite producing it, for fear of audiences mistaking it for a comedy film because of his involvement.
* The notorious 1994 ''Film/TheFantasticFour'' movie is known colloquially as "The Creator/RogerCorman ''FF''", despite the fact that he only produced it (Oley Sassone was the real director.)
* Home video releases of the original ''Film/TheOutOfTowners'' have generally tended to play up the name of writer Creator/NeilSimon, while making little-to-no mention of the actual director, Arthur Hiller.
* Creator/OrsonWelles would have been the first to debunk the rumours that he directed ''Film/TheThirdMan''. That was Creator/CarolReed.
* Creator/JohnHuston wrote the screenplay for ''Film/HighSierra'', but Creator/RaoulWalsh directed it.
* Creator/TheWachowskis wrote the script for ''Film/VForVendetta'' and produced ''Film/NinjaAssassin'', but Creator/JamesMcTeigue directed.
* Creator/SergioLeone produced ''Film/MyNameIsNobody'', but Tonino Valerii directed. That said, Leone did direct some scenes uncredited. After the film's release, it was promoted as a Sergio Leone film, much to the frustration of both men.
* Creator/CameronCrowe wrote ''Film/FastTimesAtRidgemontHigh'' based on his novel, but it was directed by Creator/AmyHeckerling.
* Creator/LucBesson was a writer and producer on ''Film/TheTransporter'' and ''Film/DannyTheDog'', but both films were directed by Louis Leterrier.
** Ditto for ''Film/District13'' and ''Film/{{Taken}}'', which were directed by Pierre Morel.
** And ''Film/KissOfTheDragon'', which was directed by Chris Nahon.
* Creator/FrancisFordCoppola wrote the script for ''Film/TheGreatGatsby1974'', which was directed by Jack Clayton.
** He was also a writer on ''Film/{{Patton}}'', which Franklin J. Schaffner directed.
* Creator/TheCoenBrothers wrote the scripts for ''Film/TheNakedMan'' (J.Todd Anderson), ''Film/{{Gambit}}'' (Michael Hoffman) and ''Film/{{Unbroken}}'' (Creator/AngelinaJolie), and, with the exception of the latter, are the primary figures associated with the films.
* Creator/JohnWoo executive-produced and choreographed the action scenes for ''Film/TheReplacementKillers'', which Antoine Fuqua directed.
** He was also a producer on ''Film/BulletproofMonk'', which Paul Hunter directed.
* Creator/JohnCarpenter was involved with ''Film/HalloweenII1981'' and ''Film/HalloweenIIISeasonOfTheWitch'' as a writer, producer and composer, but left directing duties to Rick Rosenthal and Tommy Lee Wallace respectively.
* ''Film/TheRockyHorrorPictureShow'' and its sequel, ''Film/ShockTreatment'' are more often associated with creator and writer, Richard O'Brien rather than director, Jim Sharman.
* ''Film/TheMuppetMovie'' is more known for Creator/JimHenson than its director James Frawley who previously directed many episodes of ''Series/TheMonkees''.
* Alan Rudolph's 1977 film ''Welcome to L.A.'' sometimes has the direction mistakenly credited to producer Creator/RobertAltman. Understandable since Rudolph clearly picked up a lot of stylistic touches from his mentor (like a HyperlinkStory) as well as borrowed some members of Altman's [[ProductionPosse stock company of actors]].

[[folder: Live Action TV ]]

* Paul Henning, executive producer of ''Series/GreenAcres'', actually took out an ad in ''Variety'' to make it clear that not he but Jay Sommers was the {{showrunner}}. (Neither, of course, was the director; Richard L. Bare covered that job for most of the series).
* Creator/SamRaimi produced ''Series/HerculesTheLegendaryJourneys'' and ''Series/XenaWarriorPrincess'', but didn't create either of them.
* ''Series/GameOfThrones'' is far more associated with Creator/GeorgeRRMartin, the author of [[Literature/ASongOfIceAndFire the novels]] [[AdaptationDisplacement the show was based on]], than with its actual co-creators David Benioff and D.B. Weiss.

[[folder: Music ]]

* The wildly popular funk throwback "Uptown Funk" is officially released under Mark Ronson's name, but (outside the U.K.), most people consider it a Music/BrunoMars song despite him being a featured artist, given his status as a pop megastar whereas Ronson is a largely obscure figure. It's somewhat understandable considering Bruno Mars has established himself as a specialist in {{Genre Throwback}}s, with his "Treasure" being a funk disco track in the same vein.
* "The Hanging Tree" from ''Film/TheHungerGamesMockingjayPart1'' is almost universally considered a Creator/JenniferLawrence song, as she sings it in character in the movie, even though it was released under James Newton Howard's name. That didn't stop ''Billboard'' themselves from hyping the song's chart performance as a Lawrence song while relegating Howard to a footnote.
* Likewise, many Music/DavidGuetta songs are less associated with the French producer than the guest singer ("Sexy Bitch": Music/{{Akon}}; "Titanium": Music/{{Sia}}; "Turn Me On" and "Hey Mama": Music/NickiMinaj; "Without You": Music/{{Usher}}).
* While most of Music/CalvinHarris's songs are often seen as his songs, some of them are more associated with the featured artist, namely his collaborations with Music/EllieGoulding ("I Need Your Love" and "Outside") and Music/{{Rihanna}} ("This Is What You Came For"; "We Found Love" isn't an example as it ''is'' officially a Rihanna song).
* The song "Despacito" by Luis Fonsi ft. Daddy Yankee tends to be associated with Music/JustinBieber in the Anglosphere instead of its original artists. This case is more extreme than most others, as the song in question became a major hit after Bieber's involvement in a remix (the original didn't have Bieber at all), and the original artists still sing on the remix. Unfortunately, the song's ensuing popularity coupled with Bieber's inability to speak Spanish has led to much disappointment at his concerts.


[[folder: Theatre ]]

* ''On Your Toes'': While George Abbott ''did'' direct the 1954 and 1983 revivals of the show, he was merely a co-librettist in the original production, which was directed by Worthington Minor. The original producer, Dwight Deere Wiman, was also credited for "supervision" of the "entire production." (Abbott famously mocked this style of credit later in his career, when it was taken up by director-choreographers Jerome Robbins and Creator/BobFosse, as "entire part of mother played by Lizzie Flop.")


[[folder: Video Games ]]

* Creator/ShigeruMiyamoto largely stepped back into a producer/advisor role starting with the UsefulNotes/{{Nintendo 64}} generation, the last game he directed being ''Franchise/{{Mario}} Artist Paint Studio'' in 1999. Despite this, sequels to series he created (such as ''Mario'' and ''Franchise/TheLegendOfZelda'') and ''VideoGame/{{Pikmin}}'' are more likely to be attributed to him than their director.
* Similarly, Nintendo R&D1's early games (''VideoGame/{{Metroid}}'', ''VideoGame/KidIcarus'', ''VideoGame/WarioLand''... etc) are often credited to executive producer Creator/GunpeiYokoi, who was more focused on hardware development and had little input on the games his department produced.
* ''VideoGame/ZoneOfTheEnders'' is far more commonly associated with producer Creator/HideoKojima than it is to either Noriaki Okamura or Shuyo Murata (respectively the directors of the first and second game).
* For all that the ''Franchise/MegaMan'' series is associated with Creator/KeijiInafune, he actually only acted as the game director on two entries, ''VideoGame/MegaMan4'' and ''VideoGame/MegaManX1'' (and even then he co-directed both games with Yoshinori Takenaka). Starting with ''VideoGame/MegaMan3'' he did take on a loose role as the creative lead for the series, but other people handled the actual direction of the games.
* The ''VideoGame/{{Tekken}}'' series is always associated first and foremost with Katsuhiro Harada, even though he only started to direct the series with ''Tekken Tag Tournament''.


[[folder: Western Animation ]]

* ''WesternAnimation/{{Exosquad}}'''s producer Will Meugniot is often credited as the serie's creator (and not in a MyRealDaddy kind of way), though he clarified in multiple interviews that the series was created by Jeff Segal.