%% Image selected per Image Pickin' thread: http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/posts.php?discussion=1506207369014413000
%% Please do not replace or remove without starting a new thread.
[[quoteright:300:[[Film/TheFifthElement http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/fifth_element_poster1.jpg]]]]

->''"They could whip up some bad Photoshop poster in an afternoon. They do it all the time. Two big heads."''
-->-- '''David Drayton''', ''Film/TheMist''

A term referring to the tendency for FilmPosters and UsefulNotes/{{DVD}} cover art to have a black background with the faces of the lead actors above the name of the movie. Sometimes it is a simple one or two heads staring at you with other, film-specific, art in the foreground. Other times it is the entire cast in various stages of intensity... and nothing else. When done with the {{villain}}, it is EvilOverlooker. Often overlaps with SeanConneryIsAboutToShootYou.

The style became ubiquitous once the age of photo editing software came about, since it meant studios no longer had to commission an artist tens of thousands of dollars to paint a carefully crafted poster for them, when they could just take stock photos of the lead actor and have interns superimpose them onto any background. The same basic principle can exist with more than just a floating head, as full body group pictures splashed across the poster in different sizes and scaling creates a similar style except a lot more crowded (one well-known example of this style can be seen in posters for the ''Franchise/StarWars'' films).

In many cases, the main film poster may be more creative because of the larger size it will be displayed at, but the VHD/DVD/Blu-Ray will have a more generic "main actor heads against a black background" design so that a potential consumer can see who is in the movie at a glance.

Compare FramedFaceOpening.

Not to be confused with when heads literally float as a magical side effect of LosingYourHead, or metaphorically as a FloatingAdviceReminder, or HugeHolographicHead. Or, for that matter, [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Exploding_head_syndrome exploding head syndrome]].


[[folder:Comic Books]]
* It's also quite common in comic books, particularly back in the 60's and 70's in team books, where they'd have one character doing something interesting in the middle and every other member of the team as just a floating head watching the action.
* [[http://www.jplegacy.org/comics/jp/jp02-v1.jpg This rather cheesy cover art]] for a ''Film/JurassicPark'' comic book adaptation is -- excluding the raptor -- comprised of ''nothing'' but floating heads on a blue background. The raptor seems comprehensibly ''scared''.
* 30s and 40s pulp comics tended to have a DramatisPersonae on the side of the cover, usually in the form of a strip of mug shots depicting characters from multiple stories that would appear in the books.
* A not-so-uncommon appearance in Creator/RobLiefeld comic covers.
* [[ComicBook/SpiderMan Peter Parker]] had his own version of this within the comic pages, known to some fans as [[FanNickname the "Floating Heads of Guilt"]], which would appear whenever Peter was pensive or on the verge of death, showing the faces of his friends, his loved ones, and, one time, [[ChuckCunninghamSyndrome a casual friend named Josh]].
* Spoofed for ''ComicBook/DamageControl'' Vol. 3 No. 1. "''How'' many times can we do the same floating heads cover?"
* The cover of ''ComicBook/WhiteSand'' has floating heads of Praxton, Khriss and Baon overlooking the group of Sand Masters on the ground below them.

[[folder:Films -- Animation]]
* Countless movies from the Franchise/DisneyAnimatedCanon have at least one DVD or Blu-Ray case with this. ''Disney/TheLionKing'' at least has an excuse with Mufasa, because he actually appeared as a floating head in-movie.
* Movies from UsefulNotes/TheRenaissanceAgeOfAnimation sometimes get covers with this to [[AllAnimationIsDisney follow Disney's suit]].

[[folder:Films -- Live-Action]]
* All the ''Franchise/StarWars'' UsefulNotes/{{DVD}}s released during the 2000s suffer from this.
* ''Film/GiveMyRegardsToBroadStreet'', 2000s DVD release -- taken to the minimalist extreme; the original posters also had a dash of this.
* Some posters for ''Film/AHardDaysNight'', including the ones the various AHDN album covers use.
* After the distinctive use of logo without text for the 1989 film ''Film/{{Batman}}'', the marketing division apparently decided to embrace this trope. The primary posters and video covers for ''Film/BatmanReturns'', ''Film/BatmanForever'', and ''Film/BatmanAndRobin'' all use this approach, with the first two using variants of the logo for their teaser posters. This got dumped when the series was rebooted.
** ''Film/TheDarkKnight'' [[http://pacejmiller.files.wordpress.com/2009/06/the_dark_knight_quad_poster1.jpg did this]] (there was also an individual poster for each face), though it at least pulls it off with some style.
* While not technically "floating heads" per se, the [=DVD=]s of the ''Film/JamesBond'' films dumped the distinctive posters for shots of Bond with a PistolPose in front of the most memorable set from the film. Calling them prosaic would be an understatement. One can just tell that the marketing executives wanted to hide the age of the films by redoing all the covers (since the posters are all pretty indicative of their eras).
* The [[http://www.imdb.com/media/rm1544850432/tt0371746 most common poster]] for ''Film/IronMan1'' did it too. This carried over to the VanillaEdition DVD cover, and the two-disc edition has [[http://c0181321.cdn.cloudfiles.rackspacecloud.com/PHJFSPKR65RSOJ_1_m.jpg packaging exclusive to Target stores that is literally a plastic Iron Man face]]. ''Film/IronMan2'' had [[http://www.imdb.com/media/rm1059163136/tt1228705 two]] [[http://www.imdb.com/media/rm3367996416/tt1228705?ref_=ttmi_mi_typ_pos_6 guilty]] posters ([[Film/IronMan3 the third one]] averted it as most characters are full-bodied).
* Posters for the ''Film/HarryPotter'' films have [[http://www.the-reel-mccoy.com/movies/2001/images/HarryPotter_poster.jpg followed]] [[http://ia.media-imdb.com/images/M/MV5BMTY4NTIwODg0N15BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwOTc0MjEzMw@@._V1__SX1303_SY591_.jpg this]] on occasion.
* ''Film/AlienResurrection'' and the ''Film/{{Aliens}}'' DVD ([[http://www.imdb.com/media/rm2876545280/tt0090605 with the Alien's head!]]).
* The promotional posters for ''Film/{{No Country for Old Men}}'' featured Llewelyn Moss as a tiny figure fleeing desperately from [[EvilOverlooker the looming visage of the inexorable Anton Chigurh]], the composition of [[http://www.amazon.com/Country-Old-Men-Vintage-International/dp/0307387135 the image]] reflecting the story's contemplation of trying in vain to outrun fate. For [[http://www.amazon.com/Country-Old-Men-Javier-Bardem/dp/B00118T63C the DVD cover]]? Floating Heads!
* Disney ignored the excellent Art Deco poster it made for ''Film/TheRocketeer'' and cooked up a FloatingHeadSyndrome cover as part of their effort to make the Lamest Home Video Releases Ever.
** Disney also gave ''The Gnome-Mobile'' [[http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/5162DKVF6NL._SS500_.jpg worse]].
* The first three ''Franchise/PiratesOfTheCaribbean'' [=DVD=]s, especially when the cast grows. The [[Film/PiratesOfTheCaribbeanOnStrangerTides fourth one]] averted with either only Jack Sparrow or half-body versions of the four main characters.
* DVD/Posters of all three movies of ''{{Film/The Lord of the Rings}}'' trilogy (theatrical editions only; the special editions had polished art.)
* ''Film/TheFifthElement'', or -- as [[Website/SomethingAwful the goons]] call it in our page image -- ''[[http://www.somethingawful.com/d/photoshop-phriday/misinterpreted-movie-titles.php?page=3 Guy being chased by cops and three big heads]]''.
* A slipcase edition of ''Film/IndependenceDay'' was simply a flaming Earth with Creator/WillSmith's head floating above it. Thankfully, the ''actual'' cover remains the same.
* Lampshaded in ''Film/TheMist'': after a thunderstorm demolishes the main character's studio, destroying the (amazing) movie artwork he had been painting, he laments that instead of extending his deadline, the studio "could whip up some bad Photoshop poster in an afternoon. They do it all the time. Two big heads."
* We wonder what cracked-up alternate universe Creator/MichaelMoore film was viewed by the Japanese person paid to design [[http://ec2.images-amazon.com/images/I/51BCSQdlNPL._SS500_.jpg the Floating Head to end them all]].
* One of the posters for Scorsese's ''Film/TheAviator'', which carried over to the DVD cover. It frankly looks like a plane being chased by a giant floating Creator/LeonardoDiCaprio head.
* ''Film/K19TheWidowmaker'' or [[http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/7/75/K_nineteen_the_widowmaker_ver2.jpg Harrison Ford's head is judging you]]. Also available with bonus Liam Neeson in some editions.
* Most ''Franchise/StarTrek'' movies feature this. An iconic ''Film/StarTrekTheMotionPicture'' poster features the [[CoolStarship Enterprise]] beneath a pillar of rainbow light with Kirk, Ilia and Spock's head floating above it. Both ''Film/StarTrekViTheUndiscoveredCountry'' and ''Film/StarTrekFirstContact'' feature similar "heads in a pillar of light," while one poster for ''Film/StarTrekBeyond'' had a poster replicating TMP's almost exactly. ''Film/StarTrekInsurrection'' goes for the EvilOverlooker instead.
* A good deal of posters and DVD covers for the ''Franchise/{{Terminator}}'' series are simply pictures of the title cyborg's head. Many of these show off the "part man, part machine" aspect.
* A large number of of horror films released after ''Film/{{Scream 1996}}''.
** This gets alluded to in the making-of features of ''Film/TheTexasChainsawMassacre2003'' remake. The creators said they wanted something simple, and wished to avoid the "[[http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/7/7f/Scream_2.jpg roughly]] [[http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/a/a2/I_Know_What_You_Did_Last_Summer.jpg five]] [[http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/5/56/Urban_Legend_film.jpg kids]] [[http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/a/a3/Final_Destination_movie.jpg facing]][[http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/5/5e/HalloweenH20poster.jpg forward]]" thing that seemed prevalent at the time.
*** Which still got a floating head poster in the form of a floating head Leatherface (with a green tint).
* The cover of the ''Film/SilentHill'' movie features the floating head of Sharon Da Silva.
* Utilized in [[http://disney.wikia.com/wiki/File:36734398.jpg the original poster]] of ''Film/MaryPoppins'', which in contrast to later home video covers, emphasizes the flashy musical aspects over the fantasy aspects. This Syndrome was also utilized on DVD covers from [[http://disney.wikia.com/wiki/File:Mary_poppins_masterpiece_dvd.jpg 1998]] and [[http://disney.wikia.com/wiki/File:MaryPoppins_45thAnniversary_DVD.jpg 2009]].
* The DVD version of ''Deadfall'' features the floating heads of Michael Biehn, Creator/NicolasCage, and Sarah Trigger. There's a minor case of CoversAlwaysLie to boot: Presumably for the sake of keeping him recognizable, the Cage head is a more recent, clean shaven photo. However, in the film itself, Cage has a mustache and spends most of the time wearing sunglasses.
* ''Film/SavingPrivateRyan'', oh god, ''Saving Private Ryan''. Particularly when you look at the classy earlier posters with just the soldier silhouette.
* The DVD cover of ''Yellowbeard'' features full body shots of most of the main cast together, but it's mostly dominated by the giant floating heads of Creator/CheechAndChong, who incidentally [[CoversAlwaysLie really only show up towards the end of the movie]].
* ''Film/XMenFirstClass'' came under fire for its teaser posters featuring floating heads of James [=McAvoy=] and Michael Fassbender floating (right near the respective crotches) of a silhouette of Creator/PatrickStewart and Creator/IanMcKellen respectively.
* [[http://www.impawards.com/2010/last_song.html One of the posters]] for the Music/MileyCyrus romance movie ''Literature/TheLastSong'' might just contain the most ''literal'' example ever of Floating Head Syndrome. Liam's Hemsworth's face is shown in profile, framed against the sun, with his neck cut off at the base of his jaw and skull, making it absolutely nothing but a floating decapitated head.
* ''Film/GangsOfNewYork'': In addition to the floating heads, [[MisplacedNamesPoster the names are jumbled]], so that Daniel Day-Lewis is a hot chick and Cameron Diaz has a cool moustache.
* All of the movies in the Walt Disney Home Video[=/=]Vault Disney Collection of [=DVDs=]. The ''Film/{{Pollyanna|1960}}'' cover looks especially bad, with the protagonist's giant head appearing in the sky above a normal-sized Pollyanna.
* The Japanese poster of ''Film/{{The Avengers|2012}}'' features the team in civilian clothing, with pictures of them in crime fighting garb from the torso up floating above them.
* The ''Film/{{Superman}}'' special edition DVD has this, along with the "deluxe editions" of the third and fourth movies. The second film's special edition DVD averted this by showing Superman flying instead of his floating head.
* In the 1997 informative video ''Film/TheKidsGuideToTheInternet'' the kids head float around in "cyberspace".
* DVD covers for ''Film/MulhollandDrive'' do this, up to and including Creator/TheCriterionCollection [[https://www.criterion.com/films/28050-mulholland-dr release]] with heads hovering over Hollywood - perhaps the worst offender in a label that otherwise tries to bring some style to this trope at worst (such as [[https://www.criterion.com/films/237-cries-and-whispers with]] ''Film/CriesAndWhispers'' [[https://www.criterion.com/films/553-solaris and]] ''Film/Solaris1972'') and averts it with artistic vengeance at their more common best.
* The movie poster of ''Film/GangRelated''.
* ''Film/KullTheConqueror'': Kull and Akivasha's heads are seen in the sky on the poster.
* The poster for ''Film/ThePatriot'' was a pretty big offender - as the image caption says, it looks like the soldiers are running for their lives from Creator/MelGibson's terrifyingly enormous face. The initial home video release [[https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/51NDFXHAW9L.jpg also suffers from this]], but the [[ReCut Extended Cut]] release [[https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/51TiXRZCo7L.jpg is an aversion]].
* ''Film/TurkishDelight'': Not on the poster picture as seen on the movies' [=TvTropes=] page, but [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Turkish_Delight_(1973_film)#/media/File:Turkish_Delight_(film).jpg on the DVD cover]]: the two main characters' heads are really floating and tacked-onto the background.

* When the ''Literature/DoctorWhoNewAdventures'' started, there was no requirement for the cover to literally depict a scene from the book, and the cover from the first book in the series, ''[[Recap/DoctorWhoNewAdventuresTimewyrmGenesys Timewyrm: Genesys]]'', included the Seventh Doctor's head floating in midair. Years later, when the last book starring the Seventh Doctor, ''Lungbarrow'', was being written, there was a thought that it should have [[BookEnds a similar cover]]. Since it was now the convention that the cover ''should'' depict a scene from the book, the author added a sequence where the Doctor's HugeHolographicHead appeared over London. Then that scene wasn't used for the cover after all.
* The Literature/DoctorWhoNovelisations often had the Doctor's floating head, especially on covers by Chris Achilleos who traditionally did the heads in monochrome and the rest of the picture in colour. See some examples [[http://chrisachilleos.co.uk/book-covers/dr-who-original-target.html here]].
* All three books of ''Literature/TheFlightEngineer'' feature co-author Creator/JamesDoohan's head. Which is rather odd considering that the character who's most like Scotty isn't the hero. The third book adds the head of a [[InsectoidAliens Fibian]].
* No live actors represented, but the [[http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/File:GhostoftheJediCover.jpg cover]] to ''Literature/GalaxyOfFear: Ghost of the Jedi'' has floating heads of Darth Vader and Aiden Bok in the background. Bok might be understandable, as he's the eponymous ghost, but Vader?
* This was a common cover design for almost all of the ''Star Trek'' novels of the nineties.
** The cover of ''Literature/StarTrekFederation'' had Captains [[Series/StarTrekTheOriginalSeries Kirk]] and [[Series/StarTrekTheNextGeneration Picard]] from the shoulders up and not much else.
** It fell out of favor by the mid-00's, though the ''Literature/StarTrekTyphonPact'' novels revived it for a time.
** One of the ''Series/StarTrekTheNextGeneration'' numbered novels, ''Imbalance'', had Crusher and Riker's heads floating over the Jarada's city.
* The original paperback cover for ''Literature/ReturnOfTheLivingDead'' had a giant disembodied zombie head and hands looming behind a woman in a black void, seemingly about to grab her. Overlaps with EvilOverlooker, what with the zombies being the villains and all.

[[folder:Live-Action TV]]
* One of the boxes of ''Series/{{Smallville}}'' [=DVDs=] only has the faces of Clark, Lana and Lex on it.
* When serials from the classic ''Series/DoctorWho'' series were released on VHS in the 1990s, most of them had beautiful paintings commissioned specially for them. After 1997, this stopped.
** [[http://i595.photobucket.com/albums/tt32/doctorwhonews/Products/DVD/DWS6-Complete-DVD-LE.jpg The cover]] of the Limited Edition of the Series 6 boxset consists of ''only'' a giant floating Silent head in a pitch black background. (For the sake of contrast, the regular edition's cover is [[http://i595.photobucket.com/albums/tt32/doctorwhonews/Products/DVD/DWS6-Complete-DVD.jpg a non-beheaded group shot]].)
* ''Series/{{Angel}}'': UpToEleven on the British DVD boxsets, where the covers tend to be floating busts but ''every single disc has a floating Angel head.'' All doing the same "Am I brooding or did I leave the iron on?" face, but ''separate images.'' You'd guess the camera team got drunk and did a giant photoshoot of this one expression at different angles, then realized they had to do ''something'' with it.
* The Creator/{{Sony}} ''Series/{{Bewitched}}'' [=DVDs=] had covers that each showed large versions of Samantha, Darrin, and Endora (and in later seasons, Sam's and Darrin's children as well) looming above a cartoonish city, usually cut off from either the torso up, or the shoulders up. The box for Sony's DVD of the complete series instead had a full-body shot of Sam's AnimatedCreditsOpening self as its focal image, but did have little bordered pictures of actors' heads on the bottom.

* ''Music/WithTheBeatles'' has the four band members' faces half-lit in darkness, with Ringo just below the other three.
* More than one of Music/MichaelBolton's albums qualifies, including ''Time, Love, and Tenderness''.
* ''Music/{{Scorpions}}'': The original album cover of ''Taken by Force'' featured the band in a cemetery, but it was replaced by a [[MinimalisticCoverArt black background]] with stock photos of the band.
* A few Music/{{Kraftwerk}} albums have this, namely ''Music/ComputerWorld'' and ''Electric Cafe''.
* ''Music/LittleGames'' by Music/TheYardbirds shows the band members as floating heads on a psychedelic art work cover.
* Music/PhilCollins has his head in the red light on his ''No Jacket Required'' Album. Also appears in the music video for his greatest hit "In the Air Tonight" to intercut with Phil wandering down the corridor full of doors.

* Creator/{{Stern}}'s ''Pinball/{{Ali}}'' has UsefulNotes/MuhammadAli's head floating on both the backglass and playfield art.
* Creator/{{Gottlieb}}'s ''Pinball/TheAmazingSpiderMan'' does this with Spidey's supporting characters, who are shown on the playfield as a set of floating heads before a set of clouds.
* The [[LimitedSpecialCollectorsUltimateEdition "Vengeance Premium" edition]] of Creator/SternPinball's ''[[Pinball/StarTrekStern Star Trek]]'' features the heads of various characters floating above and around the ''Narada'' and the ''Vengeance''.
* The playfield for ''Pinball/{{Seawitch}}'' has the disembodied head of a Seawitch glaring at the player.

[[folder:Theme Parks]]
* Much of the promotional material for ''Ride/SkullIslandReignOfKong'' at [[Ride/UniversalStudios Universal's Islands of Adventure]] shows Kong's head floating above Skull Island.

[[folder:Video Games]]
* ''VideoGame/PlanescapeTorment'' had one of these on its cover.
* Some of the ''VideoGame/FreedomForce'' loading screens (in game comic book covers) feature these as parodies of Silver Age comics.
* The cover of ''VideoGame/TombRaiderLegend'' consists entirely of Lara's head, most likely to show off her re-design.
* One of the covers for ''VideoGame/ResidentEvilCodeVeronica'' consists of nothing but Claire's face.
* Most of the covers for the NES ''VideoGame/MegaMan'' games' Japanese versions had this, for the [[MonsterOfTheWeek Robot Masters]] (from ''VideoGame/MegaMan2'' onwards). However, this is a [[TropesAreNotBad positive case]], as they are considered universally better than their [[AmericanKirbyIsHardcore overseas]] [[SoBadItsGood counterparts]]. When ''VideoGame/MegaMan9'' and ''VideoGame/MegaMan10'' came out as [[{{Retraux}} throwbacks to that era]], this design philosophy [[GrandfatherClause was preserved]] for their covers.
* Yahtzee writes on the subject on [[http://www.escapistmagazine.com/articles/view/columns/extra-punctuation/8631-Extra-Punctuation-American-Box-Art-Sucks this]] Extra Punctuation, touching on ''VideoGame/HeavyRain'', ''VideoGame/{{Ico}}'', ''VideoGame/AnotherWorld'' and others, as part of a column bemoaning how American cover art is almost invariably of poorer quality than its international equivalents.
* ''VideoGame/MetroidOtherM'' has a cover with the heads of Samus and Adam, along with young Samus in almost full-body profile.
* Used for the "Movie Poster" photo backdrop in VideoGame/TomodachiLife
* This is pretty much [[UpToEleven the entirety of the logos]] for ''VideoGame/FiveNightsAtFreddys2;'' it's just Freddy's [[SmugSmiler smiling face]] next to the title.[[note]]And, as a side note, the UsefulNotes/{{Steam}} banner [[RefugeInAudacity does away with the title, instead opting to assume Freddy's head will be enough.]] ''[[CrowningMomentOfAwesome It worked... and propelled the game to the #1 Best Selling Game spot.]]''[[/note]]
* The ''VideoGame/FZero'' series has this, notably ''F-Zero X'', which features Captain Falcon's angry face on the center of the cover.

[[folder:Web Original]]
* A number of these get lambasted in [[http://nomorequo.blogspot.com/2007/03/why-does-dvd-cover-art-suck-so-much.html Why Do Great Movies Get Awful DVD Cover Art?]]
* Also, see [[http://www.funnyordie.com/videos/47d8df4123/movie-poster-floating-heads-from-fod-team this awesome video]] for a look at the process of making the floating head poster.