[[quoteright:180:[[Film/TheFifthElement http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/GuyBeingChasedByCopsAndThreeBigHeads.jpg]]]]
->'''Marketer 1:''' Bill Murray is stuck in time and ...\\
'''Marketer 2:''' Stuck in time. OK. [[LiteralMinded Put him inside a clock.]]\\
'''Marketer 1:''' Literally inside the clock?\\
'''Marketer 2:''' Yes, and obviously the clock has to be unrealistically oversized in order to fit him. But not all of him. Just his head. Meanwhile, Andie [=MacDowell=] is also there and [[DreamworksFace doesn't give a shit]] that Bill is clearly pleading to be let out.\\
--'''''{{Website/Cracked}}''''', [[http://www.cracked.com/blog/8-classic-movies-with-shitty-posters/#ixzz352td7P7T on]] ''Film/GroundhogDay''

A derogatory term referring to the tendency in modern FilmPosters and {{DVD}} cover art to have a black background with the faces of the lead actors above the name of the movie. 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 poster for them, when they could just take stock photos of the lead actor and have interns superimpose them onto black.

Generally felt to be a lazy approach, as it requires little in the way of creativity and imagination, and leads to many DVD releases looking all but indistinguishable on the shelf.

It is particularly bad when other publicity materials such as teaser posters have looked different and distinctive, but the final poster is floating heads so that potential audiences can see who stars in the film. Or even the theatrical posters have been distinctive, but the DVD art has the syndrome.


When done with the {{villain}}, it is EvilOverlooker. Often overlaps with SeanConneryIsAboutToShootYou.

Compare FramedFaceOpening.

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

[[foldercontrol]]

[[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 RobLiefeld comic covers.
* [[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]].
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Films -- Animation]]
* Countless movies from the DisneyAnimatedCanon have at least one DVD or Blu-Ray case with this. ''Disney/TheLionKing'' at least has an excuse with Mufasa; it's an actual plot point.
* Movies from TheRenaissanceAgeOfAnimation sometimes get covers with this to [[AllAnimationIsDisney follow Disney's suit]].
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Films -- Live-Action]]
* All the ''StarWars'' {{DVD}}s released during the 2000s suffer from this.
* ''{{Give My Regards to Broad Street}}'', 2000s {{DVD}} release -- taken to the minimalist extreme; the original posters also had a dash of this.
* Some posters for ''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://content.answers.com/main/content/wp/en/thumb/b/bb/200px-Harry_Potter_and_the_Prisoner_of_Azkaban_poster.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 ''{{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 ''Film/{{Pirates of the Caribbean}}'' [=DVD=]s, especially when the cast grows. The 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 [[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 WillSmith's head floating above it. Thankfully, the ''actual'' cover remains the same.
* Lampshaded in dialogue by ''TheMist'': after a thunderstorm demolishes the main character's studio, destroying the (amazing) movie artwork he had been painting, he laments that the studio will just opt for "some floating heads" instead of extending his deadline.
* We wonder what cracked-up alternate universe 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 ''TheAviator'', which carried over to the DVD cover. It frankly looks like a plane being chased by a giant floating [[LeonardoDiCaprio Leonardo DiCaprio]] head.
* ''K-19: The Widowmaker'' 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.
* Almost all of the ''Franchise/StarTrek'' movies do this. ''[[Film/StarTrekInsurrection Insurrection]]'' 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://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/7/78/Marypoppins.jpg this poster]] from the original release 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://media.photobucket.com/image/mary%20poppins%20dvd/doleted/Disney/MaryPoppins1998.jpg 1998]] and [[http://www.popentertainment.com/marypoppins.jpg 2009]].
* The DVD version of ''Deadfall'' features the floating heads of Michael Biehn, 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.
* ''{{Saving Private Ryan}}'', 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 MileyCyrus romance movie ''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.
* 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 cool moustache.
* All of the movies in the Vault Disney collection of [=DVDs=]. The ''Literature/{{Pollyanna}}'' cover looks especially bad, with the protagonist's giant head appearing in the sky above a normal-sized Pollyanna.
* The Japanese poster of ''Film/TheAvengers'' 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.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Literature]]
* 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 included the Doctor's head floating in midair. Years later, when the last book 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/the-art/dr-who-illustrations.html here]].
* All three books of ''Literature/TheFlightEngineer'' feature co-author 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/{{TNG}} numbered novels, ''Imbalance'', had Crusher and Riker's heads floating over the Jarada's city.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Live-Action TV]]
* One of the boxes of ''{{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.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Music]]
* ''[[Music/TheBeatles With The Beatles]]'' 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.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Pinball]]
* Creator/{{Stern}}'s ''Pinball/{{Ali}}'' has 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]]

[[folder:Video Games]]
* ''PlanescapeTorment'' had one of these on its cover.
* Some of the ''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 ''HeavyRain'', ''{{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
[[/folder]]

[[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.
[[/folder]]
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