Many Films, works of literature and other works are referred to not just by title but by author/ director/ etc., i.e. "William Shakespeare's Hamlet." There are seven main variations:
Original Author's X — Putting the author of the original work before the title of the adaptation in order to differentiate it from other adaptations and add a stamp of authenticity. If the writer is still alive then this is intended to suggest the author did more than just sign the rights away and be done with it; if not, it's intended to suggest the creators are trying to be true to (their understanding of) the original work (especially if it's out-of-copyright — anyone can make a Dracula film).
Celebrity Sponsor's X — Attaching the name of a popular author or celebrity onto a game into which he probably had little input, in order to improve the branding and attract passing trade. This is similar to the George Foreman Grill, in that nobody is under the illusion that John Madden sat down and coded an entire video game in his spare time.
Executive's X — Putting the name of a producer or other executive with big-name power on the posters for much the same reason as (2), but this is worse because these people are usually directors or writers themselves. There's an implicit suggestion that the named person had something to do with it creatively when he most likely just gave it some money (or, at most, came up with a plot outline and a few characters). Sometimes rendered as Steven Spielberg Presents: Animaniacs. Many people still labour under the impression that Tim Burton directed The Nightmare Before Christmas (it was really Henry Selick; Tim Burton came up with the original story, but didn't write the screenplay).
New Interpreter's X — A variation on #1 used to show that this adaptation is a bold new vision distinct from the original author's version. A relatively honest variation, in that the name at the front of the title actually does belong to the person who created the work.
Actual Creator's X — where the creator actually did create the work, no qualifiers needed.
Company's X — A variation on any of types 2 through 5 with the company instead of a single person. Often this is done for trademark reasons, especially when the simple name X can't be reliably trademarked.
Star's or Host's X or Bert's Family Feud — Another variation on #5 with the star or host instead of the creator.
Mario Puzo's The Godfather — done at the insistence of Francis Ford Coppola, who felt Puzo deserved most of the credit. Since that movie got his career started, Coppola has gone on to do the same for most of his directorial endeavors that were adapted from a novel.
Stephen King, despite being an archetypal example of Billed Above The Title for his own novels, isn't a prominent example of this trope. Certainly, he has had several adaptations of his novels preceded by his name, but usually not the really famous ones. The interesting case here is that he actually sued to have his name taken off the movie version of The Lawnmower Man. He also remade The Shining, because he hated the Stanley Kubrick version (to the point where he was legally forced to stop talking about it) and called the TV mini-series Stephen King's The Shining.
The mini-series of IT also does this, most likely because the title is so generic.
Robert Rodriguez's film version of Sin City is credited as Frank Miller's Sin City; Rodriguez's intention was to acknowledge Miller as the primary creative force behind the film. As he originally said to Miller in his first pitch: "I don't want to make Robert Rodriguez's Sin City. I want to make Frank Miller's Sin City."
He went so far as to quit the Directors' Guild of America when they wouldn't agree to let them share director credit. Awww.
"Ian Fleming's James Bond 007 in..." Not part of the title itself, but often included in the title sequence, possibly because the James Bond franchise is a bit unusual in its lack of an arching franchise-title.
Early installments had the order reversed, i.e., "James Bond 007 in Ian Fleming's...." The changeover happened with The Spy Who Loved Me, which was by Fleming's request an In Name Only adaptation.
This one is generally because most people hearing just the title are going to be scratching their heads thinking "that seems familiar, but I can't quite place what it's about.... oh, Plato's Republic, yes, of course" (especially true since no one's read it, but everyone's heard of it).
This is how most of Cirque du Soleil's Jukebox Musical variants are titled, owing to the fact that they are direct collaborations with, respectively, Apple Corps Ltd and the estate of Michael Jackson. The shows are able to use the original recordings of the artists in question rather than covers, and titling them in this way also marks them as officially sanctioned productions, as numerous non-sanctioned tribute shows/acts to these performers exist.
Isaac Asimov's Science Fiction Magazine This one started out somewhere between Case 2 and Case 3, since Asimov actually did write the editorials (and provide responses for the Letters column) for the first decade and a half or so. Of course, when Asimov died, it became pure Case 2.
Also the sister publication, Asimov's Science Fiction Adventure Magazine (this one didn't do as well and folded after a couple of years of quarterly publication).
Tom Clancy lends his name to various series of books and games, but his involvement is limited to laying out the general concept for the respective series, while others do the actual writing. The Video Game publisher Ubisoft currently owns the intellectual property rights to Clancy's name for their games (Rainbow Six, Ghost Recon, H.A.W.X., End War, and others) and any related works.
Somewhat misleading, as Madden did much more than to lend his name and sponsorship to the game. The game was not initially conceived as a realistic football simulation, but Madden refused to put his name on it unless it were one. The game as it exists is very much his concept instead of the developers', so it's fitting that it's named after him.
Tiger Woods PGA Tour
Brian Lara Cricket
Clive Barker's Undying. Clive Barker was brought in partway through development for a rewrite of the story, and he also ended up doing a character's voice. His name was attached to it because Electronic Arts thought it would sell. Unfortunately, despite being a very good game, it didn't — due in no small part to the sum total of EA's marketing campaign for the game being slapping "Clive Barker's" in front of the title.
Arthur C. Clarke's Mysterious World, a documentary series; Clarke introduced each episode, but was otherwise uninvolved (even the narration for the bulk of each episode was done by somebody else)
Also a number of anthologies of short stories for children (one centered on spies, one on horror, one on mysteries, etc.) were published as Alfred Hitchcock's X. The Three Investigators series was also "presented" and introduced by Hitchcock. Hitchcock had nothing to do with any of these, other than licensing his name out to them.
The Jon Pertwee Book of Monsters and Peter Davison's Book of Alien Monsters, short story anthologies trading on the stars of Doctor Who. Apparently, Davison actually chose the stories in "his" book, while Pertwee only provided introductions to stories selected by another; this may explain why only Davison gets the 's.
Isaac Newton's Gravity. Something tells me Sir Isaac Newton had nothing to do with the creation of the game.
The Forgotten Realms series R. A. Salvatore's War of the Spider Queen. Each book in the series was written by a different author, and while Salvatore did oversee the project and write a prologue for each book, his name is basically a selling point for these novels by lesser known authors.
The Adventure Island games are titled Takahashi-Meijin no Bouken Jima (Master Takahashi's Adventure Island) in Japan, after Hudson Soft's spokesman who is barely recognizable as his in-game likeness. The first game was actually titled Hudson's Adventure Island outside Japan, though it was originally Wonder Boy and not a Hudson Soft game at all.
Danny Sullivan's Indy Heat
Lee Trevino's Fighting Golf
Ivan 'Ironman' Stewart's Super Off Road
Both Flesh For Frankenstein and Blood For Dracula had alternate titles: Andy Warhold's Frankenstein and Andy Warhol's Dracula. Paul Morrissey wrote and directed the movies and was a frequent collaborator with Andy Warhol, as was the two films' star, Joe Dellesandro. Because of this, they asked Warhol if they could use his name as a producer for publicity purposes. Morrissey did not expect the alternate titles and was angered when people believed the movies were made by Warhol.
Evander Holyfield's "Real Deal" Boxing, which was ported to the SNES as Riddick Bowe Boxing after Holyfield lost the heavyweight title to Bowe.
A (probably intentional) effect of this is that many people by extension think that he directed Coraline as trailers advertised it as "from the director of The Nightmare Before Christmas" and make no effort to tell you that means Henry Selick.
Maybe not on the TV spots, but the theatrical trailer included Henry Selick's name.
DirecTv took this a step further. "Tim Burton's The Nightmare Before Christmas: The Pumpkin King gives the yuletide season a touch of Halloween in an animated tale from the mind of Tim Burton. Animated. From a Tim Burton story."
Few also remember that this was, technically, a Disney film; aside from placing it under their Touchstone logo, Disney didn't want anyone to initially know it was from or associated with them, so adding Burton's name was one more degree away in their eyes.
They're happy enough to claim it now, and even redo the Haunted Mansion at the amusement parks part of the year (roughly, between Halloween and Christmas) with a Jack Skellington theme.
The miniseries Steven Spielberg's Taken. Spielberg neither wrote nor directed any episodes (all ten episodes were directed by different people, and while they were all written by the same man it wasn't Spielberg).
Although Spielberg has "Story By" credit on 15 episodes of Amazing Stories (including the two he directed) and wrote another one, his name isn't part of the title except in British listings guides (which insisted on calling it Steven Spielberg's Amazing Stories).
Wes Craven Presents: They, in addition to being a terrible film, is an example of #3.
The "Wes Craven Presents" series was an attempt to give experience and an opportunity to some up-and-coming young directors. It was hoped that attaching Craven's name would make the films more appealing to distributors and renters. The whole effort has probably done more harm to Craven's name than it has good for anyone else's.
See also, among others Oprah Winfrey Presents David And Lisa, Oprah Winfrey Presents The Wedding, and Oprah Winfrey Presents Mitch Albom's For One More Day.
Alfred Hitchcock Presents, an anthology television show featuring horror / mystery / crime stories, for which Alfred Hitchcock served as executive producer and host. He also directed some (but not all, or even most) of the episodes.
Peter Jackson's King Kong: The Official Game of the Movie (if it isn't obvious, The Movie is the one film that was directed by Jackson)
Berry Gordy's The Last Dragon, of which Berry Gordy was Executive Producer.
Marvel Comicsalways included a "Stan Lee Presents" before the title of each comic issue for decades. This has led to Lee's reputation getting rather severely inflated among people unfamiliar with comic books.
Now Boom! Studios is doing the same thing with a trio of titles that Lee is involved in (but not as an actual writer or artist).
Walt Disney's movies almost always have "Walt Disney presents..." written in the opening credits, even those originally distributed through RKO Radio Pictures instead of Disney's own distributing company. The posters and home video covers also often read, "Walt Disney's", "Walt Disney Presents...", "Walt Disney's Classic...", or "Walt Disney's Masterpiece..." above the title.
Titles used for Walt Disney's anthology show include Walt Disney's Disneyland, Walt Disney Presents, and Walt Disney's Wonderful World of Color.
New Interpreter's X
American McGee's Alice, indicating the grim withdrawal-suffering take on Alice in Wonderland. However, American McGee himself didn't want his name on the game, claiming it was the publishers who slapped his name upon it in order to promote it as "the game made by one of the developers of Doom". The sequel is simply "Alice: Madness Returns".
John Carpenter's The Thing (1982), to separate it from the much less faithful to the book movie made in the fifties, The Thing from Another World. Although John Carpenter has a knack for doing this with every film he directs. This seems likely to be the real explanation, since the original story was entitled Who Goes There? and using that title would have been sufficient if distinguishing it from the earlier movie had been the only goal. On the other hand, they may not have totally wanted to divorce it from Howard Hawks' version.
Kenneth Branagh's Hamlet, oddly part of what made it so different was how closely he follow the exact words of the play (to the point where he added back lines which have been missing for three hundred years).
He also happened to be the lead actor and director.
Sid Meier has gained sufficient acclaim for his work that Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri is the official title. And Sid Meier's Civilization. And Sid Meier's Railroad Tycoon. Sid Meier's been getting less involved in the games of late; although he remains Chief Creative Officer of Firaxis, he doesn't write much code anymore. He apparently does contribute a lot conceptually, though.
Like Sid Meier, Will Wright makes such good games that he deserves to have his name in the title, though nobody ever includes it in idle conversation. Supposedly, that's because Will Wright either doesn't want his name in the titles, or EA doesn't want his name in the titles. Depending on who you believe, Will Wright is either a humble guy, or EA is full of jerkass executives.
Paul McCartney's Liverpool Oratorio. This is somewhere between types 3 and 4, actually, since Paul McCartney is both author and executive. He was one of the creators of this work, but he did have a collaborator. Since Paul couldn't read the music he was writing, he was afraid that people would think this piece was ghostwritten if he didn't put his name on it. Carl Davis, his collaborator, did not appreciate this title.
Despite the below-mentioned parody, Clive Barker's Jericho is actually a case of this... to a degree. Clive Barker didn't actually write the code or anything, but he collaborated on development and is listed as "creator" in the credits.
Blake Edwards did this with several of his films' onscreen credits from The Great Race onwards, as he often served as director, writer, and producer. He also named his 1980s production company Blake Edwards Entertainment.
Kurt Busiek's Astro City. Put in by the author because his editor thought simply Astro City sounded too hokey. His name tends to be in rather smaller print. Then again, Astro City's largest TV station is "KBAC", just in case.
Clancy actually did write the stories for the early Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six games. Later ones are Celebrity Sponsor's X (above).
Older Than Steam: This device was not unknown in the 17th century. One of the compositions of Johann Kaspar Kerll bears the title La batal ą Casparo Ceerl.
Sometime's this is done as a fan reflex more than anything — several works by Katsuhiro Otomo have his name added by fans more than anything. Oddly, the only film that has this as an official alternate title is Memories which as an anthology, had numerous people working in the same capacity as Otomo did. Go figure.
The Inferno by Dante Aligheri, is almost always referred to as Dante's Inferno.
The original edition of Shakespeare's sonnets is actually titled "Shakespeare's Sonnets", and repeats the words as a running title on every page. At that time this was a very unusual kind of title; one could almost believe that the editors foresaw the centuries of disputed authorship that were to follow.
In the 1960s kids' cartoon "Beany and Cecil" (also called "Matty's Funnies with Beany and Cecil"), creator Bob Clampett shoehorned his name in every episode about six times, including in the opening theme song, which also features a cartoon rendering of him. Every half-hour episode consists of three cartoon shorts, and in the beginning of every one of them, the main characters sang "so here are Beany and Cecil in—a whole half-hour—Bob Clampett cartoo—oon!" The Other Wiki reports that he was known as "a shameless self-promoter." Well...yeah.
Lampshaded in a Credits Gag for one episode of John Finnemores Souvenir Programme; "I myself wrote and starred in the programme, but modesty precludes me from ever telling you my name, save for one cryptic clue hidden deep within the title..."
Movies that Alfred Hitchcock directed in 1942 or later say, Alfred Hitchcock's [insert title here] in the opening credits and/or on the poster.
Syd Mead's Terraforming
Lee Daniels' The Butler, Daniel's name is legally obligated to appear in the title because Warner Brothers also made a movie called The Butlerin 1919.
The Canadian network Family, a de facto Disney Channel for Canada, used to do this; since about 80% of their schedule is Disney shows, this meant that practically everything was prefaced by "Disney's".
Parodied by the film Jane Austen's Mafia!, which has nothing at all to do with Jane Austen.
At the time, there were a lot of film and TV adaptations of Austen, the Bronte sisters and their contemporaries that were using the formula (e.g., Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice), so it was a topical parody.
Parodied in Mr. Bean's Holiday: "CARSON CLAY PICTURES present -- CARSON CLAY -- in a CARSON CLAY production -- of a CARSON CLAY film" — PLAYBACK TIME
Precious: Based on the novel 'Push' by Sapphire, one can only guess that is title is for cases where you forgot, for cares to forget that the cinematic motion picture (feature length) is adapted from a long form narrative prose (fiction-American, written in English) work of a different name written by an author under a pseudonym.
The adaptation was originally called Push: Based on the Novel by Sapphire, but retitled to avoid confusion with the 2009 sci-fi film Push.
NBC's The Office parodies this trope when Michael, taking Erin out to lunch, pops in a book-on-tape "novelization" of Precious: Based On The Novel Push By Sapphire.
Parrot Sketch Not Included, a 20th anniversary compilation of sketches (not including the dead parrot one, obviously) from Monty Python's Flying Circus, featured a filmed intro and outro from comedian Steve Martin. The actual title for the piece was 'Steve Martin is Steve Martin in Steve Martin's Parrot Sketch Not Included (A Steve Martin production)'.
In an episode of Growing Pains where Ben makes a movie for class, Ben gives himself top billing for everything, writing, directing, producing and starring. He does give the rest of the cast credit, in tiny writing squeezed onto one title card.
Also parodied by John Solomon of Your Webcomic is Bad and You Should Feel Bad: over time, his references to Robert A. Howard's webcomic review site Tangents have gotten increasingly unwieldy. For example: "Robert A. 'Tangents' Howard of Robert A. Howard's 'Tangents', by Robert A. Howard (featuring Robert A. Howard, of 'Tangents')".
Old Man Murray was absolutely merciless to American McGee, going so far as to insinuate that he referred to everyday objects in this fashion (i.e. "Have you seen American McGee's my pen?")
Similarily, The Demented Cartoon Movie opens with "Brian Kendall presents....A Brian Kendall production.....of a Brian Kendal film." Complete with drum beats between each part. Also, you have to watch it twice before you actually get on with the movie.
Lilformers had "Michael Bay presents: A Michael Bay Movie: Michael Bay's Transformers. (Directed by Michael Bay)". (The movie did have at least one mention of Michael Bay's name in its credits, but Lilformers is Lilformers.)
Family Guy parodied both types 3 & 4 with "Peter Griffin Presents The King and I, a Peter Griffin Production." His new interpretation might as well have been a new play entirely; it was set on the planet Siam and featured partial nudity, kung fu fighting, & Groin Attacks.
The marquee also refers to "A Peter Griffin Joint", a parody of Spike Lee's odd director credit (instead of "A Spike Lee Film").
The title of the work is Mary Shelley's Frankenhole, but it was created by Dino Stamatopoulos. While the setting is Dr. Frankenstein's lab in Eastern Europe, the show is a parody of horror genres.
Garfield and Friends: In "The Cartoon Cat Conspiracy", Garfield created a Show Within a Show titled "Sam the Cat", which was actually a Self-Parody, Garfield overpromoted himself in the opening credits and apologized for not having space to give Odie due credit for animating the story. (Garfield got Odie to do it because he was cheaper than any Korean staff)