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"[Pom Pom will] spend a 30 million dollar budget, trying as hard as he can to make it look like he only spent a few hundred thousand. The first step is to spend millions on a hand-drawn title sequence that looks like it was made by some Junior High kid during Pre-Algebra."

A live-action movie or TV show has an animated Artistic Title sequence with all sorts of wacky hijinks. It may foreshadow the plot, set up the backstory, or just be emblematic of the story's theme. An Animated Credits Opening sometimes means the film will be a comedy or at least a family movie, but not always.

Very popular in the films and television series of The '60s, with a nostalgic, Retro revival in The '80s & the early 90's. Since the mid 90's, filmmakers' desire to get to the action as quickly as possible has resulted in this trope largely being discarded in favor of Creative Closing Credits.

A subtrope of Medium Blending. Compare Bait-and-Switch Credits.


Examples

    open/close all folders 

    Films — Live-Action 
  • After the Fox (Oddly like Peter Sellers' other famous film series, only this time he is a cartoon fox being chased by cartoon police.)
  • All Creatures Great & Small (2020): The title sequence features a gorgeously illustrated rendering of the drive into Darrowby, featuring many wild and domesticated animals on the way.
  • In Aquaman: The Cast of the Angler, Aquaman's origin story is told in animated comic book-style panels.
  • The Back-Up Plan
  • Balala the Fairies: The otherwise mostly live-action/CGI first and second movies have 2D-animated openings featuring the characters. While the second one just shows artwork of the 2D characters, the first one actually does show them doing stuff.
  • Bedknobs and Broomsticks begins with an animation based on The Bayeux Tapestry.
  • Big Momma's House was originally supposed to have one, but it was dropped after test audiences found it too cheesy.
  • Birds of Prey begins with an animated prologue explaining the origins of Harley and her abusive relationship with the Joker.
  • Catalina Caper, riffed on in an MST3K episode. Joel and the Bots seemed to prefer the animation to the rest of the movie.
  • Catch Me If You Can has retro animated credits that evoke the stylings of Saul Bass, who was designing film credits in the 1960s, the time frame of the film.
  • The Charge of the Light Brigade
  • City Slickers starts out with the main characters, including Mitch, participating in the annual bull run through Pamplona, and when one of the bulls sticks Mitch in the ass, he screams into an Eat the Camera moment, which leads to animated opening titles of a cowboy trying (and often failing) to lasso credit names, a bull, cactus, and a cow. At the end of the credits, the cowboy is playing around with his gun until he accidentally shoots himself in the foot. The cowboy starts to walk away, but then starts screaming, which leads back to live-action footage of Mitch in a doctor's office.
    • The sequel, City Slickers II: The Legend of Curly's Gold, has the same animated cowboy recreating the scene from the first movie where Mitch helped a dying cow give birth to Norman, and then the cowboy chases around a ghost after he pulls the word "gold" out of the title.
  • The opening credits of Cry of the Banshee use Clip-Art Animation animated by Terry Gilliam.
  • Crystal Fairy & the Magical Cactus opens with a black and white animation involving stars, a fairy turning cacti into crystal, and various elements from the movie.
  • The 2004 retro-style live-action Cutey Honey movie. These credits were actually later used as part of the opening for the Re: Cutie Honey anime.
  • Dave Made a Maze: The intro to the film shows an animated Dave trying and failing at a variety of different hobbies. It doesn't only serve to entertain, but also introduces Dave as someone who is very creative, but struggles to stay focused on one thing and can't finish what he starts.
  • Demon of the Lute, being a wuxia fantasy-parody movie, have its opening credits animated to the tune of a jazzy, anachronistic 80s riff.
  • Don't Tell Mom the Babysitter's Dead featured an animated version of the babysitter getting crushed to death by the title of the movie.
  • Down with Love, in keeping with the Retraux style.
  • The Vincent Price comedy Dr. Goldfoot and the Bikini Machine had part of its opening credits animated by Art Clokey.
  • Drop Dead Fred
  • The live-action Dudley Do-Right movie has an animated intro done in the style of the original cartoon it was based on.
  • Elf establishes its whimsical fantasy setting with a cartoon elf opening credits sequence.
  • Escape to Witch Mountain shows a cartoon of two kids fleeing from attack dogs over the opening credits. Sure enough, later in the movie the villain does in fact send dogs chasing after Tony and Tia.
  • Fantastic Four (2005) had an extended cut where a cartoon of the team is shown during the opening credits.
  • Fantômas Unleashed — does double duty as a Previously on…, since it summarizes the previous movie, Fantômas.
  • The First Wives Club features Roy Lichtenstein-inspired drawings.
  • Four Rooms — interesting for containing references to the cut fifth story.
  • All three Dollars Trilogy movies have some form of animation for their opening credits.
  • Being themselves inspired by a cartoon, both George of the Jungle The Movie and the direct-to-video Part 2 have animated credits, although in wildly different style.
  • Gambit. A 2012 movie, but with a nostalgic feel evoking older heist movies, like The Pink Panther.
  • Grease has one which features Danny and Sandy starting their days.
  • The Hairy Bird has a mix of still photos and animation, including a cartoon bird.
  • Honey, I Shrunk the Kids opens with two cartoon children running from oversized credits.
  • The Irony of Fate is a Russian TV movie that starts out with an animated sequence in which an architect sees his inventive design turned by the authorities into a drab rectangular apartment building. Identical buildings go up everywhere. This becomes plot-relevant in the live-action film, when the protagonist gets really drunk at the airport, is bundled onto a flight by mistake, and fails to recognize that he is not only in the wrong apartment in the wrong building, but in the wrong city.
  • It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World, in its opening titles, plays with a ball/globe symbol in every conceivable way. The uncredited lead animator of this Saul Bass-designed sequence was Bill "J.C." Melendez.
  • James Bond: most of the films famously opened with one of these, usually featuring an animated silhouette of Bond running around and being badass. The Daniel Craig films in particular (Casino Royale, Quantum of Solace, Skyfall, Spectre and No Time to Die) have fully animated silhouettes.
  • Kenny & Company has a jack-o-lantern that opens and closes its mouth to reveal different names.
  • Kidnapping Granny K is a wacky Stupid Crooks comedy about three young people that bungle a kidnapping. The animated credits opening both sets the general tone and provides some foreshadowing when it shows assorted characters chasing after money.
  • Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, probably as an homage to Anatomy of a Murder and other noir classics.
  • Labyrinth. Notable as one of the first such sequences to be made with CGI. The animated barn owl that sweeps above and around the credits becomes a live-action one as the film proper starts, and not long after is revealed to be the shapeshifted form of the villain.
  • Land of the Lost: Another case of creative closing credits.
  • Major Grom: Plague Doctor has heart-rending animated opening credits and comedic animated closing credits.
  • Mannequin has an animated sequence by Sally Cruikshank that shows a cartoon Emmy going through different historical eras. This sequence is set to “In My Wildest Dreams” by Belinda Carlisle.
  • The Million Dollar Duck has a cartoon of a duck lining up six eggs that form the zeros in "$1,000,000."
  • The Misadventures Of Merlin Jones
  • The Mission: Impossible Film Series homages its TV roots by featuring an opening credits sequence set to the iconic theme song. The title sequence and title track vary with each film.
  • Monty Python's Life of Brian and Monty Python's The Meaning of Life have animated credits by Terry Gilliam.
  • Moon Zero Two Riffed on the first season of Mystery Science Theater 3000 and like Catalina Caper they seemed to like it more than the movie.
  • The live-action version of Mr. Magoo opens with an animated Magoo interacting with the credits.
  • Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium
  • National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation depicts a cartoon Santa Claus meeting with a series of unfortunate events while delivering presents. The sequence, intended to mirror the mishaps that fall upon Clark Griswold, is set to the song “Christmas Vacation” sung by Mavis Staples.
  • Never Give a Sucker an Even Break: Starts with a cartoon of star W. C. Fields, bulbous alcoholic red nose and all. His prodigious belly bursts out of his suit and forms the background for the title.
  • One Crazy Summer is a semi-example: not strictly credits, and justified by the main character being a cartoonist.
  • The Parent Trap (the original, not the remake) features a stop-motion animation sequence during its opening credits.
  • The Pink Panther (1963), whose titles spawned its own series of animated shorts, which themselves inspired a TV show (which, ironically enough, used live-action credits in its first season).
    • One film, A Shot In the Dark, was different in that it had the Inspector as a cartoon; this title sequence inspired a series of Inspector shorts.
    • Its franchise: Inspector Clouseau, The Return of the Pink Panther, The Pink Panther Strikes Again, Revenge of the Pink Panther, Trail of the Pink Panther, Curse of the Pink Panther, Son of the Pink Panther, The Pink Panther (2006), & The Pink Panther 2 as well.
  • Plácido: With Clip-Art Animation, as a cut-out of a homeless man is seated at a table and continually taunted with food that he never gets to eat.
  • The Private Eyes, an early 1980s comedy starring Don Knotts and Tim Conway.
  • Run Lola Run
  • A Series of Unfortunate Events (2004) has animated closing credits that run so long it's almost a mini-film in itself. And a creepily gothic one, too.
  • The second Shaolin Temple movie, Kids From Shaolin starts off as an animated film, before seguing into the live action scenes, to emphasize how the sequel is Lighter and Softer.
  • Ship of Fools: The pictures of the castmembers form the shape of a ship, which sails away...and then dissolves to live action footage of the ship sailing away.
  • Shortcut to Happiness features an animated Jennifer Love Hewitt wrecking havoc on the opening titles, and the titles fighting back.
  • The Singing Nun is a movie loosely based on the real life of the real Singing Nun (Sœur Sourire) and has this for its opening.
  • Super has its opening credits done in the style of Frank's terrible art, where every character, minor and major, gets featured.
  • Super Mario Bros. (1993) begins with footage of pixelated dinosaurs as it recounts how the meteor that 'destroyed' them instead shunted them to a parallel dimension.
  • The opening parallel of the man before the gate to the Law in The Trial is presented as a series of "pin-screen" pictures in which pins are stuck through a screen and lit. Technically it isn't animation as there's no illusion of motion, with the sequence being a series of stills, but the effect is the same.
  • Troop Beverly Hills opens with a sequence animated by John Kricfalusi showing the Beverly Hills Wilderness Girls troop and their leader Phyllis Nefler (Shelley Long) facing down hardships in nature with hygiene and beauty products, setting the tone for the film.
  • The film adaptation of Underdog starts off with clips from the cartoon set to the credits and to Jason Lee's voiceover exposition.
  • Vertigo was actually the first film to utilize a digitally crafted title sequence (designed by Saul Bass), as the effects in the sequence were done on a computer converted from an old anti-aircraft locator by effects artist John Whitney.
  • West Side Story has an animated panoramic view of NYC during its opening overture.
  • The Jackie Chan film The Fearless Hyena had an animated credits intro created for the Japanese audience, seen here. It was done by Lupin III creator Monkey Punch.
  • The feature-film version of The Saint's two-parter episode, "The Fiction Makers" has one, featuring a animated version of The Saint stick figure.

    Literature 
  • Simon Brett's detective novel Situation Tragedy, about a series of murders among the cast and crew of a British TV sitcom, has an in-canon example for the in-universe sitcom in question, The Strutters. The narrator explains that the expense of an animated credit sequence means that the TV channel expects the show to be a hit.

    Live-Action TV 
  • The British Game Show 3-2-1 opens with an animated sequence in which the chevron in the Yorshire Television logo flies off and lands in an ordinary dustbin, transforming it into the show's mascot and Zonk, Dusty Bin.
  • Aliens in the Family: The intro is a short cartoon of Cookie and Doug meeting each other, falling in love, and getting married.
  • The Amanda Show for the first season
  • A Chinese show called Balala the Fairies has an anime-esque ending theme.
  • Batman (1966)'s opening credits were an animated short of the Dynamic Duo (with Batgirl joining in Season 3) beating up thugs and villains in an art-style similar to that of Golden Age comics.
  • The 1979 reboot of Beat the Clock. The original used animated opening titles for a while as well.
  • Bewitched: animated by Hanna-Barbera.
  • The BBC Dramedy Mini Series Blott on the Landscape, based on Tom Sharpe's novel. The style resembles Sharpe's UK paperback covers of the time, and the credits basically sum up the entire plot in about 30 seconds with plenty of FreezeFrameBonuses.
  • Bullseye (UK)
  • Canada's Worst Driver, which also utilized several scenes from it for its commercial bumpers.
  • Candy (2022) features things falling apart: dominoes falling, the last one the 'l' in Jessica Biel's name; Melanie Lynskey's name falling into a meat grinder; the thread going through a needle becomes the cutting guide to cut apart a female figure; and the lines in a measuring cup falling.
  • The Carol Burnett Show
  • The late 1960s/early 1970s kids' fantasy series Catweazle.
  • El Chavo del ocho used stop-motion versions of the characters and vecindad for its final seasons.
  • The Chevy Chase Show featured a stop-motion title sequence where Chevy Chase runs around the rooftops of Hollywood, stealing letters from various buildings and assembling them for his show's logo.
  • Chuck
  • The original Concentration, from 1961 to its 1973 finale.
  • The opening for Daughter From Another Mother covers the general premise of the story. It introduces the main leads, their personalities and most importantly their motherly traits and sets the overall tone of their dynamic. By the second and third seasons there are subtle changes in Ana and Mariana's attitude that correspond to their character development.
  • Densha Otoko
  • Desperate Housewives
  • Dragons, Wagons & Wax uses an animated Action-Hogging Opening to introduce a rather low-key live-action program.
  • The Drew Carey Show: The first season used an animated character logo of Drew Carey's face singing "Moon Over Parma".
  • The Durrells has an animated montage representing events from the series, different for each season.
  • Even Stevens, using Stop Motion plasticine versions of the actors
  • The Fabulous Show with Fay & Fluffy: After the live-action Fay and Fluffy make their announcement at the beginning of each episode, we see a flash-animated intro of them driving into the studio and walking on-stage when prompted. Then we see the title of the show, followed by the episode title, which are also animated.
  • Frasier has a line drawing of the Seattle skyline. Variations feature lightning and a helicopter.
  • Grange Hill originally had partly-animated comic book style titles. This was replaced with live action scenes at the same time as they Replaced the Theme Tune.
  • Guillermo del Toro's Cabinet of Curiosities: The title sequence appears in a sequence of cabinets and their curiosities.
  • Harrow: Rather arty credits which transform from scenery to pathology. For instance the Brisbane River becomes a blood vessel on a human heart and the grooves on a record change into a fingerprint.
  • Have I Got News for You uses animated opening titles that keep a few key points (always opening on a shot of Big Ben and closing on the title displayed as a newspaper headline or broadcast, for example) but are periodically updated to reflect current events. A few variations can be seen here.
  • Hi-5. The intro features animated versions of the cast.
  • His Dark Materials: The opening is a zoom out, starting from particles of Dust at atomic level and zooming out to show the various multiversal locations within the story and the objects/people/vehicles within these multiverses (which varies depending on the season) before concluding the zoom out to reveal the series title.
  • Honey, I Shrunk the Kids
  • Hustle, possibly as a Shout-Out to Catch Me if You Can.
  • I Dream of Jeannie: animated by Friz Freleng
  • I Love Lucy (although these were replaced in syndication).
  • Interview with the Vampire (2022): The Season 1 title sequence is a computer-generated animation which features the black silhouette of two cityscapes against a sunset-red sky: the top upside-down one is New Orleans (temporarily changed to San Francisco for "Like Angels Put in Hell by God") while the bottom right-side up one is Dubai. As the cityscapes move away from each other, the tallest buildings vaguely resemble vampire fangs.
  • It's About Time
  • About half the game shows and pilots from producer Jay Wolpert have had these- his first show, Whew! had one provided by Hanna-Barbera; his failed 1986-87 adaptation of Trivial Pursuit; Blackout, Bob Goen's first network game show; and finally Shopping Spree (his longest running game show, at a season-and-a-half!).
  • Jeeves and Wooster
  • Jeopardy! during the entire Alex Trebek era (1984-2020) and beyond. The original version was a spinning globe with the show's logo. Later they switched to a CGI rendition of Sony Pictures Studios, and then since the Turn of the Millennium they have used various pop culture and trivia-related graphics which change out every season.
  • Jeux Sans Frontières (a.k.a. It's a Knockout), a wacky European athletics show.
  • Lame Ducks, an eighties Britcom, had an animated opening that portrayed the characters as actual ducks.
  • Land of the Giants (first season)
  • Last Call with Carson Daly
  • The first Late Night with Conan O'Brien opening ended with a cartoon of a nervous and sweating Conan adjusting his tie.
  • Life with Boys started off as a stop-motion sequence but it then morphs to live-action in the last ten seconds.
  • Lost in Space
  • Love Connection: Originally, Two slot machines of animated cartoon character expressing different reactions while seeing each other. Then from 1988 to 1994, It was replaced with animated hearts, A female heart comes out on the second "O" in the word "Connection" but was to frightened by the mean male heart on the first "O" in the word "Connection" but finds a nice male heart on the "O" in the word "Love" and they kiss each other.
  • Mad Men shows a cartoon man in a suit, whose frame suggests star Jon Hamm, in a tall office building, which then collapses, leaving him to take a long fall before he winds up in an easy chair with a cocktail. The sequence suggests how the cozy life of WASP businessmen in the early 1960s was going to be disrupted by social change.
  • The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis, in the first couple of seasons
  • The Mickey Mouse Club
  • Mind Your Language opens with a cartoon featuring the main cast members; ESL teacher Jeremy Brown writes the series' title on a chalkboard, but is distracted by the arrival of French student Danielle, who inspires various levels of arousal and disapproval in the other students (split down gender lines), at least until they notice headmistress Miss Courtney glaring at them from the doorway. In Series 2, Danielle is pushed aside by Swedish student Ingrid, who is then the one to distract the others.
  • Misfits
  • Monty Python's Flying Circus, with a different title animation for each series.
  • Mrs. America showcases cartoons with Seventies style graphics and of both the racially and ethnic diverse feminists and mostly white and traditional looking anti-feminists.
  • Mrs. Brown's Boys
  • Mr. Terrific, a comic take on superheroes in the summer of 1966 on CBS.
  • My Parents Are Aliens
  • My Three Sons
  • The first three episodes of My Two Dads, as seen here.
  • Mystery had two different animated openings designed by Edward Gorey, both of which were memorable but also very creepy.
  • The Name's The Same, which ran from 1951 to 1955.
  • The Nanny, as an intentional retro throwback; the series also got an animated Christmas Special that used the same style.
  • The Japanese live-action serial Natsuzora, which told the tale of Natsu Okuhara, a farm girl who comes to Tokyo in 60s Japan and becomes an animator (based on Reiko Okuyama, one of the first Japanese female animators.), had an animated opening in Ghibli's charming artwork, seen here.
  • The No.1 Ladies' Detective Agency
  • The Odd Couple (2015)
  • On the Buses, 1960s-70s Brit Com.
  • Our Miss Brooks: In the program's original primetime run, the last (1955-1956) season featured the animated opening seen here
  • The Partridge Family
  • The Phil Silvers Show
  • Punky Brewster: Certain episodes during the first season. The second season used animation from Ruby-Spears, the studio that made the Punky Brewster cartoon for NBC on Saturday mornings.
  • Raggs: The opening titles and credits feature the dogs in CGI. However there are also short animated segments in the same style. As of recent the live action seems to have been ditched in favor of complete CGI for their YouTube shorts and promotional artwork, with the actual costumed dogs only used to promote the live shows.
  • Reading Rainbow: Used until Season 16 (1998-1999)
  • The Red Green Show used these for the first seven seasons.
  • A special case with Rome, whose credits feature animated graffiti and paintings over the walls of Ancient Rome.
  • Played straight in Sister, Sister when the first four seasons' opening credits have stop motion effects and animation sequences as the original version of the theme song is played in the background. This, however, was abandoned for the last two seasons, seasons five and six, to make room for a music video style sequence.
  • So Awkward was done in the style of a scrapbook montage, with an animated phone playing clips from past episodes.
  • Soul Train
  • The Starter Wife
  • Star Trek: Discovery
  • Start-Up: The opening titles are presented with abstract animation meant to suggest the parts of computer chips and circuit boards. The series is about start-up companies in the Korean tech industry.
  • The first season of the PAX TV era of Supermarket Sweep opens with a computer-animated graphic of three shopping carts racing through a supermarket filling up on everything they come across.
  • The 1979-1980 Japanese series, "The Super Girl" has its intro feature a very sexualized anthropomorphic cat girl.
  • The UK children's show Super Gran had an animated opening that recapped the title character's superhero origin.
  • Temps de chien: The intro is animated and shows its main character Antoine Meilleur on a beach alongside his family. However, it eventually starts raining, causing Antoine to open his umbrella only to be stricken by a lightning.
  • The Time Tunnel
  • To Say the Least
  • TV's Bloopers & Practical Jokes, by none other than Mad Magazine artist Sergio Aragonés.
  • Ultra Series: Early Ultra shows' opening credits would feature black silhouettes, such as those of the titular Ultras, the attack team and some of the kaiju, animated on top of colorful backgrounds. While these types of credits would fade out with Ultraman Taro, they've been homaged in shorter bursts in the openings of some of the later shows.
  • Unfabulous, done in the style of Angela Anaconda.
  • WandaVision did this for its second episode, which was a tribute to the 1960s fantasy sitcoms.
  • The Weird Al Show divides its theme song into three segments, each of which is represented by a different animation style - hand-drawn for the first, CGI for the second and stop-motion for the third. Then there's a brief bit of live-action at the end.
  • What's My Line?, in the late 1960s.
  • Wheel of Fortune:
    • Some were used in the 1990s, including anthropomorphic Wheel wedges dancing down a staircase, then one of Pat and Vanna parachuting, then a CGI shot of the Sony Pictures Studios similarly to what sister show Jeopardy! was using at the time.
    • In 2010, the opening sequence featured Miis of Pat and Vanna to promote the then-upcoming Home Game for Nintendo's Wii and DS, some of which have been recycled or updated in later seasons.
    • Three different 2D animated ones existed solely in Season 23: one featuring a man getting ready for a "date" which is really just watching Wheel with his cat; one with a woman anxiously rushing home to watch the show; and one featuring an African-American family rushing through dinner to watch the show. The last one was used again several seasons later.
    • Since Season 35, the show uses a cityscape which pans up to the show's logo on a building.
  • When the Camellia Blooms: The opening credits for each episode start with a live-action shot of Dong-baek driving to Ongsan, which transitions to animation of all the major characters juxtaposed with blooming camellias.
  • The short-lived 1979 game show Whew! had this, with a woman casually avoiding the "gauntlet of villains" on her way to a pot of gold (or $25,000 in cash) guarded by the villains.
  • The British version of Whose Line Is It Anyway? featured this title sequence in its later seasons, which was evidently inspired by a series of Italian animated shorts, "La Linea".
  • The Wild Wild West
  • The first two credits opening for Wonder Woman (1975) uses animation in a style straight out of the comics.

    Puppet Shows 

    Video Games 
  • Jazzpunk opens with a sequence in duotone heavily inspired by the works of Saul Bass, with likely influence from Cowboy Bebop as well.

    Web Video 
  • Economy Watch: Both Christmas specials have this. "A Very Hoarder Christmas" has Lego versions of scenes from Season 1 and "It's An Economic Snowfall" showcases elements around a festive living room based off the characters.

    Western Animation 

[After watching an animated opening credits for Even Stevens or Sister, Sister...]
Statler: Well, what do you think of that for an entrance?
Waldorf: I don't know. But maybe they can use that technique again for their preschool counterpart.
Both: Do-ho-ho-ho-ho-ho-hoh!

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Honey, I Shrunk the Kids

Honey, I Shrunk the Kids opens with two cartoon children running from the oversized credits.

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5 (8 votes)

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