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Animated Credits Opening

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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."
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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.


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Examples

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    Films — Live-Action 
  • 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.
  • The Hairy Bird has a mix of still photos and animation, including a cartoon bird.
  • 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.
  • 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.
    • It's 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.
  • The second Shaolin Temple movie 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 
  • A Chinese show called Balala the Fairies has an anime-esque ending theme.
  • Batman
  • The 1979 reboot of Beat the Clock. The original used animated opening titles for a while as well.
  • Bewitched
  • 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.
  • 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
  • Frasier has a line drawing of the Seattle skyline. Variations feature lightning and a helicopter.
  • The Good Night Show:
    • The 2009 opening was mostly animated save for the boy and his mom opening the box leading to the Goodnight Garden.
    • The 2015 opening had a tube sleeping in a book.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Hi-5. The intro features animated versions of the cast.
  • Honey, I Shrunk the Kids
  • Hustle, possibly as a Shout-Out to Catch Me if You Can.
  • I Dream of Jeannie
  • I Love Lucy (although these were replaced in syndication).
  • It's About Time
  • Jeux Sans Frontières (a.k.a. It's a Knockout), a wacky European athletics show.
  • 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.
  • Land of the Giants (first season)
  • Lame Ducks, an eighties Britcom, had an animated opening that portrayed the characters as actual ducks.
  • 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
  • Mr. Terrific, a comic take on superheroes in the summer of 1966 on CBS.
  • 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
  • My Parents Are Aliens
  • My Sesame Street Home Video
  • 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 Nanny, as an intentional retro throwback; the series also got an animated Christmas Special that used the same style.
  • 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)
  • A special case with Rome, whose credits feature animated graffiti and paintings over the walls of Ancient Rome.
  • 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 Sunny Side Up Show:
    • The original opening was entirely animated save for the clips of the hosts and Chica.
    • The 2009 opening was also mostly animated save for the girl and her dad opening the box leading to Sprout Farm at breakfast and, once again, footage of the hosts.
    • The 2013 opening was mostly in live-action save for animated things like the sun, strawberries, and flowers.
  • The 1979-1980 Japanese series, "The Super Girl" has it's 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.
  • To Say the Least
  • The Time Tunnel
  • TV's Bloopers and Practical Jokes, by none other than Mad Magazine artist Sergio Aragonés.
  • Ultraseven
  • Unfabulous, done in the style of Angela Anaconda.
  • 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 uses animation in a style straight out of the comics.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • WandaVision did this for its second episode, which was a tribute to the 1960s fantasy sitcoms Bewitched and I Dream of Jeannie.
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    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.

    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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Daredevil (2015)

The Daredevil opening depicts New York forming in red wax, evocative of a church.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (11 votes)

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Main / AnimatedCreditsOpening

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