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Fake-Out Opening

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This is when a movie's first scene, usually before the credits, is so different from your preconceptions of the movie that you think you've walked into the wrong theater. Often leads to a Proscenium Reveal or the reveal of a Dream Intro.

Contrast with In Medias Res or Action Prologue (e.g., James Bond and Indiana Jones films) — they still fit the milieu and draw you into the action. Also contrast Bait-and-Switch Credits. If the opening sequence never gets thematically tied to the story proper at all, it becomes a Big-Lipped Alligator Moment. Nested Story Reveal is a supertrope where the fake-out continues for much longer than just one scene.

We hope it's not more proof why you should Never Trust a Trailer.

See also Trailer Spoof, Fake Action Prologue, Action-Hogging Opening and Non-Indicative First Episode.

Overlaps with Art Shift when the scenes are delineated from the "real" movie by footage that simulates some manner of projector mishap, up to and including frames of film melting from the heat of the lamp. Can also overlap with Bait-and-Switch Character Intro if the protagonist is introduced in a misleading fashion.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Deadman Wonderland begins with Ganta Igarashi in his middle school talking with his friends and potential love interest as they wait for their homeroom to start... and then Wretched Egg appears and everything goes downhill from there.
  • The beginning of episode 1 of Genshiken is the beginning of Kujibiki♡Unbalance including the Cold Open and the opening titles (complete with fake credits that are parodies of the people who really worked on the show), until the scene shifts to a character watching that show on TV. One fansub of the show took this further, and actually used parodies of the fansub-makers' screen names during this opening (listing the real ones during the end credits). Which is odd because it implies that the main character is watching an English fansub on TV. In Japan.
  • Bludgeoning Angel Dokuro-chan's anime adaptation opens with a lighted hearted junior high drama as some kids walk back home from school. Once Sakura makes it home, he finds Dokuro wearing only panties in his room, who reacts by partially decapitating him with her club.
  • Magical Project S opens with a saccharine theme song that suggests that Sasami is just some ordinary girl that happily uses her magic for innocuous reasons such as conjuring food (as per the Cute Witch subgenre). The show then introduces her as being the reluctant champion for restoring balance and never once shows her using her abilities for anything besides this.
  • The first Naruto movie opens with the opening scene of a movie that Team Seven is watching (whose lead actress the film centers around escorting).
  • Shadow Star starts with... a summer holiday trip.
  • The first 10 seconds of the first episode of Pokémon: The Original Series are basically a recreation of the opening of Pokémon Red and Blue. It then transfers to an actual battle, which Ash is watching on TV.
  • If you don't count the part where a teenage boy is frantically beating up two girls with a baseball bat, Higurashi: When They Cry starts this way, with Keiichi in his happy-go-lucky rural village hanging out with his friends.
  • The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya opens with an entire episode of a horribly made student film of a Magical Girl adventure with Bad "Bad Acting" and a number of bizarre details, such as a talking cat that is quickly silenced. Only at the very end do the viewers see the titular Haruhi and realize that it was made by the protagonists at her insistence.
  • The first episode of the anime adaptation of Bakuman。 begins with the opening to the main character's uncle's anime.
  • Both seasons of The Tower of Druaga. Going by the openings, the assumption would be that it was a slice-of-life or baseball-themed school drama show for the first and second seasons respectively.
  • The very first thing after the cutesy opening expository narration and theme song of Nurse Witch Komugi is... a dramatic car chase/gunfight. Turns out Komugi's an actress and she was shooting a scene...
  • Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann begins with a massive space battle between a lone warship and a galaxy-worth of enemies. Then switches to the story of a young boy digging holes in a low-tech, After the End underground city. It takes twenty or so episodes- including one Time Skip- for the story to reach the scenario shown in the prologue. Even then, there are so many differences between the series-version and prologue-version of the scenes that fans debate whether the latter is part of some Alternate Continuity, or even Canon. Word of God says that it was supposed to be a Flash Forward, but that that storyline got away from them at some point.
  • The first scene in the first episode of Tentai Senshi Sunred involves Vamp, the leader of Evil Organisation Florsheim, making a grandiose speech about their plans for world domination and having one of his Evil Boss Monsters declare that he will slay their Arch-Enemy Sunred. One very stereotypical Tokatsu opening later we encounter Sunred on his way home from a convenience store when Vamp and company attempt to kill him. Sunred immediately smashes the monster into the ground and kicks it repeatedly and then berates Florsheim for trying to fight him without an appointment, thus setting the tone for the rest of the series.
  • The Devil is a Part-Timer! starts off as High Fantasy, showing the Demon King Satan's invasion of Ente Isla and his near-defeat at the hands of the Chosen One, forcing him to retreat through a portal while swearing to return and take his revenge. However, the portal dumps him onto Earth, where he loses his magical powers and is forced to get a Burger Fool job in order to keep a roof over his head, at which point the series turns into a goofy sitcom with occasional action beats. On the other hand, as the story progresses the original serious plotline starts coming back and taking center stage.
  • Kaiju No. 8 does this multiple times in its first chapter. It initially looks like a straightforward action manga about an elite squadron of Kaiju-hunters... until they defeat the kaiju in five seconds and it cuts to the real protagonist, a member of the clean-up team assigned to deal with the kaijus' corpses. Then it looks like it's going to be a Work Com following his work with the clean-up team, until he and a co-worker are ambushed by a kaiju and he decides to follow his childhood dream of joining the Kaiju Corps. This actually is the plot... but with the added complication that while he's recovering from the kaiju attack, a kaiju-like parasite climbs down his throat and transforms him into a monstrous human-sized kaiju (he soon learns how to control the transformation, but if he's not careful he can involuntarily switch to kaiju form).
  • Pop Team Epic pushed this type of fake-out to the extreme. The author said the series was cancelled and he was working on Hoshiiro Girldrop, an Idol Singer yonkoma. He spent four months advertising it, releasing character bios, etc. When it came out, it seemed to be a fairly straightforward generic Slice of Life manga... until the main heroine ripped off her face to reveal that it was Popuko, and that Pop Team Epic was coming back. To top it off, Hoshiiro Girldrop was actually published, but by other authors.
    • The anime follows suit, dating all the way back to its April Fools' Day announcement using Girldrop instead of Pop Team to clue the viewers in and having Popuko tear through the announcement site the day after. The first episode even starts off with Hoshiiro Girldrop. After the intro and title card, however, Popuko rips through it once again, shouts "Not!" and the real, considerably weirder, show starts. It keeps up the pretense throughout the show, with the "Next Episode" segments all being for non-existent Hoshiiro Girldrop episodes.
  • Str.A.In.: Strategic Armored Infantry starts off with young Sarah Werec attending a piloting academy alongside her friends, hoping to become a great Humongous Mecha pilot like her beloved big brother Ralph. The first episode ends with Ralph leading an enemy army to attack the school, violently slaughtering everyone there except Sarah. Following a Time Skip Sarah has become a Mecha-Mook pilot and the story takes on a more traditional mecha feel, losing most (but not all) of the Shojo trappings it had at first blush.
  • Zombie Land Saga has fun with this, because the title cues the audience in to zombies being involved in some way, but not how. It opens with heroine Sakura getting ready to go to school and send off her application to an Idol Singer audition... only to be hit by a truck when she rushes out of the house. She wakes up in a creepy house surrounded by zombies, and makes a break for it... only to be shot by the policeman she asks for help, because she's a zombie too, and her makeup's come off in the rain. Then a sunglasses-wearing weirdo shows up, whacks the policeman in the head with a shovel, and takes Sakura back to the house, where he explains the actual plot of the show, which is that she and the other zombies were resurrected to form an idol group in order to save the Saga prefecture.
  • Space Family Carlvinson begins on a spaceship, with a grotesque Brain Monster lunging towards a girl... but they are part of a troupe of alien actors (the girl is a humanoid alien too), they were playing cards and the brain creature is the wacky comic relief character. This OAV is a cute Slice of Life story about said actor troupe raising a human orphan: the sci-fi part is mostly relegated to the goofy designs of the aliens and robots, and the plot is a fairly mundane story of a little girl's life in a rural village with her surrogate family.
  • The first few minutes of the first episode of A Sister's All You Need, nicknamed the "normie filter", starts off as shameless Little Sister Heroine-related fanservice and glaring plot holes. Then when you think this is what the show is going to be about, it's revealed that this is just the protagonist's light novel draft and his editor calls him out for his poor writing.
  • The third saga of Dragon Ball Z opens up with the return of Frieza, rebuilt as a cyborg, and with his own father to boot, implying that the saga is going to be about Frieza's revenge against the heroes. This is quickly subverted by the arrival of Trunks, who dispatches the two before they could do anything, before warning Goku about the Androids that serve as the central threat of the arc.


    Comic Books 
  • The very first issue of The Batman Adventures (based on the 1992 animated Batman TV series) opens with Batman swooping down on a crook and punching his lights out. It's then revealed that what we actually saw was an episode of a TV show that one of the Penguin's goons was watching.
  • In All Fall Down, the story begins with a hero having his powers drained by a Mad Scientist. It's revealed to be a comic book, read by a small boy.
    • Used again in chapter three. What appears to be a flashback to the end of chapter two is actually a holodeck recreation for IQ Squared to work out some frustration with his father.
  • Shakara: The comic opens with the last survivor of the human race, an astronaut from the International Space Station named Major Thorn, narrating how the Earth was swallowed up by a Horde of Alien Locusts that came out of nowhere. This clearly sets up a human-centered After the End scenario where the plucky wisecracking hero possibly becomes a wandering warrior or freedom fighter against the evil Empire and ultimately proves that Humans Are Special. He's unceremoniously killed off not two pages later, as the plot shifts to its real story: the war between The Juggernaut Killer Robot Shakara and the Always Chaotic Evil Hierarchy.
  • The famous Alan Moore run of Miracleman starts out with a Retraux throwback to the original Mick Anglo run where Miracleman (renamed from Marvelman) and his companions thwart the plot of a Neo-Nazi Conqueror from the Future. It gets what seems to be an "Everybody Laughs" Ending... and then, the image focuses on Miracleman's eye as the narration box gives out an apropos Nietzsche quote.
  • Issue 34 of the first volume of What If? opens with the Watcher preparing to tell another serious story — only for a Denser and Wackier Uatu to interrupt and reveal the issue will likewise be silly.

    Fan Works 
  • The first episode of the Team Four Star version of Hellsing Ultimate Abridged starts with a bit that seems to show it as an abridgement of One Piece. Adding onto the joke, the group had repeatedly teased that One Piece was going to be the special project... and then 20 seconds in it cuts to a blood covered room full of corpses, Alucard shooting Edward from Twilight 37 times, and the psychopathic fun begins.
  • In episode 28 of Random Crap with Homestar Runner, the first 55 seconds are of animated versions of Masterofhomestar and his friends playing Team Fortress 2. Then, a character named "Whammy" pops and says 'Woah woah, woah, woah, woah. What the crap does any of this have to do with Homestar Runner?" Garth (the animator and voice of whammy) then apologizes and says he got carried away with making the opening. The real opening then falls out of nowhere and crushes Whammy.

    Films — Animation 
  • The Aqua Teen Hunger Force Colon Movie Film For Theatres opens with a "Let's all go to the lobby"-type song that appears to be a promo for the theater — until it goes completely off the rails and turns into a death metal anthem about movie-going etiquette, complete with a box of Sno-Caps threatening to "Cut you with a linoleum knife" if you talk on your cell phone.
  • The action-packed opening sequence from Bolt (and the trailer) turns out to be from an episode of the Show Within a Show.
  • In Disney's Chicken Little, the narrator (Buck Cluck, the main character's father) tries to find an opening to the film, apparently because he was so sick of starting with "Once upon a time.." He opts for another opening, which turns out to be a familiar sunrise, then saying "Eh, that was used already." Next is a Storybook Opening (which was fully animated and narrated by Don Knotts), which he also rejects as too cliché, so he eventually settles on a flashback to when Chicken Little first thought the sky was falling.
  • Frankenweenie is a non-drawn animated film (stop-motion specifically) that jokingly starts with a badly-animated scene of a home-made sci-fi short made by the main character, and the actual film has much higher production values.
  • Happy Feet begins with various shots of outer space, designed in a very realistic style. Then there's a shot of Earth and an Astronomic Zoom into Antarctica, where things shift to the penguins in a more cartoony style.
  • The first 25 seconds of Disney's Hercules starts with Charlton Heston narrating, setting up the movie to be a serious representation of the Hercules myth. Then the Muses cut in, tell him to lighten up, and sing "The Gospel Truth", establishing right then and there that the film is a musical comedy.
  • The Pilot Movie of Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius starts with several fighter jets taking off from an Air Force base.
  • Kung Fu Panda opens with a 2D animation showing the main character Po as a martial arts master performing over the top attacks against thousands of opponents who are 'blinded by his awesomeness'. Then Po wakes up and the 3D animation begins.
  • The opening sequence of My Little Pony: A New Generation shows the Mane Six of My Little Pony (Generation 4) in a 2D animation style, just about to set off on another adventure. It's really a bunch of young ponies playing with toys, shown when Rarity of Gen 4 says she will "fry brains" because she's a unicorn. When Rarity starts doing this, it's revealed to be Sprout applying Fantastic Racism.
  • The first 10 minutes of Ringing Bell starts off as a cheerful movie about the adventures of a cute little lamb... which paves way for a revenge story.
  • The opening credits of Rock-A-Doodle are all shown in front of an outer space background, and the first few minutes of the film for some reason focus entirely on outer space. But then the camera flies down toward Earth and toward Chanticleer's farm. That was probably supposed to be a send-up of Star Wars.
  • The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie opens with live-action pirates opening a treasure chest...containing tickets to see the movie itself. The pirates are then used as a Framing Device, watching the movie in a theater.
  • Tom and Jerry: The Movie which actually starts out as a traditional Tom and Jerry cartoon, without any dialogue whatsoever, but after the opening scene it seems to turn into a completely different movie.
  • Toy Story franchise:
    • Toy Story 2 begins as a sci-fi adventure with Buzz Lightyear fighting Emperor Zurg. Suddenly, Zurg vaporizes Buzz. Fortunately, it was all a video game being played by Rex.
    • Toy Story 3 begins with a Western-themed adventure with Woody and Jessie chasing One-Eyed Bart (Mr. Potato Head). Later, Buzz arrives to help Woody and Jessie, and Evil Doctor Porkchop (Hamm) also comes in. It turns out to be a play scenario by Andy from when he was a child.
    • Toy Story of Terror opens on a woman being chased by a vampire on a graveyard, all shot in black-and-white. It turns out to be a movie the toys are watching.
  • The Triplets of Belleville starts as a 1930s-style black-and-white cartoon in 4:3 Aspect Ratio, which is actually playing on the main character's TV set before it goes widescreen.
  • Turning Red starts with Mei seemingly portraying herself as just a dedicated, loyal mamma's girl before there's a Record Needle Scratch and Mei's sassy side is revealed. A few minutes later, it's double subverted and both potrayals are shown to have validity.
  • The Animated Adaptation of Watership Down begins with a massive Art Shift in a sequence relating the tale of how Frith made the rabbits the way they are. The whimsical, stylized animation makes the What Do You Mean, It's Not for Kids? trap even easier to fall into.
    • The fact that even this intro sequence features the bloodied corpses of bunnies on screen, and that while the art is more stylized it is no softer, mean viewers are fairly unlikely to be lulled into any false sense of security about the film as a whole.
  • Zootopia opens with a tense scene out in the wilderness where an innocent rabbit is about to be eaten by a jaguar... only to reveal that we are watching a pageant, where grade-school students are acting out what it was like before animals evolved.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • The opening of 48 Hrs. shows a chain gang in the middle of the desert.
  • Always: Sunset on Third Street 2 starts out as if it was a new Godzilla movie, opening with the King of the Monsters himself attacking a town. Turns out it's just a story one of the characters is writing.
  • Analyze That opens with a mobster played by Anthony LaPaglia shooting a man, but that's revealed to be part of a TV show.
  • Arrival, an Alien visitation film starring Amy Adams, begins with the birth and death of her daughter. Even though the trailer briefly shows the interaction between the mother and daughter, this seems to have nothing to do with the alien visitation that later occurs, at least at first.
  • Austin Powers in Goldmember began with a fairly serious spy movie chase scene, starring Tom Cruise as Austin Powers, Danny Devito as Mini-me, and Kevin Spacey as bald megalomaniacal supervillain Dr Evil. We find that this an in-universe adaptation of Austin's life.
  • Bad Girl: Dorothy is being assisted with putting on a wedding dress. She talks about how nervous she is. "Here Comes the Bride" starts up. Dorothy walks out the door... and joins a chain of brides. Who then walk through a dining hall filled with diners. She's a floor model, modeling wedding dresses at a department store.
  • Batman (1989) begins with a guy mugging a couple and their young son and... the parents live? Then Batman shows up and beats up the mugger.
  • The Beautician and the Beast opens with an animated "Sleeping Beauty" scene. It quickly turns into a Fractured Fairy Tale when Sleeping Beauty (voiced by Fran Drescher) turns Prince Charming down, protesting that she wants to be a modern, professional woman, and tries to run for it. Then it turns out to be All Just a Dream being had by Drescher's character.
  • The underrated western A Big Hand For The Little Lady has its opening as a fast stagecoach rolls over beautiful landscapes and rolling hills. What appears to be a gorgeously shot sprawling epic with picturesque backgrounds changes completely when you find out that the movie is in fact about a secret high stakes backdoor poker game, and thus takes place almost entirely in a dreary claustrophobic room with nothing but the actors to look at. So much for that landscape.
  • The Cabin in the Woods opens with two guys at some vaguely defined facility travelling around their workplace, talking about their domestic lives and getting coffee. At the end of the scene, the title is splashed across the screen accompanied with rock music and the movie cuts to the actual protagonists, a group of co-eds leaving for a trip to a cabin. Word of God is that the opening was a deliberate joke to trick moviegoers into thinking they'd gone to the wrong movie.
  • The Film of the Book The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe begins with the 1940 bombing of London by the Luftwaffe.
  • The first half hour of Cloverfield plays like a romantic comedy. This is done deliberately, to show how random the monster's attack is from the character's perspectives.
  • Con Air starts with a montage about the U.S Army Rangers.
  • Curse Of Bigfoot starts out with a scene of some kind of monster (not Bigfoot, some kind of zombie-thing) very slowly creeping towards a woman with a dog and attacking her. This turns out to be a scene from a movie that a teacher is showing his class.
  • The Exorcist begins with an afternoon archaeological dig in Iraq.
  • The Fifth Element opens at an archaeological dig in Egypt in the 1920s. The rest of the movie is set in the lavishly-designed hi-tech future.
  • From Dusk Till Dawn starts out as a fairly straightforward story about a couple of gangster brothers kidnapping a family. It is not a fairly straightforward story about a couple of gangsters kidnapping a family. (If you don't want the surprise spoiled, don't check out the TV Tropes page for this film.)
  • The opening of The Film of the Book Gangs of New York seems to take place in some sort of underground Schizo Tech world, maybe post-apocalypse. It isn't clarified even when the gang gets to the door and opens up unto what looks like a frozen wasteland. It could be any number of settings or genres; it takes a while before it is clear we are in 19th century New York (and then only because a title card on the screen explicitly tells us so).
  • The opening for Ghost (1990) is a lot spookier than the rest of the film.
  • G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra begins in France, in the 14th century.
  • Guardians of the Galaxy (2014): This fun Space Opera romp starts out with... a young boy watching his mother die of cancer.
  • He Loves Me... He Loves Me Not seems to be a predictable and cliched romance movie... Then the story is told again, this time more complete.
  • Help!: The Cold Open in which the cult is about to sacrifice the woman to Kaili. It's this cool, solemn, proto-Indiana Jones-like bit with elaborate Costume Porn... but then the ring's discovered to be missing... cue the Beatles singing "Help!"....
  • The movie The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (2005) begins with a catchy number sung by dolphins, although about Earth's impending destruction. About 15 minutes in, after Earth is destroyed, comes the real title sequence with a remix of the franchise's traditional Real Song Theme Tune.
  • Home Alone 3 starts with a bunch of shady characters smuggling a piece of military hardware through airport security.
  • House of Fury opens with Master Teddy Yue dressing up and ready to kick ass in a martial arts outfit and suddenly getting ambushed by a legion of ninjas, which he slaughters in under a minute... before the next scene reveals the entire prologue to be a story he's telling a group of teens. The rest of the movie is a light-hearted comedy drama that's completely devoid of deaths.
  • Hudson Hawk, the Bruce Willis caper movie, opens with Leonardo da Vinci overseeing various projects in his laboratory/workshop.
  • Indiana Jones
  • While James Bond is referred in the lead, Casino Royale (2006) counts. The intro is Deliberately Monochrome (the previous movies never used black and white), following some agent, and you only know it's the right film when he meets Bond inside his apartment.
  • Kevin & Perry Go Large begins with the execution of Anne Boleyn, which is later revealed to be one of Kevin's daydreams.
  • Kiss Kiss Bangbang begins in a church picnic with a kid doing magic tricks.
  • Double subverted in Mission: Impossible III. Ethan's wife, Julia, does die as depicted in the opening when the scene is repeated before the climax; however, as it turns out, that was one of the Big Bad's mooks wearing a latex mask resembling Julia's head, and the real Julia is still alive somewhere.
  • The 2001 DVD-release of Monty Python and the Holy Grail spliced footage from the 1961 British comedy short, Dentist on the Job, at the beginning of the movie. After about a minute or so, the "projectionist" realizes he's made a mistake and "switches reels" to the correct movie. In one theatrical re-release, the projectionist accidentally began showing The Princess Diaries 2 before switching over to the actual film.
  • Monty Python's The Meaning of Life opens with "Crimson Permanent Assurance", a business film that starts off fairly straight, picks up some Terry Gilliam-esque touches as it goes along, but doesn't feature anyone in Monty Python. The CPA crew shows up in the film proper, after the grisly live organ transplant.
  • Mrs. Doubtfire opens with a Sylvester and Tweety Bird-style animation about a cat and a canary, then does a Reveal Shot to show the main character in a recording studio doing the voices.
  • The trailer for Green with Envy, aka The Muppets (2011), is played like this.
  • Poetic Justice begins with Billy Zane getting it on with some girl, and getting killed. It's actually a movie Janet Jackson is watching.
  • The Popeye live-action movie opens with what appears to be an old black-and-white Popeye cartoon. Then a (newly-animated) cartoon Popeye emerges and realizes he's in the wrong movie. Then with a thunderclap, we cut to the storm that introduces the setting.
    Popeye: Hey, what's this? One of Bluto's tricks? I'm in the wrong movie!
  • The Princess Bride begins with a kid playing video baseball. Once the Framing Device is established and the fairy tale starts, it's a sugary love story until the grandson stops his grandfather, accusing the grandfather of tricking him into hearing a "kissing story". The grandfather assures him that the action will come soon enough.
  • At the behest of Alfred Hitchcock himself, audiences were not allowed to enter Psycho after the film began, as to not spoil the twists. One of which being the fact that the character we spend the entire first part of the film with is replaced with an entirely new one, despite the fact Janet Leigh was promoted as the star on all the advertising.
  • Return of the Killer Tomatoes opens with a man appearing to be a host of an eighties "Movie of the Week" show, claiming that this week they're going to show "Return of the Killer Tomatoes". Then they show the opening credits of a fictional sexploitation film called "The Big Breasted Girls Who Take Their Tops Off". Then the show's producer gets a phone call telling him that he's already shown that movie three times recently and forcing him to actually put on the advertised comic horror film.
  • RRRrrrr!!! begins with a white-text-on-black-background narration about some soldiers in Vietnam and their days-long combat ordeal before announcing: "This movie has nothing to do with this" and going into the movie proper.
  • Safety Last!'s opening shot makes it look as if Harold Lloyd is about to be hanged, until the reverse shot of the same scene shows he's just leaving on a train trip. The "noose" is that hook where they used to hang mailbags in the old days.
  • The first scene of The Scorpion King takes place in a snowy, mountain region, which is in complete contrast to the sandy desert region of the rest of the film.
  • The first three Scream films are known for featuring a Dead Star Walking in their opening scenes (Drew Barrymore in the first, Omar Epps and Jada Pinkett in the second, and Liev Schreiber in the third, the last one doubling as Sudden Sequel Death Syndrome). Scream 4 plays around with this formula and goes all over the place with it. First, we get Lucy Hale and Shenae Grimes as the opening victims in a very Scream-like opening... only to reveal that they were actually the opening victims of Stab 6 as we cut to two women played by Kristen Bell and Anna Paquin sitting on a couch watching the film, the latter complaining about its cliches. Then Bell stabs Paquin out of nowhere, indicating that this will be a film where we know Ghostface's identity from the start... except that turns out to be the opening of Stab 7 as we finally cut to the real opening victims, Aimee Teegarden and Britt Robertson.
  • The beginning of Serenity is a flashback-within-a-hallucination-within-a-flashback: it starts as an opening narration explaining the backstory which turns out to be a history class, which turns out to be a nightmare and the character is in a lab, which is being shown in a security recording viewed in a flashback.
  • A Series of Unfortunate Events (2004) opens with a Sickeningly Sweet musical stop-motion animation about a happy little elf, which is stopped cold by Jude Law's first voice-over.
  • The Coen Brothers' film A Serious Man takes this to Big-Lipped Alligator Moment levels. The first ten minutes of the film are done in the style of a Jewish folk tale, complete with actors speaking entirely in Yiddish. Of course, it has thematic connections with the rest of the movie, but it's not difficult for a first-time viewer to begin to wonder what the hell is going on.
  • A Serbian Film opens with it's protagonist, Milos the retired porn star, graphically humping a hooker on a motorcycle in a seedy back alley, before the scene turns out to be from a television set... being watched by Milos' six-year-old son, Petar, no less! Later in the film, Milo ends up getting reprimanded by his wife Marija for leaving behind one of the porno tapes starring himself in the DVD player where their son could see it.
  • SHAZAM! (2019): The movie opens with a boy meeting the Wizard...but the boy isn't protagonist Billy Batson, but rather the future Big Bad Dr. Sivana, who the Wizard promptly rejects.
  • Snakes on a Plane opens on a sunny beach scene on a tropical paradise.
  • The Led Zeppelin concert film called The Song Remains the Same, opens showing a dramatic scene that looks like any suspense thriller. After it ends, the next scene shows the band on stage performing a couple of songs. This becomes a theme throughout the whole film.
  • The first scene of Spy Kids 2: Island of Lost Dreams involves the President's bratty daughter being shown around an Amusement Park full of wacky CGI rides.
  • Stargate, arguably. The opening is an archaeological dig in Egypt in the 1920s.
  • Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan begins with an apparent space rescue gone wrong, which turns out to be a simulation for the Starfleet Academy final exam.
  • Tragedy Girls looks like a typical Slasher Movie at the start, with the pretty blonde girl's boyfriend getting murdered by a mysterious killer, her running away, and the killer chasing after her... until he's suddenly captured by the pretty blonde and her best friend, who set the whole thing up as a trap, and promptly knock him out. Turns out, we're in a Perspective Flip of the typical slasher flick, and these are our Villain Protagonists.
  • Ultraman Gaia: The Battle In Hyperspace (a Real-World Episode set in our universe instead of the Ultramen's) opens with an intense Action Prologue where Gamu, the human host of Ultraman Gaia, pursues a mysterious stranger in an intense foot chase, before the stranger suddenly turns into a giant monster. Gamu then morphs into Ultraman Gaia, an epic battle in the middle of the city is about to begin... and then the camera pans out to reveal the whole thing is on a television set watched by a fifth-grader, Tsutomu, the real main character.
  • Under Siege 2: Dark Territory begins with a space shuttle launch. This relates to the plot-significant Kill Sat, but has no other relevance to a train-based action movie.
  • The first part of Velvet Goldmine, a movie about glam rock and the rise and fall of a David Bowie-like star, opens with a UFO streaking across the sky. Then it cuts to the childhood years of Oscar Wilde.
  • Violent Shit 4.0 opens with a pan across a basement dungeon before a send-off of the Halloween credits with a Jack O'Lantern, a spooky piano and "Mousstapha C. Okkud presents". And then it goes black with "Sorry. Wrong movie" before properly starting.
  • Who Framed Roger Rabbit opens with "Something's Cooking", a Maroon Cartoon starring Baby Herman and Roger Rabbit. Halfway through, the director yells "Cut!" and we are suddenly in a live-action set where the cartoon is being filmed.
  • Witness starts out at a funeral with a group of people in Puritanesque clothing going to a very historical-looking farmhouse, making it seem like a period piece drama. Unfortunately, the effect was ruined by the studio slapping a big fat "Pennsylvania, 1984" title card onto the screen so audiences wouldn't get confused. It's still somewhat easy to tell when you notice that all the horsedrawn carriages have bicycle reflectors.
  • Without Warning (1994) begins with a murder mystery, itself titled Without Warning, starring Loni Anderson (in a cameo). Minutes in, the show is preempted by a Phony Newscast special report about meteor strikes; the rest of the film is this news coverage.
  • X-Men: First Class begins at a Nazi Concentration camp in the 1940s, showing Magneto's childhood. (while X-Men also started that way, it was only after an opening narration and the title)
  • Young Guns II. Over the credits an old prospector-type guy leads his mule across the desert. Which is fine, since this is a western — but then he's passed by a stake-bed truck. It's actually 1950, and the old guy is on his way to tell an attorney about his life in the old West (by narrating the rest of the film).

  • Bored of the Rings starts with a lurid seduction scene that has absolutely nothing to do with the story.
  • Cat-A-Lyst by Alan Dean Foster opens with two soldiers on a battlefield in the American Civil War. It turns out to be a scene from a movie, starring the main character.
  • The first Harry Potter book opens with a description of the Dursleys and their banal existence. The fourth book opens by describing events which occur in a town that had never been previously mentioned in the series. The sixth book opens with the unnamed Muggle Prime Minister of all people.
    • In the final book, the first line of the second chapter — and the first appearance of Harry in the book — starts out "Harry was bleeding.", catching the reader off guard and making them wonder what terrible thing has befallen Harry before the book even began. It turns out he merely cut his finger while cleaning out his school trunk.
  • If on a winter’s night a traveler, by Italo Calvino. The whole book is a sequence of these, held together by a reader trying to continue the story he had begun but getting continually drawn off into new stories.
  • Liv in the Future: The beginning of the first chapter has Liv fighting monsters in a corridor before finding a giant pufferfish and a cat in the desert. It turns out to be a dream Liv’s having the night before her high school graduation.
  • John le Carré's Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy opens as a British boarding school drama about a pudgy young social outcast bonding with his mysterious new French teacher Jim Prideaux. It's only when the students start to notice some of the stranger details about Mr. Prideaux – namely, his lingering injury that makes him walk with a hunched back, and the fact that he can snap an owl's neck at a moment's notice – that it becomes clear that he's had a rather colorful past. Then we switch to veteran spy George Smiley's perspective, and we find out why Prideaux seemingly arrived from nowhere with such a gruesome injury...
  • A short story by Brazilian Luis Fernando Verissimo goes like this:
    Shit! said the Mother Superior. Oh, don't be scared, I just always wanted to start a story like that. Actually, the story has nothing to do with this sentence. Actually, the story ends here.
  • When You Are Engulfed In Flames, by David Sedaris, features a fake-out book jacket, which initially describes it as a detective thriller. After a paragraph, it tries to claim that it is an instruction manual for when you are set on fire, before finally admitting that it's yet another collection of essays about nothing.
  • The very first line of the first Horus Heresy novel is "I was there, the day Horus slew the Emperor", when it's a fact of the Warhammer 40,000 universe that the Emperor slew Horus. It's quickly revealed that the story takes place while Horus is still loyal and the line is intended as a darkly ironic joke in-universe, referring to Horus killing a human ruler who believed his world to be Earth and himself to be the Emperor of Mankind.

    Live-Action TV 
  • The 24 pilot began at 4 PM Kuala Lumpur time before shifting to 12 AM Los Angeles time.
  • The 4400: "The Wrath of Graham" begins with Tom and Kyle going to a ceremony at the 4400 Center where they meet Diana, Maia, Shawn, Ben, Marco, Burkhoff, Tess and Garrity. Everyone is happy and content. Jordan Collier gives a speech about how his decision to make promicin available to the general public ushered in an unprecedented era of global peace, harmony and happiness. It is revealed to be nothing more than Jordan's dream when the smiling crowd is replaced with a dead, deserted world. Burkhoff then wakes Jordan up.
  • Black Books: "The Grapes of Wrath" starts with a scene about a monk at a monastery in France, who has found grapes growing off a rose bush. The miracle grapes are what the incredibly expensive wine that Bernard and Manny accidentally drink is made of.
  • The cold openings of Bones: usually have two unsuspecting individuals doing something totally unrelated to murder—a girl interviewing for a job at a summer camp, two teens about to have a lesbian experience, a man explaining to a teenager the importance of leftover fast-food oil—before they inadvertently discover the body. Cue screaming.
  • Chuck:
    • Several episodes opened with an Affectionate Parody of 70s and 80s action shows. "Chuck Versus the Rolemodels" riffed on the opening to Hart to Hart, while "Chuck Versus the Cat Squad" aped Charlie's Angels. Appropriately, both were Imagine Spots by Morgan.
    • Even episodes with more traditional openings still toyed with this. For example, "Chuck Versus The Honeymooners" opens on a sinister-looking individual armed with a knife approaching a stateroom on a high-speed train, in what looks like it will be a Murder on the Orient Express-style thriller, only for it to be revealed that he's actually part of the staff, and is delivering room service to Chuck and Sarah.
  • The season 13 episode 17 of CSI opens with what looks like the assistant coroner David Phillips having finally snapped and going to murder his wife with a knife... only to reveal that he's just using the knife to cut the price tag from a new shirt.
    • Another episode did this via a fake opening: the team gathered to investigate a boxing fatality, Grissom dropped one of his usual pre-credits remarks, and the first notes of the Title Sequence's music play ... only for Grissom's cell phone to go off, cutting off the soundtrack in mid-note, with word of another murder.
  • Doctor Who:
    • "Rose", the first episode of the revival, starts off with a normal day in Rose's life: she wakes up, goes to work in a shop, has lunch with her boyfriend... and then a bunch of mannequins come alive and start attacking her.
    • Steven Moffat has made an art of this trope. "The Girl in the Fireplace" is a particularly good example: the pre-titles sequence is set in 18th-century France. The first shot after the titles is of a spaceship captioned with the words "3000 years later".
    • "Planet of the Dead" begins with Lady Christina stealing an artifact from a museum. It leans into the heist story aesthetic so strongly that viewers might be forgiven for thinking they've tuned into the wrong show until the Doctor boards the bus.
  • Freaks and Geeks: The opening minutes of the pilot have one that also serves as a Take That! to conventional Teen Drama: It starts with a football player and a cheerleader trying to get the audience to care about their relationship. Then it pans down under the bleachers and by the field to the real main cast: the outcasts. This sets the tone that it’s not a Beverly Hills, 90210 type of show.
  • GLOW begins with main character Ruth giving an impassioned monologue about being tough enough to inherit her father's empire. It turns out that this is just an audition, and she's actually a Starving Artist actress with a completely different personality.
  • Law & Order episodes tend to start with some people going about their business, dramatic music starts playing, we pan over to a body they just found, then cut to the police arriving on the scene.
  • Lost
    • The second season premiere is well known for its opening scene, featuring a faceless character going about his morning business in an ordinary room set to "Make Your Own Kind of Music." Until an explosion and some camera angles reveal we're actually inside the hatch. We eventually learn the character is named Desmond.
    • Lost has made bait and switch season openers a tradition. Season 3 begins with newcomer Juliet making brownies and talking with her fellow suburbanites. Except "suburbia" is actually a small village on the island, Juliet and friends are the previously "uncivilized" Others, and the event that ruins their day is the crash of flight 815.
      • And then it's inverted, with Juliet again. In the episode "Not in Portland" we are led to believe that she is on the island, for the first few scenes. Then she talks to a gal, which in reality is her sister, and opens the drapes, revealing that they are in Miami.
    • Season 4 plays with the assumption of an on-island opening, beginning with a shot of a pile of tropical fruit against a blue sky background, which is then run over by a car, with the car being driven by an unknown individual. The person is eventually revealed to be Hurley, the last person you'd expect to be fleeing from the cops.
    • Season 5 plays with the trope: it's rather obvious who the faceless individual is (Marvin Candle/Pierre Chang), but what isn't clear is when the scene is occuring and why we're witnessing it. The real twist is the sudden appearance of Daniel Faraday.
    • Even the infamous Nikki and Paulo got this; Nikki was doing a show within a show for her flashback episode.
  • Mockingbird Lane was an updated version of The Munsters — so the silhouetted figure with the square head must be the new Herman, right? Yeah, but when the lights come up, he looks like an ordinary guy (Jerry O'Connell). The "square head" was a lighting fixture behind him.
  • Monty Python's Flying Circus does this a lot.
    • Episode 12 from Series 2 ("Spam") opens with authentic-looking full titles and Opening Scroll for an 18th-century pirate movie called The Black Eagle. The movie plays for a few moments before its characters walk by John Cleese at his announcer's desk. "And Now for Something Completely Different."
    • Episode 3 from Series 3 starts with the actual opening titles to BBC financial show The Money Programme. The presenter begins normally, then starts ranting about his Money Fetish and breaks into song.
    • Another third series episode begins with the intro music and logo for Thames TV, followed by an appearance by its announcer, David Hamilton. "We've got an action-packed evening for you tonight on Thames, but right now here's a rotten old BBC programme."
    • The final episode of Series 4 begins with a voiceover falsely introducing it as a party political broadcast (a subject also parodied in the deleted opening scene of one of the Series 3 episodes).
  • The Outer Limits (1995):
    • "Down to Earth" opens with a shot of what appears to a crashed Flying Saucer with the bodies of two Little Green Men beside it. The camera pans to reveal that is nothing more than a display for the North American UFO Convention.
    • "Gettysburg" opens with a sepia toned scene of what appears to be a Confederate soldier crouched down behind a rock about to shoot an unsuspecting Union soldier during the American Civil War. However, the sepia is replaced by a normal colour palette and it is revealed that the two men, Vince Chance and Andy Larouche, are War Re Enactors and good friends. The opening serves as Foreshadowing as Vince and Andy are soon sent back in time to the real Battle of Gettysburg by Nicholas Prentice.
  • On Quantum Leap, the teaser for "Moments to Live" has Sam as a surgeon whose patient is dying. The patient's husband shoves Sam to the wall and says, "You killed her." When we return from the titles, we learn that Sam has leaped into an actor who plays a surgeon on a soap opera. He also leaped into Al's dream at the beginning of "A Leap for Lisa".
  • The Scream films, as noted above, have a Dead Star Walking tradition with the opening scenes, and the first season of the TV adaptation continued with this tradition by having Bella Thorne be the opening victim. Later seasons, however, played with this.
    • The second season did a fake-out when the Ghostface trying to kill Audrey turns out to be a harmless prankster (albeit only after she non-fatally stabs him), while Vine star Lele Pons' opening-victim cameo is in a cheesy slasher movie being screened at the theater Audrey works at.
    • The reboot Resurrection, meanwhile, looks to be setting up Paris Jackson (Michael's daughter) as the opening victim, but Ghostface turns out to be a little kid trick-or-treating, and she sends him on his way. Instead, it's that kid, the protagonist's twin brother, who gets killed off.
  • The BBC 2008 adaptation of Sense and Sensibility opened with the credits rolling over shots of a man running his hands over the body of a woman in little more than a corset. We watched in horrified silence, then it changed to a perfectly normal adaptation of Sense and Sensibility. It was depicting Willoughby's seduction of Eliza, which is pretty important to the plot, but was certainly put in there to shock.
  • St. Elsewhere:
    • "Where There's Hope, There's Crosby" begins with the camera panning around what appears to be the emergency room of St. Eligius. When the camera reaches the entrance to the hospital, Luther's giant smiling face is seen. It turns out that it is a model that Drs. Westphall and Auschlander had made for the hospital's founder Father Joseph McCabe.
    • "Not My Type" opens with Dr. Westphall, Helen Rosenthal and Carol Novino rushing to Dr. Auschlander's office to resuscitate him. They try valiantly but are unable to revive him and he is pronounced dead. Dr. Craig then bursts into the office and gets to work on him, determined to use his vast skills to save Auschlander's life. It is then revealed that this is nothing more than a fictional account of Craig's heroic exploits that he wrote after getting distracted with his memoirs. It is the first of several fantasy sequences involving Dr. Auschlander's death from various different causes (including being murdered by Westphall) in the episode.
    • The Season Six premiere "Resurrection" appears to begin immediately where the Season Five finale "Last Dance at the Wrecker's Ball" left off. St. Eligius is about to be demolished with Dr. Auschlander inside. When the wrecking ball strikes the hospital entrance, the roof of the lobby collapses, seemingly crushing Auschlander. However, he flies out from under the rubble wearing a Superman costume with an "A" in place of the Man of Steel's usual "S." At this point, it becomes apparent that this is a dream that Auschlander is having. In reality, the demolition was stopped after the ball had struck the building only once, causing very minor damage, as the hospital was bought by the Ecumena Corporation. Auschlander managed to escape, though he tore a ligament in his left leg in the process.
  • In the Supernatural episode "Phantom Traveler" (S01, Ep04), the teaser shows a beach landscape complete with Hawaiian music, before our traveler lifts his head and we hear a jet roar, which make us realize the scene is in an airport and the landscape is a picture.
  • Alluded to for laughs on German late night show TV Total when an audiobook narrated by band Scooter's H.P. Baxxter, in which machines were mentioned, was suggested by host Stefan Raab to be a Fake-Out Opening into a regular techno piece.
  • The Twilight Zone (1959): "Showdown with Rance McGrew" begins with what appears to be two cowboys in The Wild West discussing whether a man will show up, seemingly for a gunfight. Rance McGrew then drives up in his Ford Thunderbird with longhorns, revealing that the cowboys were actors who were wondering when the star of the show was going to turn up for shooting.

  • Spike Jones thrived on this trope. His band would perform the beginning of a piece completely straight, then suddenly switch gears and get really wacky.
  • The Randy Newman-composed song "Vine Street" opens with the singer performing an entirely different song (Harry Nilsson sings a hard-rockin' song; Van Dyke Parks does a bluegrass song), before cutting it off abruptly and starting the actual song, a slow ballad with these opening lyrics: "That's a tape that we made/But I'm sad to say it never made the grade."
  • The famous music video for Michael Jackson's "Thriller." It opens with a sequence that's clearly set in the 1950s, with the young ingenue playing a teen girl and Michael playing an admirer of hers who turns into a werewolf. We then cut to a shot of a movie theater where the ingenue and Michael are watching the scene, and it then becomes clear that the ingenue has imagined herself and Michael in the roles. They then leave the theater (whose marquee, appropriately, features the title of Thriller)... at which point Michael finally starts singing, and the real horror begins. Not so much a Fake-Out Opening as an overly drawn-out Cat Scare, really.
  • "Hello", the first track of Oasis' "(What's the Story) Morning Glory", begins by fading in the first few chords of their previously released single, and considerably more well-known song, "Wonderwall". This is promptly interrupted by the (MUCH louder) sound of a water droplet followed by the thundering first notes of "Hello".
  • Used briefly by Disturbed for their cover of Judas Priest's "Living After Midnight". The song was meant to appear on a British Steel tribute, but it instead starts with the famous drum opening from "Painkiller". Living After Midnight begins immediately after Painkiller's guitar squeal would have.
  • At the 1999 CMA Awards, Alan Jackson started out his performance with his scheduled song, "Pop a Top", but stopped halfway through the song and switched to George Jones' "Choices" (which had some controversy regarding the awards at the time) for the chorus. When he was done, he walked off the stage, left the building, got on his bus, and left.
    • In a similar vein, at the 1992 MTV Video Music Awards, Kurt Cobain told the producers of the show that he wanted to play "Rape Me", but was told not to. At the actual show, during his set, he played the first line of "Rape Me" and immediately switched to "Lithium", as if to say "PSYCHE!!".
    • Not to mention Elvis Costello's famous 1977 performance on Saturday Night Live, when he interrupted his scheduled performance of "Less Than Zero" to play "Radio Radio", a song he was specifically told not to perform due to being anti-media (the lyrics criticize the corporate takeover of nearly all radio stations in America, and showrunner Lorne Michaels was afraid of offending NBC's then-parent company General Electric — which had already dismantled NBC's entire radio division). Costello got himself banned from the show for 12 years because of this. When he returned, he did it (with SNL's approval) by interrupting The Beastie Boys' performance of "Sabotage" to instead play... "Radio Radio" with the Beasties as backing band.
  • While "Weird Al" Yankovic's parodies, and most parodies in general, are designed to make the listener think they're the original song at first, the same is true for several of his polkas. "Polka Your Eyes Out", "Bohemian Polka" and "The Alternate Polka" start out as near-clones of Billy Idol's "Cradle Of Love", Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody" and Beck's "Loser" before introducing any traditional polka instruments.
    • The same is true for "Bedrock Anthem", which starts as a parody of Red Hot Chili Peppers' "Under The Bridge", but quickly switches to "Give It Away".
  • Blue Öyster Cult's "Flaming Telepaths" opens with a tinkling music box that plays for about four seconds before the band's usual Gothic hard rock style kicks in.
  • Queen, in particularly Freddie Mercury, thrived on writing in this style - most notably through abuse of the a-capella operatic choir. To name but a few songs: "Bohemian Rhapsody", "I Want It All", "Breakthru", "You Take My Breath Away", "Somebody to Love", "Don't Stop Me Now", "Fat Bottomed Girls"... you get the idea.
  • Primus's Frizzle Fry starts the same way as their live debut Suck On This, with a quote of the drum intro of Rush's "YYZ"... Except this time, it's followed by a swift Letting the Air out of the Band effect, and then the studio version of "To Defy The Laws Of Tradition" starts instead. Since it's a clip taken straight from Suck On This (even including the same audible cheer), it seems like an attempt to momentarily trick listeners into thinking that there's been a pressing mistake and they just bought a mislabeled album they most likely already had.
  • The Beastie Boys' 2006 concert film Awesome; I Fuckin' Shot That! begins by duplicating the opening crawl from Scarface (1983):
    In May 1980, Fidel Castro opened the harbor at Mariel, Cuba with the apparent intention of letting some of his people join their relatives in the United States. Within seventy-two hours, 3,000 U.S. boats were headed for Cuba. It soon became evident that Castro was forcing the boat owners to carry back with them not only their relatives, but the dregs of his jails. Of the 125,000 refugees that landed in Florida an estimated 25,000 had criminal records.

    Regardless, on October 9, 2004, the Beastie Boys handed out 50 Hi 8 cameras to gung-ho audience members. Although none of these camera operators were trained, they captured the show with love and passion.
  • Sid Vicious of the Sex Pistols performs "My Way" in such fashion in the climactic concert scene in the Pistols' film The Great Rock 'n' Roll Swindle. The scene is set as Sid is introduced by an announcer at a Parisian concert hall, then takes the stage in perhaps the most formal getup he was ever photographed wearing (bondage pants and a suit jacket without a shirt), then very sarcastically sings the first verse over a string-laden instrumental backing more saccharine than the Frank Sinatra version. Then, Steve Jones' punk guitar kicks in and Sid delivers a snarling, aggressive rendition of the rest of the song, concluding with him shooting several members of the audience. Supposedly, the entire performance was originally to have been in the same style as the beginning, but Sid wouldn't comply with his manager Malcolm McLaren's request to record the song, instead listening to Ramones albums in the studio. He only agreed to record the song when someone suggested that the song switch to a Ramones-like pace after the first verse and McLaren signed a contract freeing Sid from his management upon completion of the song and the accompanying film sequence.
  • The Pixies: The first chord of "Here Comes Your Man" from Doolittle is very sinister compared to the rest of the song.
  • Eminem's "Without Me" starts with the opening two seconds of Obie Trice's "Rap Name", just enough that a listener might think they're listening to the wrong song, before a Record Needle Scratch heralds the start of the actual song. It helped that "Rap Name" itself wouldn't be released for another five months.
  • Played with in Pendulum's song "Blood Sugar", which starts with a spoken-word intro from Jon Briggs (yes, the voice of Siri) proclaiming that what you're about to hear isn't a drum-and-bass song as promised, but "the sonic recreation of the end of the world". The song then segues into a typical Pendulum intro, forcing Briggs to admit, "Okay, fuck it. I Lied. It's drum-and-bass. Whatcha gonna do?" right before the drop.
  • Early instrumental rockers The Ventures opened their 1965 Christmas album by playing the intro to their Signature Song "Walk, Don't Run", then morphing it into "Sleigh Ride". The rest of the album featured more cases where they start out playing a well-known rock song, then switch to a Christmas tune.
  • Dragon's Dogma's intro theme, "Into Free" starts off with a generic, somber piano ballad that's pretty typical for the kind of JRPG that it is - before it abruptly shifts to an over-the-top, Large Ham J-Rock song. Dark Arisen replaced the song with something much more typical, to the disappointment of many.
  • Murray Head's "One Night in Bangkok" begins with several seconds of very Oriental-sounding instrumentals that sound absolutely nothing like the rest of the song, which is your average 80's new wave.
  • Electric Light Orchestra's version of "Roll Over Beethoven" starts with a quotation of Ludwig van Beethoven's Symphony No. 5 as replicated by the band's string section. It goes on just long enough to make you think you've accidentally tuned in to a classical music radio station instead of a rock station, then there's a pause and an electric guitar starts playing a fast paced rock and roll lead.

    Pro Wrestling 
  • WWE pay-per-view events occasionally open with very strange segments that are apparently supposed to be "gimmicky" and sometimes aren't even thematically tied to the program as a whole. WWE's former October event, No Mercy, opened this way in 2007. It featured a Fake Out Opening that was indeed tied to the program's theme, albeit very loosely: with no sound, we are shown the Old Testament passage "And the waters prevailed, so mighty...." against a black screen, like an intertitle in a silent movie. Only then does a montage begin of John Cena (who had recently had to vacate his year-long championship due to injury) defeating various opponents between September 2006 and September 2007. It becomes clear that Cena is supposed to be the "mighty waters." Then Cena is shown being ambushed and put out of action by Randy Orton, and the narrator intones: "Alas, the rain...." (So, does this paradoxically suggest that as Cena was the waters, Orton was the rain that caused the waters in the first place?!) Then Orton is shown releasing a white dove and is compared to Noah, in an obvious and very awkward Everyone Is Jesus in Purgatory.
  • Oh yes, and who could forget the flamboyantly tasteless one introducing WWF Invasion (the landmark show in which WWE wrestlers fought WCW and ECW wrestlers), which opened with newsreel footage of Franklin D. Roosevelt announcing in 1939 (1941?) that "I have failed to prevent the invasion" - followed immediately by Stephanie McMahon maniacally screaming "Nothing can stop the Invasion!" and a wacked-out montage of Hitler, Mussolini, Stalin and so forth juxtaposed with Kurt Angle, Diamond Dallas Page, and all the other WWE, WCW, and ECW wrestlers? Especially gauche in that the pay-per-view was held in 2001 - the year that marked the 60th anniversary of the Pearl Harbor attack.note 
  • The 2005 edition of The Great American Bash opens with what seems at first to be a melodramatic political ad for television, complete with a soaring bald eagle, a double exposure of a fluttering American flag, and majestic Aaron Copland-style music. You get the sense that Ronald Reagan would have loved it.
  • The cold opening for WWE's 2010 pay-per-view Over The Limit at first appears to be a grainy old educational film urging schoolchildren to follow the rules... which then yields to major Mood Whiplash as it becomes apparent that the WWE Superstars are not going to be doing that.

In Episode 66 of 372 Pages We'll Never Get Back, Mike Nelson says he has finally had enough of slogging through the grim prose of Shadow Moon and bunks off, revealing he has paid his niece Caitlin $150 to read that week's chapters and fill in for him. She staggers through the opening, drowsy and spluttering as she's still recovering from dental surgery, shows absolutely no interest in the book or the podcast, and can't even stay on topic. By this point, we're 10 minutes into the episode and it's turning into a complete train-wreck, until finally Caitlin walks out, leaving a sheepish Mike to come back and resume the podcast. He takes a break to read that week's section of the book, the theme music plays again and the episode starts afresh.

    Puppet Shows 
  • The all-marionette film Team America: World Police opens with a poorly-controlled marionette against a crudely painted flat backdrop. After a few moments, the camera pulls back, revealing that this puppet show is just a Show Within a Show for the real setting, which is much more elaborate. Trey Parker and Matt Stone did this as a joke to freak out investors who had sunk a lot of money into the film, one of whom reportedly screamed "My god, they fucked us!"

  • Godspell begins with an ensemble number in which Socrates, Thomas Aquinas, Martin Luther, Leonardo da Vinci, Edward Gibbon, Friedrich Nietzsche, Jean-Paul Sartre and Buckminster Fuller argue about philosophy.
  • Jersey Boys opens with a rap version of "December, 1963 (Oh, What a Night)" that's in French, complete with loud beat and skanky dancing. It's meant to explain both how far music has come since The '60s and how popular The Four Seasons' work remains, as that particular version really exists.
  • Lady in the Dark brings the curtain up on the opening scene without an overture or a single note of music from the orchestra, which for a 1940s Broadway musical was completely unheard of. Music comes in only when Liza starts to hum the Dream Melody.
  • In The Real Thing by Tom Stoppard, the first scene of the play is from a play written by the protagonist and starring his wife, an actress. This is not indicated till well into the 2nd scene.

    Video Games 
  • Assassin's Creed starts with a glitchy white computer field as Altaïr, before switching to... somebody who is most definitely not Altaïr in the future. Considering the game was billed as a semi-realistic depiction of the ancient order of assassins, and reviewers were forbidden to discuss the five-minute twist, it was generally very jarring to new players. Nowadays, It Was His Sled.
  • Biing! – Sex, Intrigen und Skalpelle opens by setting itself up as a run-of-the-mill, bog-standard Space Opera Shoot 'Em Up. After a lenghty Transformation Sequence, explaining the various upgrade to the Player Character's ship, does the actual hospital management part of the game begin.
  • The first four levels of Donkey Kong '94 play out more or less the same as Donkey Kong did, including DK falling on his head when the fourth stage is cleared... Then he gets back up, kidnaps Pauline again and the real game begins.
  • Several of the Fallout games, particularly the first and Bethesda's third installment, begin with kitschy, fifty-styles advertisements about what a great world it is. The camera slowly pulls back, showing the advertisements playing on a television in the middle of a nuclear wasteland. Enter Ron Perlman's iconic narration...
  • The opening of the Sega CD game Keio Flying Squadron starts out with some historical garbage before going into the plot proper, with the game even stating that it is "Completly unrelated to these historical proceedings."
  • One level of Sexy Parodius looks a bit like a parody of the Castlevania series. The music for that level begins with the first few notes of the easily recognizable "Vampire Killer" (a very popular Castlevania theme) before turning into, of all things, a polka. The boss fight against Medusa does the same thing with the classic boss theme "Poison Mind".
    • At the end of the Tokimeki Memorial-themed stage in Jikkyou Oshaberi Parodius, the bosses are giant schoolgirl forms of previously-playable characters Hikaru and Akane. Their theme from the previous installment plays for a few bars before turning into Necke's "Csikos Post".
  • The Reconstruction. Rehm isn't the main character, and the prologue happened 50 years prior to the actual story. This is fairly obvious, though, since the game practically tells you such at the beginning, and the game's official description makes no attempt to hide it.
  • A Space Shooter for Two Bucks! has a lengthy intro cutscene about a weak student who has trouble with a bully. He trains to be strong enough to fight against the bully. When he's ready to fight, the bully knocks him out, the bully joins the space corps, and you play the game as the bully.
  • The prologue of Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair has a perky, upbeat opening sequence for "Dangan Island" which, once Monokuma shows up and disrupts the "school trip," is followed by the actual opening credits.
  • The Super Mario Maker level played at NWC 2015 begins with a very faithful recreation of world 1-1 from Super Mario Bros., but a wall of firebars appears shortly after the beginning, forcing the players to take the pipe.
  • The intro to Syndicate Wars opens with a man strolling down the street in a pleasant village, until the Lotus-Eater Machine chip in his head is crashed by the villains, revealing that he's really in a Blade Runner-style megalopolis and gets caught in the crossfire of the Syndicate agents' miniguns.
  • Cinemaware's The Three Stooges game opens with the title screen for Defender of the Crown (Ghostbusters II in the NES version). Then the Stooges walk on, look at the title, and Larry says, "Hey, this looks like a kid's game!"

    Web Animation 
  • Homestar Runner: The Strong Bad Email "senior prom" starts with an intro for "The King of Town's Very Own Quite Popular Cartoon Show", which is quickly interrupted by an announcement that it's being pre-empted for the Strong Bad Email, "already in progress". Played with later when we do get a cartoon with this name later, and the King of Town even lampshades it.
  • On the DVD for Red vs. Blue season 3, the intro shows a huge amount of explosions, gun shots, and action sequences (all of which actually happen, but generally as brief, isolated moments). Then it cuts to Grif and Simmons, the former of which is excited by the explosions in the opening, and the latter wondering what the hell a bunch of explosions have to do with a series that mostly consists of people standing around in a canyon and talking.
    Grif: Oh, yeah! This DVD is going to be packed with fighting and action!
    Simmons: What, no it's not!
    Grif: Then how do you explain all those kick-ass explosions we just saw?
  • Battle For Dream Island Again: BFDIA 4 has a "Battle for Nothing" intro when the contestants realize that Dream Island is missing ever since Leafy stole it.
    • Battle for BFDI has another "Battle For Nothing"intro, with all dead and eliminated contestants missing, when the contestants realize the that Four has the prize, The BFDI.

  • Gunnerkrigg Court: Chapter 23, "Terror Castle of the Jupiter Moon Martians", starts off looking like it's going to be about Annie, Parley and Smitty completing one of Dr. Disaster's retro sci-fi simulations. On the second page of the chapter, Smitty's order-causing powers end the mission before it's even started, and the plot moves on to the trio's medium training.
  • xkcd proposes this example (seen above), about a story that begins like a Zombie Apocalypse, but the infection is successfully contained with the first infectee, so it goes on to become a Romantic Comedy about the people who stopped it.

    Web Original 
  • The Angry Video Game Nerd examples:
    • The Superman 64 episode begins with the Nerd attempting to review the Superman game for the Commodore 64 ("Yeah, that's what you mean, right?"), but he ends up Rage Quitting on the third level. He then realizes which game was actually requested the most.
    AVGN: Aw, come on. You really want to make me play [the Nintendo 64 game]? Well, I'm gonna do it just for you... 'cause I like ya alot. And don't take that too serious.
    • The Pepsiman episode starts off with the Nerd talking about games based on junk food and making the episode seem to focus on Yo! Noid. Then the Nerd runs into Pepsiman, who replaces the game with Pepsiman. After a quick overview of the Pepsiman character and his commercials, the Nerd tries looking into other junk food games, only for Pepisman to replace those games with additional copies of the Pepsiman game as well. The Nerd eventually gives in when Pepsiman intimidates him into playing the game.
    Nerd: Well, in the chance that you were lookin' forward to Cool Spot, or Yo! Noid... can't play 'em because they're all Pepsiman now. Everything I want to play is Pepsiman. Yeah.
  • Everything Wrong With Sonic 06: The video starts off like normal (disclaimer and everything), but then the narrator simply states that "Everything. Everything's wrong with it." and the remainder of the video is a loop of the scene of Amy juggling balls from Sonic Boom with Silver's "It's no use!" playing over it.note 
  • This special edit of Unanimous Delivers' mashup, "1000 PEOPLE CLICKED ON THE SUBSCRIBE BUTTON BY ACCIDENT", starts with about three minutes of The Dover Boys, but when Dan Backslide is about to say "Confound those Dover Boys!", he instead says "Confound those ponies!", cuing the mashup.
  • Scooby Doo Mistakes once opened by making it look as though Colin was going to dedicate a series of posts to LEGO Scooby Doo: Blowout Beach Bash, but he didn't go beyond the very first second and its egregious use of Comic Sans before abruptly switching gears.
    Colin: …aaaaand that’s why now we’re gonna watch Scooby-Doo! Moon Monster Madness instead.

    Western Animation 
  • On April Fools' Day 2012, it looked like [adult swim] was doing an April Fools marathon of The Room for a fourth year in a row... until it cut to TOM-3 watching the movie and greeting viewers before cutting to the old intro for Toonami and staying as Toonami for the rest of the night.
  • In Barbie Star Light Adventure, the opening starts by saying a destined leader would stop the stars from going out... then points out that it's not King Constantine.
  • The Dexter's Laboratory episode "D & DD" (or "Siblings and Sorcery") begins with a fantasy-type adventure involving a swordsman, a magician and an archer. When they're attacked by a wizard, one of them cries out "cheater!" It's revealed that it's Dexter and three of his friends playing a Dungeons and Dragons-type game, which is the focus of the episode.
  • The Fairly OddParents! episode "Super Bike" opens with Cosmo and Timmy deep sea diving and getting attacked by a shark. The shark turns out to be Wanda, and the whole thing is a harmless game.
  • Looney Tunes:
    • The Wartime Cartoon "Brother Brat" opens with a stirring, graphically dynamic montage saluting women in the workforce exceptionally handling defense factory work — and it all leads to the big question of where to leave their kid while they're at the job. It's a setup for slapstick mayhem as Porky Pig babysits a terrifying infant.
    • 'Duck Amuck' starts out with Daffy Duck in a swashbuckling adventure — and then Daffy realizes there's no background, and things quickly go off the rails.
      Daffy: Psst! Whoever's in charge here... the scenery! Where's the scenery?
  • The Ruby-Spears Mega Man show had one in the episode "Electric Nightmare". Megaman is battling Wily's robots and winning...until electrical cables get wrapped around him and fry him. Megaman dead. Or not; in an interesting variation of the trope, it was Wily doing a run-through of his latest scheme with action figures.
  • Rugrats had a variation of this.
    • The first 3-5 seconds of almost every episode would begin with some bizarre, abstract combination of colors and lines. It would turn out to be a close-up of a random item, which may or may not be relevant to the plot.
    • The Rugrats Movie opened with an action sequence where the babies (in full "Okie-Dokie Jones" regalia) try to retrieve some kind of monkey idol. It turns out to just be another one of their daydreams.
    • A somewhat stranger example opened the sequel, Rugrats in Paris, this time with a parody of The Godfather. Again, the kids are just playing pretend.
    • Rugrats Go Wild! continued the tradition by showing the babies having a jungle adventure. It's yet another daydream, which the babies imagined after watching some of Nigel Thornberry's documentaries.
  • South Park:
    • The episode "Cartoon Wars, Part II" opened with a screen saying that the conclusion to Part I "will not be seen tonight" and would instead be replaced by a Terrance and Phillip cartoon. This made reference to the premiere of season 2, which aired on April Fool's Day and was in fact an entire episode devoted to the show-within-a-show, rather than the promised conclusion to season 1's cliffhanger ending. (To add insult to injury, at one point Terrance and Phillip started watching the "real" South Park season premiere on TV, but changed the channel before the cliffhanger resolution could happen.) This time, however, the Terrance and Phillip episode only lasted for about a minute before the prophet Muhammad showed up, though the visual of the actual character is censored out by the HBC network (the censorship of Muhammad is the point of conflict in the Cartoon Wars episode). Terrance and Phillip then get into an argument with the network president, who tells them, "Your show has become so preachy and full of messages that you've forgotten how to be funny!" The duo then argue that Family Guy is going to show an episode with Mohammed uncensored, but the president says that someone might be on their way to the Fox network to get that episode pulled. At that point the actual episode began.
    • The opening scene in "Spooky Fish" appears to set up an Alien Invasion story... only for the alien in question to get run over by the school bus. The rest of the episode revolves around an Evil Twin and a Mirror Universe.
  • Tex Avery MGM Cartoons:
    • In his early years at MGM, Tex Avery set up cartoons like "Screwball Squirrel (1944)" and "Red Hot Riding Hood" by opening them in the overly saccharine storybook style that had been the studio's stock in trade — before going utterly crazy.
    • Tex doesn't waste time in "Batty Baseball". It opens with the title card, then a good 20 seconds of cartoon mayhem on the baseball diamond, before one of the characters stops everything and demands to know what happened to the MGM lion opening. The narrator apologizes and the MGM lion titles are shown.
  • Tiny Toon Adventures:
    • "The Wheel of Comedy" opens with Buster stating that it's "Spectacular Day," which is going to be looking at epic adventures, only for Babs to come in and tell him that the episode is running over-budget, forcing them to resort to shorts.
    • "How Sweetie It Is" starts with Buster attempting to show the adventures of history's greatest rabbits, only for Sweetie to hijack the episode.
    • "Buster and Babs Go Hawaiian" starts out as a dramatic action-adventure episode starring Hamton, complete with fake title cards. Minutes into it, Buster and Babs come in, upset that they're being completely cut out of the episode, kickstarting the real plot of the story.
  • Nearly every episode of Ugly Americans starts out looking like a horror film, instead of a comedy about social services for monsters. For instance, the first episode started with a guy Chained to a Bed with duct tape over his mouth in a room covered with Satanic symbols as a laughing succubus flies away saying "See you in hell, mortal scum!" and a zombie breaks down the door and shambles slowly towards the bed as the chained man looks pained... Then the zombie rips the tape off his mouth and turns the light on.
    Randall (the zombie): "Oh my god, you still banging that demon chick? I thought somebody was getting murdered in here last night."


Video Example(s):


MLP: A New Generation

The movie opens with the Mane Six from My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic setting off to another adventure in Equestria. However, it is later revealed that the entire scene is just based on a bunch of young earth ponies playing with wooden toys of the Mane Six.

How well does it match the trope?

4.33 (18 votes)

Example of:

Main / FakeOutOpening

Media sources: