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Misplaced-Names Poster

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Rachel McAdams was clearly having a tough day.

You're looking at a movie poster. There's the lineup of the cast, or their floating heads, or their mirrored profiles. You look up at the names of the actors, and much to the annoyance of your inner neat freak, the names listed don't match up with the actors. Why does this happen? Well, there could be a number of reasons. Maybe the text was laid out at a different time than the graphic. Maybe the actor's contracts stipulate whose name goes in which order (and the actor whose name comes first also has to be prominently in the middle of the poster). Maybe it was meant as some sort of joke. It could be that as is the convention for Hollywood posters, the highest paid or top-billed actor is displayed on the poster as the central figure in the image, and all lower-billed actors placed outward; whereas the names of the same actors are arranged in order of prominence from left to right.


There's also a rarer opening titles version, involving the credits not being aligned with the clips being shown, resulting in one actor's name appearing on top of footage of a completely different actor—often to the audience's confusion, if the cast members in question are not familiar names.

See also Diagonal Billing, which can be a cause of this trope if it's employed on the poster as well as in the credits.



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    Films — Animation 
  • Imagine how neat and organized the Shrek poster would be if the names of the voice actors lined up in accordance to how each character is positioned below.

    Films — Live-Action 

    Live-Action TV 
  • The promotional poster for the Doctor Who episode "The Bells of Saint John" switches Matt Smith and Jenna Coleman.
  • Some of the DVD covers for Nashville suggest that Connie Britton and Hayden Panettiere are starring in another remake of Freaky Friday.
  • The original titles for thirtysomething suffer from the opening credits version of this trope. The credits are in alphabetical order, but the visuals are completely doing their own thing, ignoring the credits—resulting in, for example, Timothy Busfield's name appearing over footage of Melanie Mayron vamping (and Mayron's credit appears over one of the babies).
  • The season 1 titles to Bones had a similar problem to thirtysomething. While the names for David Boreanaz and Emily Deschanel were matched (somewhat) correctly with their actors, the same couldn't be said for the others. For example, TJ Thyne's name was superimposed over Deschanel's face while Jonathan Adams' name was over both Boreanaz's face and the back of Deschanel's head. Season 2 corrected this going forward.

  • The album covers for Double Fantasy and Milk and Honey switch the names of John Lennon and Yoko Ono.
  • Crosby, Stills & Nash: their first album, the photo used for the cover has from left to right: Nash, Stills, and Crosby. Somewhat Justified, apparently: According to The Other Wiki, the photo was taken at an abandoned house, and at the time, the three had not yet decided on a name. By the time they settled on "Crosby, Stills and Nash", the house had been torn down.
  • The official soundtrack for Shrek is similar to the poster in the Films section, as shown here.

    Video Games 
  • In Left 4 Dead 2, loading screens for joining a server show a movie poster with the four player characters standing side-to-side, with a list of each player below the poster, their names listed in the same order as their characters. However, some creators of custom campaigns forget to set the order correctly for their campaign's poster, leading to, for example, Nick being on the right-hand side of the poster while the person playing him is listed first (by default from left to right it goes Nick, Rochelle, Coach, Ellis). The first Left 4 Dead averted this by having the names listed right above their characters' heads (and requiring X and Y coordinates for those names), but also made it much more apparent (not to mention funny) when a campaign's creator got lazy about it.

    Western Animation 

  • The VCR game Clue II: Murder in Disguise shows the caption "billiard room" over the introduction of the character Inspector Pride.
    Inspector Pride: My name is Inspector Pride.
    Ben Minnotte: No, it's not! I-it's Billiard Room, I could see it right there on the screen.
  • This is the premise of Botchamania's "That's Not My Name" section where the name display doesn't match the wrestler appears on-screen.

Alternative Title(s): Name Face Mismatch Poster