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Open-Door Opening

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"You are entering the vicinity of an area adjacent to a location. The kind of place where there might be a monster, or some kind of weird mirror. These are just examples; it could also be something much better. Prepare to enter: The Scary Door."note 

One very common, and fairly symbolic, way to begin a story is with the opening of a doorway. In prose or film, the act of passing through an entrance sets events in motion, transporting the characters into a new situation and bringing the audience along for the ride. In adventure games, a locked or obstructed entrance often constitutes the first challenge for players, giving them a chance to apply their ingenuity before they delve into the plot line. Either way, it's a handy alternative to In Medias Res.

Variants may use an opening door to mark major transitions between phases of a story, or to kick off the main plotline after a Batman Cold Open.

Ubiquitous in casual adventure games, so much so that aversions tend to feel like subversions. Also especially common in children's programs.

Opposite of Door-Closes Ending; combining both tropes in the same work creates Bookends.


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  • Health Hotline: The first thing we hear is Ellie opening the door to talk to Grandma.

    Anime & Manga 
  • First face seen in Barakamon anime opening is all-smiles Naru pushing aside the countryhouse entrance sliding door to make way for herself inside.
  • The title cards in Case Closed are presented by a squeaky door opening, revealing the episode's title.
  • Every episode of Deko Boko Friends begins with one of the characters entering through the red door.

    Asian Animation 
  • Pleasant Goat and Big Big Wolf: The Mr.Wolffy, Mr.Right! opening begins with Wolffy leaving an elevator and opening the door to the business he works at.
  • Pleasant Goat Fun Class: Animals & Plants episode 1 begins with the goats opening the door to the knowledge treasure-house.

    Film — Animated 
  • The "Dance of the Hours" segment of Fantasia starts with the opening of stately palace doors. It ends with the same doors falling off their hinges.
  • A multitude of doors open and close in the opening animation of Pixar's Monsters, Inc., indicative of doors' importance to the monsters' operations. The last door opens to the apartment of Mike Wazowski and Jimmy Sullivan as their workday morning begins.
  • In The Nightmare Before Christmas, the initial shot carries the viewer down among a ring of trees with holiday-themed doorways, and through the jack-o-lantern door to Halloweentown.

    Film — Live Action 
  • In the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical of Cinderella from 1965, a pair of gates to the castle garden opens at the beginning of the film.
  • Kenneth Branaugh's film adaptation of Henry V starts with the Chorus speaking backstage on a soundstage, and after the final words he throws open a door to show the first scene of the play.
  • Last Night in Soho: The movie starts with aspiring fashion designer Eloise opening a door and her dancing down a hallway, pretending to be a fashion model walking on a runway.
  • The Rocketeer starts with hangar doors opening and Cliff's brand new plane being rolled out.
  • The Searchers opens with the camera moving through an opening doorway, into a panoramic view of the desert. A matching scene of a closing door ends the film.
  • The Sign of Venus: Opens with a shot of an apartment building, and the camera zooming in on a window, which Cesira then opens. Lonely Cesira then looks across the courtyard at another apartment, where a handsome doctor is getting ready for his wedding.
  • Although not at the very beginning of the movie, the famous door opening into Oz in The Wizard of Oz plays the same role in starting the adventure.

    Live-Action Television 
  • The opening credits of Dinosaurs starts with a P.O.V. Cam shot of a big dinosaur stomping through the forest as ominous music plays. Then we see the inside of the Sinclair's door as Earl sticks his head in: "Honey, I'm home!"
  • In the opening credits for some seasons of the revived Doctor Who, the TARDIS doors fill the camera and open to segue into the action.
  • The opening credits to The Friendly Giant has the castle drawbridge opening, followed by opening of double doors bearing the name of the show. Said doors closed in the end credits.
  • Get Smart had the main character casually walking through a series of automatically-opening (and closing) sliding door pairs to get to his secret office.
  • The opening credit sequence of Hill Street Blues featured the door to the police garage opening and a police car driving out.
  • In the children's TV show The Magic Door the opening song encourages the viewer to "Open, come open, the Magic Door with me..." The eponymous door is the front door to an elf's house.
  • Every episode of Mister Rogers' Neighborhood begins with Mr. Rogers entering his house while singing "It's a Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood."
  • Not the opening of the show, but the opening of every interval of movie-riffing on Mystery Science Theater 3000 began with a tracking shot though a series of bulkhead doors on the Satellite of Love.
  • They sort of did this in the earlier version of The New Treasure Hunt game show. Seen at about 0:36 on this clip. There was also a counterpart door closing in the end credits.
  • The opening credits of the Australian version of Play School ends with the camera zooming up to a door that opens as the theme song sings:
    Open wide,
    Come inside.
    It's Play School.
  • The eerie Title Sequence of the British anthology series Shadows has the central door of a paper house swing open for the camera to advance through.
  • The opening credits of Star Trek: Enterprise, rather than displaying the show's title as an overlay, uses a Stock Footage clip of the atmospheric-test Space Shuttle Orbiter Enterprise being hauled out the open door of its hanger. The shuttle's name is prominently visible on its side.
  • Svengoolie opens each episode's round of movie-viewing and movie-riffing by swinging open the top end of the upright coffin he's standing inside.
  • The opening credits of Tales from the Crypt feature a continuous shot in which the camera closes in on the Cryptkeeper's house and enters the front door.
  • The Twilight Zone (1959) did this during the fourth and fifth seasons. "You unlock this door with the key of imagination..."

  • Alice Cooper's "Poison" starts with a door opening to reveal what looks like Alice. The ending reveals it's a blonde girl dressed up like him.


    Tabletop Games 
  • Many early Dungeons & Dragons adventure modules used this trope, as they tended to omit depictions of the world outside a dungeon so that DMs could seamlessly transplant their content into homebrew settings.


  • Played with in Closer Than Ever, which begins with a song about what doors symbolize. By the Book Ends principle, each act also has an Open Door Finale.
    Well, wha'd'ya know? Well, whad'y'a know?
    In front of me now is an open door,
    I'm moving ahead, not sure of the way,
    And yet there's a light that I'm headed for.

    Video Games 
  • In Baron Wittard, your first challenge is to bypass the security system that guards the abandoned arcology so you can enter.
  • In Devil May Cry:
    • One of the first things that happen in the original Devil May Cry is Trish breaking in Dante's office by driving her bike through his door. And right before you actually play Mission 1, Dante opens a huge gate as he and Trish arrive at Mallet Island.
    • In Devil May Cry 3: Dante's Awakening, Mission 1 ends with Dante kicking his office door open to go outside, Mission 2 begins with said door flying outward from the impact with Dante walking out shortly after it.
  • The first player controlled action of Hotel Dusk: Room 215 and Last Window is opening the door of the building the game takes place in.
  • In Earth and Sky, Emily and Austin are trying to find out what happened to their missing scientist parents. Episode one begins with Emily standing outside her parents' lab, and getting the door open is the first puzzle. Episode two does the same with Austin and their parents' holiday cottage.
  • Every stage in Kid Icarus: Uprising begins with Pit in a black area flying out a door and into the stage proper. One stage, in which Pit drops into the middle of a raging battle, has him dodging a stray blast that fires into the room, which can be seen catching fire as the camera follows Pit out to begin the stage.
  • Most of the "Ravenhearst" Story Arc adventures from Mystery Case Files start out with the Master Detective unlocking a gateway, or approaching the door to her client's residence.
  • Resident Evil
    • Used in the early games (1, 2 and 3) to instill a feeling of suspense.
    • This was done in Sweet Home (1989), where Shinji Mikami got the inspiration from.
  • Although there's a short Cutscene before it, the player first takes active control in Riven when a cell's gate drops down into the ground, setting the Stranger free to explore.
  • Scratches begins with the camera panning over several photos hung up in a bathroom converted to a darkroom, before descending to one photo in the tub that shows the door to the cellar of Blackwood Manor, slightly ajar.
  • An early subversion in Zork: The house you start in front of has the door boarded shut, and it feels natural to look for a way of opening it. In fact, it can't be opened. You have to go in through the rear window.

    Western Animation 
  • A series of increasingly-weird doors and gates open up during the opening credits of Beetlejuice, and the viewer's perspective passes through them.
  • The opening sequence of Pinky, Elmyra & the Brain begins with a camera zooming through the front door of Elmyra's house and through various rooms, while Pinky and the Brain themselves do the "What are we gonna do today?" exchange. The camera reaches the titular trio just in time for the Brain to declare, "Endure Elmyra, then try to Take Over the World!"
  • The opening credits of The Replacements begins with the gates to Todd and Riley's orphanage opening.
  • Several members of the family pass through doors as they head home and converge on the couch in The Simpsons's opening credits sequence.