The Return of the Opening Credits

Recent films like Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy, and television shows like Westworld, have stood out in recent years by bringing back a popular trend of a time nearly forgotten.

Do you remember the days when every movie began with opening credits? Right around the mid-2000s, that all completely disappeared. Very rarely do we see these anymore. There was once a time when every single movie would start with a flurry of names appearing on screen, sometimes over a scene, other times over some B roll set to music, you would rarely see a movie without it.

Alas, as I said, around the mid-2000s, these opening credits almost completely disappeared. For years, there were hardly any movies that had opening credits. The ratio of credits to no credits was essentially inverted. During these “void years,” our lust for opening credits was hardly sustained.

It is now that we have reached the present period of opening credits: the resurgence. In recent years, we’ve seen a rise in the use of opening credits. One of the most acclaimed of these was Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy. This movie used music to its advantage, its soundtrack was a huge part of the film, and it made this very clear right at the beginning with opening credits of Chris Pratt (as Peter Quill) dancing to Redbone’s Come and Get Your Love, an opening credits scene that would be remembered as one that brought back opening credits again.

Following Guardians of the Galaxy, we’ve seen opening credits become more and more common, once again. Especially with many new Netflix shows, with incredible sequences like that of Westworld and American Gods, and while the title sequence never completely disappeared from television quite like it did from movies, they were rarely as creative as the more modern ones we’ve seen today.

Personally, I couldn’t be happier. I think that opening credits sequences have a lot of potential in a movie, it’s such an effective method of setting the tone. I love that there are endless possibilities, and I can’t wait to see what title sequences the future has in store.

4 thoughts on “The Return of the Opening Credits

  1. Interesting article Marshall. I believe that the shows on Netflix have really embraced having an interesting opening credits sequence. They are great to set the tone of the show or Episode. You’re right that movies have just recently begun to create more opening credits sequences like GOTG. I don’t really remember any exceptional credit sequences between films from 2000-2010. But now it seems that almost every big blockbuster film has some form of opening credits. Do you ever think the blockbuster genre will ever become over saturated with opening credits? Personally, I think they’re great, as long as they don’t become stale and lose their creativity.

  2. I too thoroughly enjoy opening title sequences, There is a sort of grandiose factor to them that helps create more emotion and bonds a better connection to the viewer. It gives you a small taste of the full meal before you dig in, which most movies do not do anymore. I welcome more movies with bigger and better title sequences, so movies will stand out from each other. I also love how title sequences can vary in emotion and impact, such as the To Kill a Mockingbird title sequence, which subtly evokes childish innocence accompanied by a humming melody from the protagonist and soft horns from the soundtrack. It really captures the essence of the story, like any great title sequence should. Very good article!

  3. Opening sequences have now come back in a big way. I especially like the Guardians of The Galaxy opening sequence where the music drove the story and also gave context into Chris Pratt’s character. The marvel shows that have come out on Netflix have great title sequences as well such as Daredevil, Jessica Jones, etc. The James Bond Films always had good title sequences. Having an impressive title sequence helps set the mood for the movie, it’s like its own version of telling a mini story within the main story of the film.

    Good article, really enjoyed that you looked into wonderful world of movie making

  4. Very well done article, Marshall. I do have to agree that opening sequences have made a big come back. Guardians of the Galaxy is a very good example. I remember going into the theater to see this film and being utterly blown away by the opening sequence. I like to think the mix of comedy, music and action all rolled together in a very entertaining ball that is Chris Pratt and laser guns!

    Very well done article, thank you for adding the video links as well!

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