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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.

Contrast with In Medias Res or Action Prologue (e.g., James Bond and Indiana Jones films) — they still fit the milieu and draw you in to 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.

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

See also Bait and Switch Credits, Fake Action Prologue and Action-Hogging Opening.

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.

Examples of Fake-Out Opening include:

Anime and Manga

  • 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 opens with a lighted hearted junior high drama as some kids walk back home from school. Once Sakura makes it home, he finds Dokuro naked in his room, who reacts by partially decapitating him with her club.
  • Magical Project S opens with a saccharine theme song that suggests that the 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).
  • Narutaru starts with... a summer holiday trip.
  • The first 10 seconds of the first episode of Pokémon 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 no Naku Koro ni 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 a number of bizarre details, such as a talking cat that is quickly silenced. Only at the very end the viewers see the titular character and realize that it was made by the protagonists at her insistence.
  • The familiar television cast do not appear until the opening credits in Sailor Moon Super S: The Movie.
  • 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.)
  • Chirin no Suzu starts off as a cheerful movie about the adventures of a cute little lamb.
  • 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.

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. (Batman as a character on a TV show being broadcast in Gotham City! Celebrity Paradox, anyone?)
  • 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.


  • The opening of 48 HRS shows a chain gang in the middle of the desert.
  • The first scene of Spy Kids 2 involves the President's bratty daughter being shown around an Amusement Park full of wacky CGI rides.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Con Air starts with a montage about the U.S Army Rangers.
  • 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.
  • 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 Film of the Book of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.
  • Home Alone 3 starts with a bunch of shady characters smuggling a piece of military hardware through airport security.
  • Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events (2004) opens with a stomach-turningly twee musical CGI animation about a happy little elf, which is fortunately stopped cold by Jude Law's first voice-over.
  • In the first scene of The Princess Bride, a film about swordsmen and such, a boy is playing a baseball video game.
  • 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 Diary 2 before switching over to the actual film.
  • Mrs. Doubtfire opens with a Tom and Jerry-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 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 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.
  • The beginning of Serenity is a flashback-within-a-hallucination-within-a-flashback: it starts as an opening narration explaining the back story witch 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.
  • Stargate, arguably. The opening is an archaeological dig in Egypt in the 1920s.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Poetic Justice begins with Billy Zane getting it on with some girl, and getting killed. It's actually a movie Janet Jackson is watching.
  • XMen begins at a Nazi Concentration camp in the 1940s, showing the main villain Magneto's childhood.
  • Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom begins with a musical piece in a Shanghai nightclub.
    • Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade begins with what seems to be a regular intro with boy scouts. Then two of them become witness to a team of grave robbers with what looks to be Indiana Jones in lead. A shot of his face then reveals he isn't and one of the boy scouts is the actual hero in his youth.
  • Kevin & Perry Go Large begins with the execution of Anne Boleyn, which is later revealed to be one of Kevin's daydreams.
  • 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.
  • Hudson Hawk, the Bruce Willis caper movie, opens with Leonardo da Vinci overseeing various projects in his laboratory/workshop.
  • Subverted in the western Young Guns II. Over the credits an old prospector-type guy leads his mule across the desert. Which is fine for a western — until 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).
  • 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.
  • Under Siege 2 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.)
  • 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.
  • G.I. Joe the Rise of Cobra began in France, in the 14th century.
  • 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.
  • The first half hour of Cloverfield plays like a romantic comedy. This is done deliberitely, to show how random the monster's attack is from the character's perspectives.
  • The trailer for Green with Envy aka The Muppets is played like this.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Kiss Kiss Bang Bang begins in a church picnic with a kid doing magic tricks.
  • While James Bond is referred in the lead, Casino Royale 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.
  • Trailer example: The 1939 coming-attractions spot for John Ford's Stagecoach (a Western set just after the Civil War) opens with....documentary footage of trains (a stretch for the Old West, but still believable) and airplanes! It makes no sense at all without the narrator's commentary: he's comparing the present (1930s) with the past, and actual footage from the movie doesn't show up in the trailer until the narrator says something along the lines of "What were things like back then?" (Weird, to be sure, but justified and even effective for a moviegoing audience who up to this point had probably never seen a Western movie, or at least one that was done so well.)
  • Another trailer example: Bean opens with a montage of National Geographic-style footage of exotic locales, including one showing some tribal islanders worshipping a statue. The narrator explains that the statue is of Mr. Bean, although it's never explained to us why the islanders would believe Mr. Bean was a god.
  • The trailer for Mr. Bean's Holiday starts with a montage of brave explorers throughout history, going on to equate those with Mr. Bean's journey... to the beach.
  • Snakes on a Plane opens on a sunny beach scene on a tropical paradise.
  • 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 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.



 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.
  • Frankenstein begins with a series of letters from an Arctic explorer to his sister.
    • This probably wasn't a surprise to the novel's first readers, since far-off settings and adventurous characters were pretty common in Romantic-era fiction. It's only surprising to us because of what we've been conditioned to expect from the Frankenstein mythos. (Some paperback editions of the novel actually pander to modern prejudices by omitting the Arctic framing tale and jumping straight to the creation of the monster, including cover art that depicts the monster as Boris Karloff played him, and even including the tagline "It's alive, it's alive! Oh, God - it's alive!" - which is not in the book.)
  • 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.
  • If On A Winter's Night A Traveller, 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.
  • Bored of the Rings starts with an almost-sex scene that has absolutely nothing to do with the rest of the plot, and shocks people who are expecting a parody of Lord of the Rings.
  • The first Harry Potter book opens with a description of the Dursleys and their banal existence. The fourth book opens by describing events which occurred fifty years ago 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.

Live-Action TV

  • 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.
  • The first scene of Firefly takes place on a futuristic battlefield. The series itself is set on a spaceship.
  • The second season premiere of Lost 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.
  • 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 first episode of the new Doctor Who started off with a normal day in some blonde girl'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.
  • The 24 pilot began at 4 PM Kuala Lumpur time before shifting to 12 AM Los Angeles time.
  • Episode 3 from Series 1 of 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
  • 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.
  • 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 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.


  • 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) 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.
  • 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.
  • Blue Oyster 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, 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.

Professional Wrestling

  • World Wrestling Entertainment 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 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.
  • 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.


  • Jersey Boys opens with a rap version of "December 1963" that's in French, complete with loud beat and skanky dancing. It's meant to explain how far music has come since The Sixties.
  • 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.
  • 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 Altair, before switching to...somebody who is most definitely not Altair 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.
  • 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.
  • 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...
  • King's Quest III seems to start out with a protagonist and a setting completely unrelated to the first two games, but it's eventually revealed that the hero is the long-lost son of King Graham, protagonist of King's Quest I and II. In this case, the Fake Out lasts about 3/4 of the game.
  • 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 Three Stooges computer game from The Eighties opens with the title screen for Defender of the Crown for a few moments before the Stooges show up and correct the error.
  • 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 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 Castlevania: Symphony of the Night prologue plays like a rehash of the final level of Rondo of Blood. When it truly begins, gamers see that the new hero Alucard is super fast to establish that this game has discarded the stiff and clunky platforming of its predecessors in favor of over the top action and wide open exploration.

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 SB email, "already in progress".
  • 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?"



Web Original

Western Animation

  • The Triplets of Belleville starts as a 1930s-style black-and-white cartoon, which is actually playing on the main character's TV set.
  • The action-packed opening sequence from Bolt (and the trailer) turns out to be from an episode of the Show Within a Show.
  • 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, and then... it begins.
  • 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 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 South Park 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 Muhammed showed up, though the visual of the actual character is censored out by the HBC network (the censorship of Muhammed 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 FOX Network to get that episode pulled. At that point the actual episode began.
  • 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. Yet another daydream, which the babies imagined after watching some of Nigel Thronberry's documentaries.
  • 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.
  • Inverted with the 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.
  • 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.
    • Something similar occurs in Happy Feet.
  • 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.
  • The Wartime Cartoon Looney Tunes 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.
  • Tex Avery in his early years at MGM set up cartoons like Screwball Squirrel 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.
  • In Disney's Chicken Little, the narrator tries to find an opening to the film, apparently because he was so sick of starting with "Once upon a time.." The opening he shows after he said he was sick of this is a familiar sunset. He then says "Eh, that was used already." He then goes with "Once upon a time..."
  • The Pilot Movie for The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius starts with several jet pilots taking off from an aircraft carrier in the middle of the ocean.