“Succession” is one of HBO’s most acclaimed drama series and an Emmy frontrunner in 2020, and its popularity has been bolstered in part by its addicting opening credits sequence. The 90-second sequence is set to Nicholas Britell’s Emmy-winning original theme music and cuts together footage of the New York City skyline with home video footage of the Roy family. The grainy home videos remind viewers about the privilege and isolation of the Roy family at the start of each episode. It turns out this now-classic opening credits sequence owes a lot of credit David Fincher, who crafted virtually the same sequence to open his 1997 mystery thriller “The Game.” Both openings have been embedded in videos below.
An eagle-eyed Reddit user recently noticed the similarities between the “Succession” and “The Game” opening credits and brought it to the attention of viewers. Fincher’s 1997 movie begins with grainy home video footage that fills in the backstory of protagonist Nicholas Van Orton, played in the film by Michael Douglas. The clips show Nicholas as a child and his father at the latter’s 48th birthday party, the event where Nicholas’ father committed suicide. The editing, courtesy of James Haygood, cuts the father out of the home videos later in the sequence to reflect his death, similar to how the “Succession” credits removes the faces of the Roy parents to show their disconnection from their children.
“The Game” opened in between Fincher’s “Seven” and “Panic Room” and remains one of the director’s most underrated directorial efforts. Out of all of Fincher’s films, “The Game” is the one that gets talked about the least despite strong reviews and box office (nearly $110 million on a $70 million production budget). Anticipation for “The Game” was high since Fincher was coming off “Seven,” so many at the time saw the film as a step down for the director. The plot follows Douglas’ Nicholas after he accepts an offer to compete in a life-changing game, but the game ends up destroying Nicholas’ sense of what’s real and what’s fake. The supporting cast includes Sean Penn, James Rebhorn, Deborah Kara Unger, and Carroll Baker.
Watch the openings of “Succession” and “The Game” in the videos below. It’s only a matter of time before a Fincher fan sets “The Game” opening to Britell’s “Succession” score.