|Dr. Strangelove's opening credits made an eye-catching|
use of typography and design.
I don't have exact statistical figures to back this up, but if you've gone to enough movies recently, you've got to have noticed: a lot (though certainly not all) of contemporary films tend to favor the bare minimum for opening titles, namely, a few producer credits ("Lotsa Dough Pictures in association with Big Explosion Studios present an Alan Smithee Film") and then a title card, and then boom, the movie starts, and you don't get to see the full credits until the very end.
The impression I get is that it's so you won't have to wait a minute longer for the movie proper to start, so you can be thrilled with its scintillating dialogue, amazing acting and sparkling visuals. I tend to associate this trend with Oscar contenders - there's something about it that adds a veneer of faux-gravitas to a dramatic movie - but I've seen it done for comedies and action movies as well.
|The detailed and stylistic credits of Seven established the mindset|
of its serial killer antagonist.
But there are good reasons not to abandon opening credits altogether. For one thing, and this is certainly something I've experienced on many an occasion, from a movie-goer's perspective, the opening credits are, or at least should be, a kind of last-chance buffer for latecomers to arrive and find their seats. Seriously, if you haven't arrived at the theater by the time the opening credits end, then as far as I'm concerned, you deserve to miss the movie!
These days, in particular, with all the pre-show ads and the parade of trailers that precede the movie, arriving on time shouldn't be a problem, yet all too often it still is for some people. Well, the opening credits are kinda like the final hurdle to clear. You can make it before they finish and still have it be a minimal disturbance to everyone else at best - and you probably won't miss much, plot-wise.
|The main titles of Watchmen established the differences in this|
alternate reality where history looks the same, but isn't.
I don't think these things should be minimized. They're fun, they're artistic, and they're an expression of the character of their respective movies. Going without them every so often can seem dramatically different, but they have a value to the overall movie, and I'd hate to think that modern filmmakers might be moving towards this trend too much.