AKA: Top Billing, Diagonal Billing, Equal BillingA great deal of importance is placed on the relative sizes, positions, and order of names and the movie s title in printed publicity material as well as the opening credits. Generally, higher positions designate higher importance. Additionally, there is significant given to names which appear before or above the actual title of the movie. The person whose name is shown first in the credits or whose name is at the top of an advertisement is said to have received top billing . If more than one name appears at the same time or at the same height, they are said to have equal billing , with the importance of the people concerned decreasing from left to right. In some movies with a large number of stars, the publicity department must go to great lengths to satisfy the demands of various parties. Diagonal billing is where a different name appears first, depending on whether the material is read from top to bottom, or from left to right. In some extreme cases, multiple stars in the same movie have each demanded top billing, in which case an equal number of differently-billed advertisement have been created.
imdb Movie Terminology